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Cahal Pech Village Resort
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Reviewed March 11, 2012

Let me start by saying we usually don't stay at resorts or fancy hotels. We're budget to moderate travellers, and usually prefer basic and laid-back. As long as the rooms are clean and the service isn't rude, we're happy. Nothing fancy. However this time we decided to treat ourselves by staying at the Cahal Pech Village "Resort", and were excited to have a higher-end experience... I should have known by the price (~$85US/night) that it wouldn't be what it says it is.

The location and grounds of this hotel are beautiful. The view over San Ignacio is amazing, and it's within a 2 minute walk to the Cahal Pech mayan ruins. A $3US taxi ride to downtown, or 20min walk.

However, I couldn't help but feel this place was past its prime, and could be much better. Many times the difference between an exceptional hotel and an average one is in the details, and in this case, the details are where this "resort" fails. We stayed in one of the cabanas (caracol), which from the outside is beautiful. Inside, the room feels a bit dark and dingy. The bed sags, the sheets seemed old and worn, the pictures on the wall are tattered and unlevel, and while the bathroom is done in nice colourful tiles, you can see shoddy plumbing and painting work, and general signs of grime and wear. They even give you the cheap soap that you see at hostels and budget hotels. Even the hammock didn't quite work right, it was too tight and not at all comfortable.

The restaurant setting is quite nice, but the laminated menus and awkward service could be improved. Avoid the restaurant. The food was average and expensive, and there are much tastier and cheaper options downtown. We wanted to charge our meals to our room bill (nothing unusal there), but after our meal the waiter literally ran after us to our room to see if we had swiped our credit card and signed for the meal - never before have I experienced such paranoid hotel service. Usually you say you want to put it on your bill, and you pay upon checkout... easy. We felt like they expected us to rip them off or something.

I can live with all of the above, especially for the cheaper-than-resort price. However my main problem was this: The pools are spectacular. However, both days of our stay they were overrun with children yelling and running and jumping into every pool. I could be wrong, but it seemed like they were the children of the staff, or maybe from within the town (do they pay to come use the hotel pool?). We tried to relax by the pool with a drink, but the screaming and splashing was unbearable, so we had to leave. The comfort and convenience of the hotel guests should come first. Maybe put the kids in one pool (the shallower one), and adults at the other pool, or have a set time where the kids can visit the pool. It was unfortunate as we paid extra to treat ourselves to a hotel with a pool.

I would recommend staying in a cheaper hotel closer to downtown where you have access to some of San Ignacios great restaurants and market. Don't waste your money by thinking you're getting the "resort" experience, because you definitely aren't at this place.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank fortunehotel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 5, 2012

As others have mentioned, Cahal Pech Resort is indeed on a hill. But, it's a great calf burner and there's a grocer that sells cold beer close to the top where we recommend a pitstop. (Taxis are around $8BZ down to the bus station).

Waking up in the morning here is what a giant must feel like, overlooking his domain. San Ignacio emerges below as the mist burns off and the distant horns and rumble of a town waking up float upwards. The view is quite stellar.

Cahal Pech has immaculate grounds and cozy cabanas with screened porches to take in the distant hum and ever present grackles and woodpeckers on the move.

The pools are lovely (though the chaise chairs have seen better days--the best ones are picked over early), and the upper dining area offers a great perch for sunset. Bartenders are busy cranking out slushy rum drinks but are happy to provide ice for in-room drinks (no fridge in room).

The room itself has a hotel-feel, which is very different (and slightly disappointing) from the more rustic exterior that gives off a Mosquito Coast kind of appearance. There is little soundproofing though, so if you have rowdy neighbours, you will hear them. And the barking dogs of San Ignacio, who, like to bark around the clock.

We had only one glitch in service, which was eventually resolved. We had booked a private ATM cave expedition with a local provider and were to be picked up from the hotel at 6:45 am. Front desk assured us that they could arrange an earlier breakfast for us, no problem. We pre-ordered for 6:15 am but, upon arrival in the dining room, the staff were completely unaware and unprepared for this. The fastest item they could offer was yogurt and granola and some wimpy watermelon (for 18BZ each). Still, it took them 20 minutes to provide this, and I had to take mine to go. Management later apologized for the lack of communication with the kitchen and, with some pressure, finally offered to compensate us with a free buffet breakfast to counteract the mix-up (and the heap of fry jacks, scrambled eggs with sauteed squash totally won us over).

The facilities are of a three star quality. Again, the rooms could use a polish and slap of paint, but for $198US for two nights, it was agreeable. The bar snacks and dinner entrees are cheap (fab coconut curry chicken), but pass on the green salads (slaw is the favoured salad here, for good reason).

There is a gift shop, full restaurant, internet 'cafe' and pool-side bar. The walk (downhill) to San Ignacio takes 15 minutes.

Room Tip: The cabanas offer more of a Central American feel than the standard hotel rooms with King beds and arctic AC. We stayed in Tulum, at the bottom of the hill, which may pose a problem if you have any physical issues. The walkway to the hotel and pool area is extremely steep.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank jtorti7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 3, 2012

The location on the hill was great - make sure you take a taxi - and the views were beautiful. It had 3 nice small pools. The outside decor (plants, etc) was nice. The outside dining area was well done with great views over San Ignacio and the hills. The breakfast was good. The dinner menu left a bit to be desired - no apps, no vegetarian, nothing for kids (that we could see). The rooms seemed old - poor locks on the main door to the room, the beds left a lot to be desired and finish was not all that great. The AC worked well and the balcony was great. It was quite a bit of distance from downtown (we walked down but not up) so it's gonna be a cab fare to see the city.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank calvindakota
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 22, 2012

The resort experience was okay. Some of it was very good, some of it not so. First night was in a cabana. Big closed in porch with hammock but had many bug bites at night, room was not so spacious, was a bit dark, bed was old and sunken in middle, building felt cattywampus. Front desk staff was very helpful and quickly switched us to another room in the main building. Aaah, much better bed and no bugs. Room felt more spacious, hot water in shower was amazing. Super-duper. I don't think all cabanas were created equal. Some had a better experience than us. I definitely prefer the main hotel. Breakfast is great, dinners are okay. Great location with great views but something a little bit off with the entire place. Some things worked well, and some things were just afterthoughts. It could be a great place primarily due to location. Front office staff was knowledgeable and very helpful. Restaurant staff was efficient to the point that they seemed bored at times. They helped us arrange tours and transfers and they were all very good. The property is a 20-minute walk downhill to the main town. Easy to take taxi up and down to main square.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank rconcepcion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 21, 2012

This was our first trip to Belize and the Cahal Pech Village Resort helped to make it a great one. Prior to the trip, they responded quickly to my emails and helped to organize everything for the time we were in San Ignacio, from transportation from the airport to the tours of Tikal and Caracol ruins (which are totally worth it--check them out!). We booked a thatched roof cabana and it was very clean and comfortable. Our first night a monsoon of a rain storm blew through and impressively the thatched roof kept us dry! The mosquito screened porch was bug free and private. We felt it was definitely worth the price for the cabana. Of note, we met a couple from Boston and they complained of an ant problem in their cabana so I guess some of the cabanas have bug issues but I bet if you told the front desk they would help you out. The tour guides were knowledgeable and friendly and everyone spoke excellent English (and Spanish, French and German!). There were two desktop computers in the lobby for guests to use FOR FREE to check email etc which was great since the wi-fi was almost non-existent. The restaurant was only so-so. What guests should know is the lack of hot water for showers. You only get about 15 mins of hot water so you and your significant other better hurry up with those morning showers! Also there was a night club down the hill in town that would keep the music bumpin til 3 AM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. At least they were playing some good dance music! Bottom line: I'd stay here again. The staff and tours really made this trip for me.

Room Tip: For added fun, book a thatched roof cabana. I bet kids would especially love this. May not be a good idea if you have mobility issues since the the walkways are along a hillside and a bit narrow.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Nicole B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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