Last night I had the tremendous pleasure of attending Itz’ana’s opening night for industry professionals though I’m barely in the hospitality industry and far from being a professional… luckily I’m good friends with the executive chef and his wife!
The long awaited and greatly anticipated Itz’ana is the latest high-end project on the peninsula and sets a new standard of luxury living, dining, and vacation accommodations. The magnitude of this project impeded its progress and at certain points in progression over the past 2 or 3 years, locals feared the dream would collapse like so many other failed ventures in The Jewel. Marred by mis-management in the beginning and suffering from bad PR, investors and spectators alike were skeptical that the project would ever get off the ground let alone live up to the expectations of its proposal.
But from what I saw and experienced last night, Itz’ana will eclipse expectations!
I see Belize overall really upping their game in hospitality; striving to elevate the tourist experience and cater to an expanding, international clientele. Belize is no longer just a haven for backpackers and budget travelers seeking jungle adventures or bargain dive trips. Travelers with deep pockets are opening their eyes and purse strings to Belize for an authentic Central American experience and with the addition of high-end resorts like Itz’ana, they don’t have to compromise on comfort.
Itz’ana opens this week with their 18-room hotel on the beach, the Great House, a fine dining restaurant, and the swankiest pool I’ve ever seen. How sexy is this?
They anticipate having 14 beach-front villas complete by Easter. These 3-bedroom, million-dollar residences are each privately owned but can be rented as a whole or in pieces as each room can be locked off as a private unit. The super modern design is genius and each villa has not one, not two, but THREE private plunge pools! The maintenance manager for this property is going to be busy busy busy.
There is also a colossal project planned on the lagoon side of the property: stand-alone homes, marina, club house and community center. No official prediction on when that will be complete but if it proves half as ornate as the beach side of the operation it will rival Mahogany Bay in San Pedro for top spot in large luxury developments.