‘Beautiful Sea’ indeed
Lysa Allman-Badwin | 7/23/2015, 2:27 p.m.
Their motto, “Beauty by Belize, Luxury by Design,” is an apt way to describe the Chabil Mar Resort, an awe-inspiring, boutique, luxury villa property in the beautiful country of Belize. And it doesn’t take long to understand why it has been featured in numerous A-list travel publications and television shows, and was awarded the TripAdvisor 2015 Travelers’ Choice award.
Nestled at the far southern end of the Placencia Peninsula, Chabil Mar (Mayan for “Beautiful Sea”) encompasses 22 absolutely gorgeous villas built with such great attention to detail throughout that it makes them feel nothing short of being in someone’s home.
The kitchens are highlighted by beautiful granite countertops with barstool seating, multicolored tile backsplashes, Belizean hardwood cabinetry with arched glass insets, stainless steel appliances (frig, stove/oven, microwave, dishwasher), a blender, mixer and coffee maker, and they are fully stocked with premium dish sets, glassware, silverware, serving plates and utensils, plastic containers, a cheese grater—everything one would have purchased for one’s own home, including a stackable washer and dryer in the hall closet.
The stylish, upscale decor throughout is a seamless yet eclectic combination of original Mayan, Belizean and Caribbean artwork, pottery, decorative bowls, vases, sconces, table lamps, local artifacts and furniture, while the spectacular bathrooms feature expressive Mexican tile along the walls, in the his and hers sinks and backsplashes, and in the open, step-down showers with rain showerheads.
The spacious 1,000-square-foot living rooms have a flat-screen TV and DVD player, a dining table for four with leather high-back chairs, a couch and side chair with oversized cushions and pillows and a large area rug under a handcrafted coffee table, plus numerous ceiling fans and a multi-zone air conditioning system.
The bedrooms all have king-sized beds with luxury 400 thread-count sheets, handsome side tables and ample closet space. In each room, the windows and doors have rattan shades accented by striking 8-foot-long draperies.
Outside, each villa has its own private verandah with a wrought iron table, chairs and a canvas umbrella, some also with an inviting hammock.
OUR OWN PRIVATE PARADISE
As we strolled around the resort for the first time, we were impressed at how every member of the staff, upon seeing a guest, immediately stops what they were doing, comes over to personally greet you and proudly states their name and title. It’s a genuine personal touch that goes above and beyond.
Verdant palms and trees dotted around the property include coconut, dracaena and royal; bread, lime and mango fruit; ficus; and an approximately 40-foot-tall ceiba tree, which the Mayans believe to be a sacred connection to the three layers (death, life and paradise) of the world.
We also marveled at the property’s lush tropical gardens and almost two dozen topiary animals created by their self-taught topiary artist and resort gardens and landscape manager, while also tip-toeing along a stone pathway leading to an ensconced massage cabana facing the Caribbean Sea beyond.
One of the things that makes Chabil Mar so unique is that it does not have any indoor facilities. Rather, everything is open and inviting to experience and enjoy the natural al fresco ambiance.
This ambiance includes 400 feet of private beachfront with a private pier from which you can swim, two infinity pools, Kaleidoscope Bar & Lounge and oodles of comfy chairs and chaise lounges with plush, multi-colored pillows throughout. For adventurous pursuits, you have full access to sea kayaks, bicycles, fishing gear and golf carts to ride into town.
The dining options here are designed to suit your particular desires as well. Just order something for breakfast, lunch or dinner from the menus in the villa book that suits your fancy, and they will prepare and set the table for you in your villa, on your verandah, poolside, at the beachside dining area or, for a special occasion, at the end of the pier.
If you’ve bought groceries in town (only a five-minute complimentary shuttle ride, 10-minute bike ride or 20-minute walk along the main road or the beach into the hub of Placencia Village), you have the option of cooking in your villa kitchen or on one of their gas grills by the Kaleidoscope Bar.
The resort also offers “You Catch It, We Cook It” for just $20 per person with accompanying vegetables for whatever fresh fish or seafood you purchased or caught on a fishing excursion. We did this one day with fresh lobster tails we bought right off the daily fishing boats at the marina and in only 20 minutes they transformed it into an incredible culinary feast!
One of our favorite meals was at their once-a-week Grill Night, featuring a wide variety of fish and seafood entrees, sides and desserts cooked al fresco to order and set against a backdrop of live music and dancing from a local Garifuna Band.
FEELS LIKE HOME
Given all that Chabil Mar has to offer, you’d expect the price to be something only available to the rich and famous, but it’s quite the opposite, making it a fantastic accommodation option for single travelers, couples, families with children and groups. However, it’s the hospitality and the feeling of home that really takes it over the top.
As much as we hated to leave, the shuttle van had arrived to take us to the marina for a ride to another amazing resort only accessible by boat to spend the second half of our Belize vacation.
And the adventure continues …
Lysa Allman Baldwin is a freelance writer and the publisher and editor of Amazing Escapades, featuring “adventures for the mind, bod and belly” (www.amazingescapades.com).