My wife and I went to Hatchet Caye (pronounced "Key") from 2/19-2/23 through the Living Social deal. We were glad we did. The setting is really amazing. I've been to Hawaii, Mexico, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and other tropical destinations, and Hatchet was the most uniquely beautiful. You are on a little island surrounded by water and other little islands dotting the horizon all around you. The water is greenish, then blue, then kind of dark in some spots (where the coral is)... it has a classic Carribean feel. Because the island is so small the beach is not really big, maybe 10 feet, but it's hard to beat the views. Most of the activities are water-related -- snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, swimming, sailing, etc. If you are into being active on vacation then this is the spot, but even if you are more interested in lounging around you will find a relaxed and pretty environment. Still, you've really got to get into the water even if you don't typically go into the ocean. The water is just so warm, it's unbelievable.
The staff are very friendly and seem to enjoy their jobs. The bartender entertained us one night with his classical drumming skills, the housekeeper is also the masseuse, the sailing instructor also works at the water filtration center, etc. The ratio of guests to staff on the island is only like 2 to 1 -- very impressive. I agree with a previous reviewer that tipping can be a little tricky. We just gathered up some cash at the end of our trip and left it in the manager's office with directions on how to distribute it. Dasha is the manager and was easy to worth with. She arranged for us to take the bigger (less rocky) boat on our way back to Placencia because my wife is four months pregnant and the ride in on the small boat was a little rough. Dasha also left her office open for us so we could use its good (but not great) internet connection to video chat with our son to see how he was doing and to assure him that Mommy and Daddy were indeed coming home.
The restaurant, like the rest of the island, is beautiful. The food is somewhere between casual and upscale and is always fresh. The menu is not extensive, but what they do they do well. There are maybe 10 choices for every meal. I am a kind of picky eater but the chef came up with a great chicken dish for me. My wife and I also had a torch-lit table set up on the edge of the island for dinner on our last night and the chef made her a seafood stir-fry dish she requested that was not on the menu. Desserts are incredible, but are not always in stock. The coconut cream pie was great, and the chef also made some type of ice cream that was very good, maybe something with vanilla bean, cinnamon, nutmeg... not sure. You can stop by for a drink pretty much any time between meals, but food was only at meal times. I agree they should have a snack menu, even if it's just Snickers bars and the like for sale or something like that.
One downside of the vacation is simply getting there. It's a hassle. That's not their fault, but it's something to consider. Very few US cities fly direct to Belize City (Charlotte, Atlanta, Houston, maybe New Orleans?). Then you have to get on one of those little planes to get out to the coast. Then you get cabbed to the dock and brought on a small boat to the island. Even if you time everything perfectly you are looking at maybe 11-12 hours total if you're coming from most points in the US. That means if you are going for four nights then you don't get a whole lot more than three days.
There is a lookout on top of the manager's office that is a great place to watch the sunset. The WiFi is good enough for checking email, etc., but not for downloading movies. We downloaded a few movies on itunes before going and watched them in bed on the laptop. We didn't touch the Wii. The rooms are nice, although the beds are a little on the harder and smaller side. All in all, it was a dream vacation, particularly for the rate. I don't know if we would come back at the market rate, but time will tell.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A private island on the edge of the Silk Marine Reserve, seventeen miles east of Placencia, Hatchet is on the longest reef in North America. Laugh, love, play, explore, relax, rejuvenate, and dine in the island lifestyle you want. with a mile of private shoreline and word class diving and fishing only minutes away. With a pirates past, a hideaway present, and an environmental future, Hatchet offers unspoiled environment for your unforgettable tropical island experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hatchet Caye Hotel Placencia
- Hatchet Caye Resort Belize/Placencia