Best Spa Gardens: Blancaneaux Lodge


Best Spa Gardens: Blancaneaux Lodge

November 2, 2009
Photo by: Blancaneaux Lodge

Trellises laden in shocks of brightly colored bougainvillea and coffee plants heavy with their cherry-red fruit flesh out the subtropical landscape deep in the heart of Belize on the banks of the Privassion River. Here you'll find a remote getaway where thatched-roof bungalows and paw prints left by an elusive jaguar might leave you wondering if you've wandered onto a movie set. You wouldn't be far from the truth: Legendary movie director Francis Ford Coppola has owned the once-abandoned Blancaneaux Lodge — where he and his wife Eleanor have brought their Napa Valley passion for stewardship of the land — for nearly 30 years. In addition to creating a hydroelectric plant to supply much of the resort's power and diligently recycling waste water, the Coppolas also maintain a 3-acre organic garden that supplies the resort with 80 percent of its needs. Expect local dishes and Italian cuisine utilizing ingredients from the garden; swimming pools, private plunge pools and even a horseshoe-shaped hot pool that will maximize your immersion in the landscape; and a spa whose name is inspired by the on-site waterfall that completes this cinematic retreat. The Waterfall Spa is artfully placed amongst the gardens and turns to Thailand as inspiration for its treatments. But make no mistake, when the treatment room doors are open to the garden and you hear the sound of the river, the song of the acid-green trogons and the fluttering of hummingbird wings, you'll know you are squarely in Central America.

Try this: What do you get when you combine just-picked bananas and honey sprinkled with salt crystals? OK, it could be a gourmet-ice-cream flavor, but at the Waterfall Spa it is part of a nourishing body wrap called the Oriental Prelude Treatment. If you're in the mood for exploration, join a resort naturalist to see wild orchids in a broadleaved forest in nearby Elijio Panti National Park.

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