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Hol Chan Reef Villas
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Reviewed 30 March 2018 via mobile

We are a family of six adults, and this condo was perfect for us. From start to finish, we had excellent service from everyone at Hol Chan Reef Villas. Cameron and Stephanie, the managers, were very helpful and attentive before we even arrived. They helped us make arrangements for grocery delivery, golf cart reservations and delivery and for a driver to pick us up at the ferry. Richard, the concierge, greeted us with fresh chips and salsa and rum punch. He also made recommendations for and reservations for us to go on several tours as well as on-site massages. He was always so friendly and cheerful. Our condo was cleaned from top to bottom mid-stay, which we really appreciated.

Our condo was lovely, and extremely clean. We were on the first floor, and walked out right from our patio onto the pool deck, which we enjoyed. Everything was well-maintained and cleaned, inside and out. The grounds were groomed early each morning in preparation for the day. We enjoyed the pools, palapas with lounge chairs on the beach, hammocks, kayaks and paddle boards every day. We used the barbecue one evening to grill our dinner. Our condo was well-stocked, but we did need to do dishes very frequently, as there were exactly six of each item (glasses, plates and silverware), and there were six of us. But that wasn’t a huge problem. We appreciated the large jug of water that was replaced as we needed it.

The dock looks as though it took a direct hit in a recent storm, but we were able to use the dock next door for all of our water transportation needs.

Yes, this complex is quite a ways from the bustle of San Pedro, but that is exactly why we chose it. And the very thorough documents in the welcome packet that Cameron and Stephanie sent to us long before our trip were honest about that, as well as the bumpy, dusty, unpaved last mile and the need for a golf cart. It became part of the adventure. We appreciated being able to come home to a quiet place to rest and relax at the end of a day of busy exploring in San Pedro or on tours!

Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Marcy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 March 2018 via mobile

Room - 4 star - clean, roomy, great balcony overlooking the water, furniture was comfortable and in good condition, nice kitchen and everything worked.
Everything else - 1-2 star
So, the average is 3 stars. Why round up? While I have plenty of complaints, it really wasn’t that bad.

When we arrived at the dock, we were told there would be a car picking us up. After waiting fifteen minutes, a taxi showed up saying they were our ride. We were skeptical, but it turned out that this was our car. The taxi then picked up the driver’s sister at work to drop her at home, before we were off to the hotel.

The hotel is remote on a bumpy dirt road, but is on the newer side and quite nice. The concierge greeted us. They had a homemade salsa and a rum punch waiting for us.

Then we got to know know the place better. Let’s start by parsing what they advertise:
“Hol Chan Reef Resort & Villas is an elegant, 5-star rated beach resort ...on the south end of Ambergris Caye, Belize. Lounge poolside by one of our three relaxing pools, or or enjoy the amazing Caribbean Sea – where the incredible Hol Chan Marine Reserve, one of the top-rated snorkeling spots in the world, is just a short boat ride away! Our concierge services are dedicated to making your vacation truly memorable and are ready to assist with all of your travel, lodging and tour excursion needs.”
Resort? - Spa services, i.e. massages, are from a third party that they will call to come to the condos. Since it is a “resort”, it must have a restaurant, right? Well, the restaurant (Stax) is across the street. It is a poor attempt at food service establishment. It is built from storage containers, which can be a nice look, but doesn’t really fit with an island resort. The bar has a very limited in its food offerings Even though the Hol Chan website refers to it as having “Yummy tapas and amazing bar menu”, our entire stay they only had frozen pizza and chili. Each time we walked in we were the only patrons. To be fair, we never tried the breakfast area.
Villas? - it is four floors of condos. Villas are standalone buildings, last I checked. They don’t even have any.
5-star — according to whom? I’m pretty sure this is their own designation.
“On the south end” and later “The heart of San Pedro town is only a short drive away” - it is a twenty or more (traffic) minute ride to town, which is where most things you want to do are. The roads are bumpy and dusty too. That said, we got used to it and it almost became fun.
Three pools - this is only true if you count the whirlpool spa as a pool
“just a short boat ride away” — the dock is destroyed. The picture says it all.
Concierge - while Richard is very nice and will do things, he is reluctant in many ways. For example, when asked to make restaurant reservations, he explained that there was a phone in our room. When pressed, he agreed to do it. He is also located in a trailer across the street, which it took other guests to tell us, since he never did.
In a later paragraph, “our on-site tour company, Suya Tours ...” - the “on-site” part seems to be that the concierge will call them. They are actually located a five minute cart ride away.

On other subjects:
Poolside bar - while their website shows people drinking at a poolside bar, it is really just some stools in the water. Their is no bar service.

Equipment - while it is nice that they have water sports equipment for free, you get what you pay for. It’s in bad shape having seen heavy use.

Stayed: March 2018
Thank A2763BSchrisr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hol_Chan_Reef_Resort, Manager at Hol Chan Reef Villas, responded to this reviewResponded 8 April 2018

Hi Chris,

We’re sorry to hear that we did not meet your expectations. Our goal is to consistently provide the 5-star experience that all of our guests are accustomed to. With that said, we appreciate your feedback and the added opportunity it provides us with to ensure that future guest stays are the very best they can be.

Based on your feedback, we have a feeling that the people you traveled here with (the couple that actually booked the condo you stayed in) may not have shared adequate information with you after they booked and prior to your arrival. Otherwise, we feel that you would have had a better understanding and expectation of our accommodations. We’d also like to take this opportunity to comment on a few of your points…

Taxi - We’re really sorry to hear that your driver was uncharacteristically late. We have already addressed this with our taxi driver.

Resort - Our property name does have the word “resort” in it, but our website, Trip Advisor listing, photographs, and description clearly illustrate the vacation rental property and the amenities we have to offer. When guests book through a vacation rental site (as your group did), most have a very good understanding of the property and its amenities prior to booking. Our condos and “villas” have either 1700 or 2400 square feet and are contained within 2 exquisite beachfront buildings. Our photographs clearly depict the space and do not show any individual “stand alone” units.

Spa services - We do not advertise or claim that we have a spa on our property. We, along with most other establishments on Ambergris Caye, utilize mobile services for spa treatments. Feedback from other Hol Chan guests has always been that they appreciate the flexibility of being able to select the exact location where they receive these services (i.e. a massage under the palapa on the beach, a pedicure in the privacy of their villa, etc.).

Stax - We also do not claim to have our own restaurant onsite. We agree with your assessment that you may not have been visiting Stax at the most appropriate times to have a meal. It sounds like you only visited the bar (serving primarily drinks) and not the cafe (where fresh food is prepared and served). While not a full restaurant, the cafe has many breakfast and lunch food options that our guests consistently rave about!

5-star rating - Our average guest feedback rating is 5 stars. This is not a “self designated” rating. We have the very best guests coming from all over the world to stay with us here at Hol Chan Reef Resort & Villas, and nothing is more important to us than their experience and feedback!

Roads - We’re quite sure that the bumpy road wasn’t a surprise to your group, as we make a point to clearly communicate this in the welcome email and subsequent communications that all guests receive. Also, when you visited, the road was in great shape since we haven’t had much rain. Most of our guests feel that it’s well worth the drive to have peace and quiet away from the busy town.

Pools - We have 3 large pools, and an additional round conversation pool. All of our pools are represented in the photos on our website, Trip Advisor listings, and social media outlets.

Boat ride - When you refer to “just a short boat ride away” we assume you refer to our comment about how close we are to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. We are directly across from the reserve (with unmatched proximity) and our guests are picked up on the dock everyday to go snorkel and experience the incredible reef.

Dock - Our dock was indeed damaged in the devastating hurricane that our island suffered and is now in the process of being rebuilt. We have 2 neighboring docks that are easily accessible for water and boating activities.

Concierge - We’re both surprised and sorry to hear that you found Richard reluctant to help at times. Richard is extremely attentive to our guests’ needs, and our management team receives amazing feedback regarding Richard’s performance on a daily basis. We have also addressed your concerns with him.

Suya Tours - Represented by our office and onsite booking agent, and with all tours departing directly from our resort, Suya Tours is our onsite tour company. Guests love the convenience that having an onsite tour company here at the resort affords them!

Poolside bar/service - While you may have seen a photo of guests utilizing our built-in barstools in our infinity pool (it’s not uncommon), our property does not have a restaurant and certainly does not advertise a poolside bar service. Most guests bring their own drinks out to enjoy the poolside bar or order drink coolers to be delivered to them by Stax across the street.

Equipment - We offer free kayaks and paddle boards for our guests to use, and we frequently maintain our equipment. In fact, we just replaced all of the kayak seats earlier this year, and we also refinished the fiberglass on the paddleboards and purchased brand new paddles for them. They are all in perfect working order.

We agree that the first impression of your stay with our taxi driver was disappointing, and that based on your feedback our concierge should have been more eager to help, but we stand by our quality of accommodation, high level of service, and accurate representation of our property on our website, vacation rental sites, and all social media outlets.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 February 2018

Amazing trip! Unreal accommodations and friendly clean Villa! Prior to check in things were managed exceptionally. beaches and pool area, outdoor BBQ, SUP and kayaks available . Villa equipped with absolutely everything.

Stayed: December 2017, travelled with friends
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Brenda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hol_Chan_Reef_Resort, Manager at Hol Chan Reef Villas, responded to this reviewResponded 15 February 2018

We're thrilled to hear that you and your family enjoyed your stay here at Hol Chan Reef Resort & Villas. We really enjoyed meeting all of you, and appreciate you being such amazing guests! It was our pleasure to host you, and we hope to be able to do so again soon. Please keep in touch!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2018

Cameron and Stephanie, the rental managers were great. Hol Chan Reef Resort is a great place if you want to be away from the crowded area of San Pedro, want to relax and aren't too interested in having a nice beach. Be aware that the condo is advertised as being oceanfront-not beachfront. The water is crystal clear but the sand-looking bottom is very, very soft and you sink up to your ankles when walking in the water. Also there is a lot of sea grass. We thought that we would be able to either swim in the pool or the ocean for exercise however the pools are too small and you would have to swim beyond the end of the docks because of how far the shallow water goes out.
The condo is about 31/2 miles outside of San Pedro so its nice and quiet but the road to get there is not paved for the majority of the way and when it rained the road was one pot hole after another.
We were somewhat surprised to find that we were expected to purchase water for drinking and cooking after the first bottle of water that was provided to us.

Room Tip: Very nice rooms
Stayed: January 2018, travelled with friends
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank Diverroy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hol_Chan_Reef_Resort, Manager at Hol Chan Reef Villas, responded to this reviewResponded 13 February 2018

We are glad to hear that you enjoyed the quiet, relaxed atmosphere of the resort and agree that it's nice to be removed from the "hustle and bustle" of the town center. Most of our guests are very fond of our beach area, which features very nice cushioned beach loungers and custom palapas for relaxing in the shade. Hol Chan Reef Resort & Villas is an oceanfront, beachfront complex. In fact, one would be hard pressed to come by another complex more oceanfront and beachfront than ours!

Most of our guests do research and are aware before they arrive that, because of the barrier reef off Ambergris Caye, our beaches do have seagrass that also prevents packed sand in the water. For most guests, this is an easy trade-off, as the reef and seagrass also bring some of the most amazing sea life most divers will ever have the opportunity to experience!

Our pools are not lap pools, and they are not advertised as such. However, most guests find them to be more than ample in size. In fact, guests often comment on how large they are, and we've also had multiple guests swim laps in them.

You'll be pleased to hear that, since your visit, we've begun offering endless complimentary drinking water to our guests. We're surprised to hear that you were not aware that there was a (small) cost for supplemental 5-gallon drinking water jugs at the time of your stay, as this was clearly documented in the welcome email that you received after booking with us. When you let us know that you were unaware of this cost, we gave you two additional 5-gallon drinking water jugs free of charge.

While we agree that the unpaved portion of the road can be unpleasant at times, the majority of the road from our resort to town (2 miles) is paved. We're sure that the bumpy conditions of the unpaved portion of the road were not a surprise to you, as this is also clearly documented and communicated to all guests. Luckily, the unseasonal rains you experienced have passed and the town has graded the road. It is maintained whenever the road is dry.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2017 via mobile

We stayed in a 3 bedroom condo with two couples for 5 nights. The condo had everything that we could possibly need. The building was peaceful and clean. It is a little far from town on an unpaved bumpy road but that is part of the adventure. We felt very safe and had no problems booking a golf cart or flights or tours from the concierge

Stayed: November 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank Heather2929
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hol_Chan_Reef_Resort, Guest Relations Manager at Hol Chan Reef Villas, responded to this reviewResponded 26 November 2017

We are so happy to hear that you enjoyed our stay with us just as much as we enjoyed meeting your wonderful group! It was such a pleasure to have you all here for your stay. Thank you so much for your feedback, and we'd love to have you back in the future!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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