Robert’s Grove Beach Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Placencia, Belize

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Beautiful beach setting on Placencia Peninsula
  • A range of room types, including cabanas on 2 small private islands
  • 3 outdoor pools overlooking the sea
  • 3 restaurants under the direction of an international chef
  • Organic vegetable garden that supplies the resort
  • Free water sports on the beach and a pier for swimming
  • A professional dive shop with PADI certifications and equipment rentals
  • An impressive array of tours from the resort's fleet of boats
  • A spa, meeting facilities, tennis court, and fitness center
  • Free Wi-Fi and airport transfers

Cons

  • Slightly outdated decor; rooms may show wear and tear
  • Tennis court needs some repairs
  • Not walking distance to Placencia

Bottom Line

This laid-back, 52-room property has rooms on both Placencia Peninsula and two small private islands. The range of amenities is extensive, including a professional dive shop, marina (slips are available), spa, three restaurants, three outdoor ocean-view pools, and tours galore from an impressive fleet of boats. The pretty beach offers free water sports; guests can also jump off the end of the swimming pier or grab drinks at the palapa bar. The rooms have patios and basic Guatemalan- and Mexican-inspired decor (some also have kitchenettes). Free Wi-Fi and airport transfers are offered.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A laid-back vibe and a concentration on water activities

As guests approach Robert's Grove, the path forks in two separate directions: one fork leads to the marina (lined with bright faux cacti) for access to the dive center and Mexican-themed restaurant, the other leads to the main resort, where the accommodations and the three pools are located. The grounds feature plenty of shady trees (look for iguanas in the branches), as well as a large bird cage housing a parrot. The building housing the small lobby and the open-air Seaside Restaurant, which has direct views of the Caribbean Sea, is the hub of the resort.

Robert's Grove is a mid-range property, so guests shouldn't expect luxury. There's not a party atmosphere, but there is an air of activity and fun. Even during low-season -- a time when other resorts quiet down -- Robert's Grove has a decent crowd.

Honeymooners may want to consider staying on one of the two private islands for more seclusion, as the main resort and accommodations are perhaps better suited for families and groups.

After several years under the helm of a New York couple, Robert's Grove changed hands in 2011, but the resort has maintained its laid-back vibe.

 Location

A beach and lagoon location on Placencia Peninsula, near the airstrip

Robert's Grove 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, where the resort will pick you up, free of charge.

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). On the other side of the resort, to the west, is the Placencia Lagoon. The dive center and Habanero Mexican Café & Bar are located here, as are the resort boats for diving, snorkeling and other tours. Plenty of land activities can be found at the nearby Victoria Peak and Maya Mountains.

  • 10-minute walk to Placencia Lagoon
  • 2-minute drive to the Placencia Airstrip Terminal
  • 15-minute drive to the village of Placencia
  • 90-minute drive to Dangriga
  • 2-hour drive to Monkey River
  • 2.5-hour drive to Punta Gorda
  • 3-hour drive to Belize City

 Rooms

Basic rooms with terraces located on the peninsula, or unplugged rooms on two private islands

The air-conditioned rooms on the peninsula have Guatemalan and Mexican decor featuring colorful fabrics, rugs and artwork. Some have direct or partial views of the ocean. Rooms are kept clean and improvements are continually being made, including in technologies and appliances. Room types range from the Classic Vista Rooms to the multi-bedroom villas with kitchenettes.

All peninsula rooms include the following:

  • Air-conditioning and ceiling fans
  • Private terraces
  • 36-inch flat-screen TVs with cable/satellite
  • Coffeemakers and small refrigerators
  • iHome alarm clock and docking station

The two small private islands owned by the resort offer secluded, unplugged accommodations that are great for honeymooners or sports enthusiasts. There are four cabanas on Robert's Caye, and three cabanas on Ranguana Caye. Guests come to the islands to get closer with nature, as there are no TV, phones or Wi-Fi in either location. Boat transfers and all-inclusive food packages for the two islands are available.

 Beach

Soft white sand and calm waves make this a great beach for of all ages

Roberts Grove resort is situated on a long stretch of white sand interspersed with coconut palms, lounge chairs, and hammocks. Free water sports are offered, including kayaks and Hobie Cats. The coast off of Placencia Peninsula enjoys shallow water for hundreds of feet, and waves are calm; the resort's long pier extends out so that guests can jump in past the seaweed that can accumulate near the shore. All beaches in Belize are public, so guests can walk in either direction.

The resort offers a good amount of beach chairs, and there are plenty of places to lay down a towel. There are three outdoor pools overlooking the sea, as well.

 Pool

Three freshwater pools offer scenic views of the Caribbean Sea.

The resort offers three well-maintained freshwater pools which are rarely crowed, considering there are only 52 rooms. The resort's northernmost pool, located between the lobby and outdoor bar area, has a cool water feature, with water streaming from the beams of the adjacent pergola. This pool offers cushioned wooden loungers, and is a short walk to the water sports area where guests can use the kayaks and Hobie Cat sailboats.

The middle rectangular pool next to the main restaurant seemed the least crowded during my visit, and also has the best view of the pier. The southernmost option -- a small infinity pool with attached bar -- is beautiful when lit up at night. Each pool is an easy walk to the main area of the resort, where guests can find bathrooms and beverages, as well as the accommodations.

 Spa

A small but professional spa for nail, massage, and body treatments.

Above the lobby and main restaurant -- and overlooking the northernmost pool for outstanding views of the resort -- is a casual spa under a thatched roof. A range of nail, massage, and body treatments can be enjoyed in the low-lit atmosphere (rooms are separated by curtains), or in the privacy of a guestroom.

 Family

A family-friendly resort with spacious villas and fun tours

Though the resort does not necessarily advertise itself as such, Robert's Grove is a great option for families of all ages. Accommodations have up to three bedrooms, and there are a number of tours that appeal to kids, including wildlife and Mayan ruin trips. Swimming conditions are considered safe for young ones, since the water is shallow near the beach and waves are calm. Kids may also enjoy snorkeling and kayaking. Seaside Restaurant is open for all meals and offers a separate children's menu.

 Food

Three restaurant options on the peninsula and all-inclusive packages available on the two private islands.

Robert's Grove has three quality restaurants, which use fresh ingredients from the hotel's on-site organic vegetable garden.

Seaside Restaurant is the hub of the resort and has a direct open-air view of the Caribbean Sea. It serves three-meals daily with Caribbean, Latin American, and Mediterranean flavors. The mood becomes romantic in the evenings when the casual ambiance is transformed with candles and colorful LED lights. Private dinners with food from Seaside can also be arranged on guest terraces, or at various spots around the resort. On Saturday nights, the restaurant kitchen serves a buffet Poolside Barbecue with live music.

Across the road, on the lagoon side (facing the marina), is Habanero Restaurant, serving casual Mexican cuisine and drinks in a fun atmosphere. The restaurant overlooks the resort's boats, and is a great spot to catch the sunset. A Mexican buffet dinner is served Tuesday nights.

  • Sweet Mama's is a small but authentic restaurant serving local Belizean cuisine atop colorful picnic tables near the organic vegetable garden.
  • The resort owns and operates two private islands, which each have their own small restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meals can be served on guests' private cabana terraces, as well. There is an all-inclusive package for the two island options.

 Drinks

A range of wine, liquor and local rum

The resort's two main restaurants, Seaside and Habanero, both face the water (sea and lagoon, respectively), so guests can order a range of drinks in the afternoons and evenings while enjoying the views. Specialty cocktails are served daily, and top-shelf liquors can be substituted. Seaside offers an extensive wine list to accompany the gourmet cuisine, and both restaurants feature local rum and beer. There is a breezy palapa bar at the end of the pier that is ideal for special events.

The private islands offer an all-inclusive option, which includes local rum, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages. Imported labels can be ordered for an additional fee.

 Services

A marina, a gift shop, and free Wi-Fi

  • A marina on the lagoon side of the property can accommodate up to 30 vessels.
  • A private function room can accommodate up to 70 people for business meetings and functions.
  • A gift shop adjacent to the lobby sells toiletries, souvenirs, and apparel.
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the resort
  • The front desk can arrange airport transfers taxis and tours.

 Physical Activities

Active tours, water sports, a tennis court, and one of the few fitness centers in Placencia

  • The on-site professional dive center -- a member of PADI -- provides equipment, certifications, and training for scuba diving. The resort's own fleet of boats contain safety equipment, and staff members are trained in CPR and first aid.
  • A range of active tours and day trips can be arranged through the resort, including snorkeling, canoeing, fly fishing, horseback riding, and hiking in the nearby mountains
  • Free waters sports are provided on the northern end of the beach, such as kayaks, Hobie Cat sailboats, wind surfers and paddleboats.
  • Free bike cruisers
  • There is a tennis court on the property, but it does need some repairs.
  • A small fitness center is located next to the tennis court, and provides an air-conditioned environment for working out.

 Romance and Honeymoons

A romantic beach setting and secluded accommodations on two private islands

This casual resort may attract families, but it's great for couples, too. At night, the resort turns atmospheric when the pools are lit with LED lights. Candles flicker in the restaurants and coconut palms on the beach are strung with rope lighting. Couples can escape the family scene at Seaside and enjoy a pre- or post-dinner drink at the end of the pier, or ask for meal delivery to their private terrace. The on-site spa can arrange couples massages, as well.

There are two private islands, with only a few cabanas each, and these tend to attract couples who are looking for peace and quiet. Robert's Grove offers special honeymoon packages.

 Weddings

A range of wedding packages and scenic spots to exchange vows

Robert's Grove has held its fair share of destination weddings in the past, and the staff is knowledgeable in this area. Flexibility is key -- they can accommodate groups with as few as two people, and as many as 100 for sit-down dinners. Scenic areas for the ceremony include the beach, pools, or marina, while receptions can be held at one of the restaurants, at the end of the pier, or in the private event space. For smaller wedding parties, the private islands are also an option.

 History

The resort started as a beach home and evolved into a 52-room resort.

New York natives Bob and Risa Frackman bought a secluded stretch of the Placencia Peninsula in 1994 in order to build their dream beach home. Before they knew it, they were building a guest home for friends visiting from New York, and then more units followed until a resort emerged. Without any prior hotel experience, the Frackman's were operating 52 rooms, three swimming pools, two restaurants, and a marina. Risa was also the founding editor of the local Placencia Breeze.

In 2011, Bob (now in his mid-80s) and Risa decided it was time to sell and retire. After evaluating many potential buyers, they decided to sell to Jean-Marc Tasse and Michael Kramer, well-known hoteliers in Placencia. Jean-Marc and Michael have vowed to keep the resort's fun and friendly vibe in tact, and the previous owners will hold them to it. Bob and Risa retain a beachfront condo at Robert's Grove, so they will continue to be a part of the family.

 Safety

The resort is located in a safe and scenic area of Placencia Peninsula, within driving distance to the village.

Belize is a peaceful and friendly nation with fewer than 400,000 residents. The resort is located along the eastern side of the Placencia Peninsula (about a 15-minute drive from the village), and is considered safe. 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.

 Bottom Line

This laid-back, 52-room property has rooms on both Placencia Peninsula and two small private islands. The range of amenities is extensive, including a professional dive shop, marina (slips are available), spa, three restaurants, three outdoor ocean-view pools, and tours galore from an impressive fleet of boats. The pretty beach offers free water sports; guests can also jump off the end of the swimming pier or grab drinks at the palapa bar. The rooms have patios and basic Guatemalan- and Mexican-inspired decor (some also have kitchenettes). Free Wi-Fi and airport transfers are offered.

Things You Should Know About Robert’s Grove Beach Resort

Address

  • Placencia, Belize, Central America

Room Types

  • 2 Bedroom Villa
  • Classic Vista Room
  • Family Classic Villa
  • One Bedroom Villa
  • Three Bedroom Villa

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 52
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Placencia, Belize
Address: Placencia, Belize, Central America
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