The owners of The Lodge at Chaa Creek, awarded Belize’s Hotel of the Year for 2010- 2011, said that receiving the prestigious award was a victory not only for their management and their staff, but for environmentally sound practices worldwide.
According to the Belize Tourism Board, “This award recognizes a licensed hotel that offers a gateway to paradise where service exceeds excellence while being engulfed with the positive attitude and attentiveness of staff, offering exceptional value for money, outstanding facilities and amenities, remarkable ambiance, innovation and the ability to provide visitors with a true sample of the Belize brand”.
Mick and Lucy Fleming, who founded Belize’s most awarded Green eco resort thirty years ago, said they were ecstatic to receive the award, as it was not only a reflection on their staff, but proved that an eco resort could still be environmentally responsible while at the same time providing a very high level of quality and service.
“That’s what is really satisfying about receiving this award,” Ms Fleming said, “It proves that you can operate in a responsible, sustainable manner without sacrificing comfort or luxury. In fact, I think we prove that a Green operation adds to a visitor’s experience and is appreciated.”
The Lodge at Chaa Creek, which celebrates its 30th birthday this year, began as a small family farm and gradually grew to become one of Belize’s most highly regarded rainforest resort.
“As Chaa Creek grew, so did our respect and sensitivity for the pristine, beautiful environment that surrounds and supports it, and our commitment to sustainable practices always made sense and continued to evolve naturally. It’s so gratifying to see that what works for the environment works for our guests as well, and that it is acknowledged by our industry partners,” she said.
Mick Fleming also had high praise for Belize and Chaa Creek’s 130 strong staff.
“We have flourished under the freedom of what Belize has given to us and not just us as two individuals. Everybody who’s a part of our organization has developed skills and really invested a large part of their lives with us. There are people here at Chaa Creek who have been with us for anywhere up to twenty-seven years… and probably fifty per cent of our staff have been with us for ten years plus. I think that relationship and commitment shows in our operations and service.”
The Lodge at Chaa Creek is set within a private 365 acre nature reserve and features a Natural History Centre, Butterfly Farm, professional spa, Maya Medicinal Plant Trail and traditional organic farm, beautiful large thatched roof restaurant, lounge and conference centre as well as 23 thatched cottage accommodations, suites and villas with private Jacuzzis and sundecks, all in tropical garden settings. The resort has been recognised worldwide for a focus on sustainable, responsible tourism and Maya culture.
Belize Tourism Board Director Seleni Matus said some 460 nominations had been received this year and that the awards “Helps us bring to the fore those examples in excellence and service that are so critical to growing the industry.”
Ms Fleming said that she hopes the awards will continue to highlight the viability of sustainable tourism in Belize and the Caribbean and Central American region.