BRAND-NEW AND SHIMMERING above a 1,000-foot stretch of sand, the white towers of Alaia rise over the blue of the Caribbean at Mar de Tumbo beach, in the heart of San Pedro, Belize’s favourite sun destination. The first Marriott in the country, this member of the Autograph Collection opened just last year.
In a busy town, where golf carts rumble by on the main road and little planes land at an airport in the middle of it all, the resort is a 20-acre oasis, with a friendly smile and a welcome drink awaiting you at check-in, in a lobby that feels like an upscale beach house. You’ll probably find a crowd in the piano bar at the end of the room, learning a few lessons from the resident, expert mixologist, who grows his own garnishes and creates infusions, right on site.
Spend your days in the ocean – the largest coral reef in the Americas is just off shore, and guides will happily take you out in a boat for a snorkel with rays and sharks. Or just chill out by the pool. With 155 units, the hotel remains compact, balancing sexy and friendly. Surrounded by towers adorned with green plant walls, warm woods and glassed-in balconies, the main pool area features cushy chairs and sprawling cabanas, as well as a bar and the main restaurant, Sea Salt. The latter serves up fresh seafood and Belizean favourites like stewed chicken.
Start your night on the rooftop, where you can enjoy a 360-degree view of town and sea, and take a dip in the infinity pool. Another restaurant (Vista Rooftop) serves up Asian fusion, including very good sushi. After dinner, retire to your room. Suites are huge and stylish, many with full kitchens and balconies big enough to host a party, while beachfront villas have their own private plunge pools. It’s hard to imagine a more relaxing beach escape.
Written by Tim Johnson for Cruise & Travel Lifestyles (Spring/Summer 2022). Photos courtesy of Alaia.