San Ignacio, Belize
What it is
Francis Ford Coppola’s jungle retreat.
What it isn't
A slick resort that tried to dress like a local by scattering a few stylized artifact replicas around.
What we think
Francis Ford Coppola's innate knack for setting the scene is front and center in this 70-acre stretch of thick Belizean preserve—amidst the fragrant pines and bird song, 20 thatch-roofed bungalows are tucked into private nooks on the banks of the Privassion River. Once a hunting lodge deep in the Central American jungle, Blancaneaux is something that could easily be mistaken for Hollywood magic. However, it’s built in solid harmony with the wilderness; there’s no lingering feeling that it’s just a set with props. Eleanor Coppola, matriarch of the Coppola clan, personally curated the collection of Guatemalan fabrics, Mexican objets d’art, and Mayan artifacts—it's this holistic and personal detailing that completes the place. Adding to the sense that this isn't a pre-fab resort, it's the filmmaker’s own family recipes (rooted in Basilicata, Italy) that are prepared with the property’s organic herbs and vegetables—then paired with wines from the family’s Californian vineyards. Rescued racehorses carry guests along trails to nearby ruins; the lodge’s river-powered generators supply energy, and the local staff works with a wonderful lack of pretension, while never missing a beat nor even the subtlest of cues.
You're here because
You want something authentic. A marriage of Mayan jungle and exceptional beauty from the guy who brought the Godfather to life.
In the main lodge, you lean back and swill you glass of Eleanor Red. The blend of Syrah and Petit Sirah is rich and complex and, not so coincidentally, named after Coppola’s wife. As you inhale its jammy, peppery nose, you look up and spot the ceiling fan. As it lazily spins, you realize you’ve seen it before—in Apocalypse Now.
Restaurants & Bars
Montagna Ristorante - Italian cuisine in a tropical setting
Guatemaltecqua Restaurant - Specializes in the cooking of Guatemala
Jaguar Bar - Perfect place to relax
The lodge is the foothills of the Mountain Pine Ridge National Park. Guests arriving from the international airport bump along the less-than-smooth jungle road for about an hour before they reach the wide, palm-lined entrance to Blancaneaux. Avoiding the drive, many guests opt to fly in and land on the small on-site airstrip that Coppola built for his personal plane.