Belize will be stepping up its luxury vacations profile with the December debut of the Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club, CurioA Collection by Hilton on Ambergris Caye, occupying a beautiful 60-acre grove of tropical foliage. This first luxury resort from a global brand to open in Belize embraces private residences, bay and beach clubs, and its own lively village, designed for travelers seeking a relaxed adventure, accented with true local flavor and all the comforts of upscale guest accommodations and amenities.

The owner, developer and visionary behind this luxury project is Beth Clifford, a 10-year Belizean resident who focuses on construction and real estate development in the area. One of her many investments has been the founding of the Belizean company, Caribbean Homes & Exports, whose hundreds of skilled crafts people worked to produce the Mahogany Bay Resort’s 205 Belizean-style villas, made from local sustainably-harvested hardwoods and featuring lofty ceilings and artfully designed heirloom-quality furniture.

Over breakfast in New York City, Clifford explained to Recommend that “the Mahogany Bay Resort’s master plan is conceived and designed to combine the authentic local spirit of the Curio collection and the one-of-a-kind character of Belize delivering a unique guest experience and service as the perfect base camp for our guests’ Belizean adventures.” During our talk, she pointed out that “while we aim to encourage our guests to get out on land and at sea to experience all that Belize has to offer, the resort is intentionally positioned to face West, so guests should be home for sunset cocktails.”

Our breakfast party included Ed Donaldson, a seasoned hospitality industry veteran with 30 years of global leisure and luxury sales experience, most recently as director of sales & marketing for Rosewood Hotels and Resorts’ Tucker’s Point in Bermuda. “Mahogany is an innovative resort, one that our travel partners are going to find offers a groundbreaking approach to hospitality, while embracing the warmth and spirit of Belize.”

The accommodations that Donaldson will be marketing to travel partners at Mahogany Beach are offered in spacious, high-ceiling cottages, whose villa-style interiors and porches reflect the British Colonial style of the country’s British-Honduran heritage. All are air conditioned and have ceiling fans, as well as luxury indoor/outdoor showers. Nightly rates range from $359 for Garden Cottages with a king bed to $569 for a Family Cottage (up to six persons) with two kings and two twin bunk beds. Rates include complimentary water taxi, dock transfers on arrival and departure in San Pedro, daily complimentary continental breakfast in the Great House, free WiFi, and use of all non-motorized beach toys such as kayaks, hobi-cats, and paddleboards at the Beach Club.

Mahogany Bay Resort’s wide array of amenities include the Bay Club with a grand pool and bar, as well as the private, white sand Beach Club, just a short boat ride from the on-site marina. The property’s focal point is the 22,000-sq.-ft. Great House, accommodating a signature restaurant starring farm-to-table cuisine prepared with fresh vegetables harvested daily from Ambergreens, Belize’s first aquaponics farming venture. The Great House, easily convertible to a storybook weddings venue, has a bar, 8,000 sq. ft. of event space, and a romantic covered veranda.

The Mahogany Bay Village complements the downtown San Pedro area with its own General Store, chocolate boutique, weekly craft and farmers market, scuba diving and fishing operators, a spa and yoga studio, and a nail and beauty salon. Guests can also enjoy coffee at Rum & Bean, lunch at Taco Shack, and sushi at JYOTO.

At the helm of this new luxurious Belizean vacation experience is general manager Niklaus Leuenberger, who views his new domain as “a one-of-a-kind, authentic Belizean resort, meticulously built from the ground up. We have worked hard to infuse local flavor throughout the resort.” He adds with a smile that “building a new property on an island as striking as Ambergris Caye has been a real labor of love.”

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