Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
The villas draw a private, do-it-yourself crowd, though many resort amenities are offered
Chabil Mar, opened in 2005, is a low-key villa property that attracts a do-it-yourself crowd. The spacious villas have one to two bedrooms, making them particularly popular with families, and are located in a series of two-story buildings, separated by flagstone paths and tropical shrubs. (The landscaping around the resort is a source of pride and the groundskeepers take good care.) The buildings themselves, featuring white stucco walls and wooden decks, are identical, so it's easy to get turned around on the first day.
Chic, beach-y decor touches can be found at the restaurant, lounge, and pier. Many guests keep to themselves, but the common spaces make the property feel more like a resort. After dark, quiet voices can be heard from those enjoying a late night swim or beverage.
A quiet beach setting with easy access to the village of Placencia
Chabil Mar is located along the 26-mile-long Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize. It sits between a true Garinagu settlement and the former Creole fishing village of Placencia, which features restaurants and shops. Those arriving to Belize International Airport will want to arrange a domestic flight into Placencia. Staff members at Chabil Mar will arrange for transfers via golf cart.
The remote beach setting is closer to town than it appears. Guests can walk along the beach to reach Placencia. Guests can also head next door to have a drink at the Turtle Inn resort.
To the east of the property is the Caribbean Sea -- home of the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site (also the second largest barrier reef in the world.)
One- and two-bedroom villas (some with lofts) come with spacious kitchens and private patios
Each of the 22 spacious units is individually owned, and the decor varies between units. Some have outlandish touches that may not appeal to everyone. All of units offer fully equipped kitchens, as well as spacious living areas with flat-screen TVs and oversized couches. Some kitchens contain stainless steel appliances, while second-floor units have pitched ceilings accented with wood beams. The largest villas come with a loft that creates a third bedroom, though they are accessed by ladders that seem more decorative than functional.
Clean white sand, comfortable lounge chairs, and the Caribbean Sea
The beach along Placencia Peninsula is known for fine white sand and calm blue water. Due to rain, the summer season may bring seaweed wash, but the groundskeepers (four full-time staff members) clean the beach daily. (Seaweed is also a problem in Belize because of the barrier reef, which blocks stronger ocean waves.) Guests can swim in waist-deep water for several feet before it gets deep.
The beach offers comfortable bright blue lounge chairs, umbrellas, and kayaks. A wooden pier has more blue lounge chairs, and allows guests to jump into deeper water.
Next to the beach on a wood deck are steps that lead to the outdoor Café Mar restaurant. There is a chic little lounge area decorated with white and blue cushions that is a romantic spot for cocktails.
Early morning risers can appreciate the sunrise views. Guests can walk along the sand in either direction toward neighboring Turtle Inn resort or the village of Placencia.
Two separate pools with views
Chabil Mar has two pools, both offering scenic views of the sea. The main pool is rectangular and sits behind the Café Mar restaurant, while the smaller bean-shaped pool is closer to the bar. We didn't spot any staff members taking food and drink orders from pool loungers, but guests can walk to the bar or restaurant to make orders.
Since there are only 22 units at the resort, the pools stay crowd-free, and guests will have access to lounge chairs and umbrellas.
Spacious villas are great for families
Each villa contains a spacious kitchen, and the outdoor restaurant serves both Belizean and American fare
The outdoor restaurant, Café Mar, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests can order Belizean favorites, including locally caught seafood, as well as simpler American fare at the restaurant's wooden outdoor tables or attached beachside lounge. Room service is also available. Romantic dining options can be arranged, such as a table for two at the end of the pier.
The bar serves drinks in an open-air setting, and at various spots around the resort
Near the picnic and barbeque area is the resort's outdoor bar, with a range of liquors, wines, and local beer. Guests can pull up a bar stool and enjoy a drink at the source for music and conversation with other guests, or request cocktail delivery to anywhere on the resort. The bar stays open until 10 p.m. daily, and there are happy hour specials in the early evening. Drinks can be ordered to the villas as well.
Airport transfers, grocery delivery, and golf cart rentals
The front desk is located in a separate lobby area near the entrance. The helpful staff can assist with guest requests.
Free bikes and kayaks for guest use, and a friendly staff to arrange off-site tours
A casual beach setting to sit back and enjoy a romantic break
Though the multi-bedroom villas attract families, couples and honeymooners can be found staying at Chabil Mar as well. Despite the presence of young ones, Chabil Mar stays peaceful, and lounge areas surrounding the beach are chic. Guests can take drinks out to loungers on the pier or near the beach without having to barter for space.
In the morning, beautiful sunrises can be viewed at the beach and from some of the villas. In the evenings, Café Mar switches to white tablecloths, and the menu features local fare, such as grilled lobster. For a night on the town, guests can rent a golf cart and head the short distance to the village of Placencia for dinner.
One of the villa options is a Honeymoon Suite with a large canopy bed and stainless steel kitchen.
A scenic spot for destination weddings, feautring a helpful staff
Destination weddings are welcome at Chabil Mar, and staff members will work with the wedding party to assist with the arrangements, including paperwork. The beach and pier facing the Caribbean Sea are popular spots for ceremonies. Receptions can include drinks on the beach and sit-down dinners with candles and tablecloths at Cafe Mar. Small weddings can take place among other guests, or larger parties can book the entire resort. All-inclusive wedding packages are available and include airfare from Belize International Airport.
Like many resorts in Belize, Chabil Mar remains committed to sustainability.
Open since 2005, Chabil Mar receives regular maintenance and annual upgrades
Not suitable for those with mobility issues
Chabil Mar's property was built a few feet above ground level due its close proximity to the Caribbean Sea. Each villa is accessed by steps, so those with mobility impairments should look elsewhere.
The resort is located in a safe and scenic area of Placencia Peninsula, next to Turtle Inn and close to the village.
Belize is a peaceful and friendly nation with fewer than 400,000 residents. The villas are located along the eastern side of the Placencia Peninsula next to Turtle Inn (just a few miles from town), and is considered safe. Guests at Chabil Mar can walk along the beach or bike to the village, but they should exercise caution, especially at night. No inoculations are required by the Government of Belize, but it's a good idea to check with your local travel doctor for medical advice prior to traveling in the region.
Chabil Mar on Placencia Peninsula has 22 spacious villas equipped with family-friendly amenities: open kitchens, washers/dryers, closet space, and one to two bedrooms. Each villa is individually owned -- so decor varies between units -- but they are well-maintained through repairs and annual upgrades. Though many guests choose to cook in their villas, the Chabil Mar also operates an outdoor restaurant with great food and views of the Caribbean (room service is available, as well). The property has many of the amenities of a larger resort, including a bar, two outdoor pools, a pier for swimming, and free use of the kayaks and bikes. Golf carts can be rented by the day, as Placencia is a short ride away. Free Wi-Fi is offered throughout.