Rolling the Dice - and Winning Big Time! - in Belize
When we first read the Business Week article and the comments attributed to the Hannan brothers (especially #2), we wondered if Ka'ana Boutique Hotel would be the right 'fit' for our weekend in Belize.
We decided to give a go!
Here are some observations:
● The rooms and suites air conditioned, while most (if any) other resorts in western Belize are not (OK, we could be more sensitive to the environment and deal with open screened windows plus the associated high humidity...but, we wanted air conditioning).
● We planned several active excursions, which would undoubtedly result in extensive perspiration, over exposure to sun and likely some annoying insects (wait, was this a holiday or an endurance test)... so we would be looking for 'comfort' each evening.
● We wanted spacious bathrooms and showers with an adequate supply of hot water (no wimpy tepid dribbles would satisfy).
● We expected indulgent bedding with high count linens.
● A swimming pool would always be a plus - even it the water isn't heated.
● A comfortable spa set up (not just a room with SPA on the door) for a couples massage would add some luxury.
● A comfortable and inviting bar/lounge environment for a cocktail or two, plus an innovative wine list is a plus.
● A favorable staff to guest ratio tends to accommodate guest services (staff member who remember your names and address you as such, is appreciated).
● How about a fresh homemade 'sweet treat' from the chef delivered bedside to end the evening (no mints on the pillows, please).
Turns out we picked the right property.
The location was perfect; right outside of San Ignacio, on the paved highway into Guatemala....making simply work out of our day trip to Tikal. Additionally, the property location allowed easy and quick access to a variety of other interesting excursions. It was simple to catch a local bus (less than $1 USD) into San Ignacio for some walking exploration of the small town....if interested.
Most reviews of Ka'ana reflected good to excellent food at La Ceiba, their hotel restaurant....although some did complain about the higher costs. We sampled and enjoyed a variety of small plates/tapas at the bar and had a delightful farewell dining experience on their fire deck (this is quite special).
We didn't feel the costs were out of line with those typical of an exclusive resort.
Chef Armando and his staff offered flexibility in menu items (of interest, since we're
vegetarians.....he has fresh vegetables at his finger tips, as Ka'ana grows and harvests produce from their own organic garden.).We quickly adjusted to a traditional hearty "Dukunu" breakfast every morning.... Marie Sharp's Hot Sauce helped to spice up the frejoles! Glad we did, as the extra fortification came in handy during several of our adventures. We also developed a fondness for their expertly prepared and extremely nutritious Chaya.
Obviously Ronan and Colin Hannan, co-owners, had a distinct vision when they embarked on the development of Ka'ana. Their meticulous attention to design elements reflect modern aesthetics but retain traditional Belizean touches (extensive use of great native woods and eclectic art is pervasive). Their interest in offering guests unique cocktails and fine wines and making certain evenings take on a special ambience (creative use of candles and subdued lighting along the walking paths), reflect their imprint here and probably at future projects planned for the country.
Their passion, if not openly stated, is strongly implied at every turn:
● Ka'ana is a place for special guests to enjoy exceptional and memorable experiences!