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Accolades for Francis Ford Coppola’s Resorts at the Travel & Leisure World’s Best Awards

July 19, 2010

Napa, Calif. (July 19, 2010)  Francis Ford Coppola’s famed resort Blancaneaux Lodge in San Ignacio, Belize has been named “Best Resort in Central + South America” in Travel + Leisure’s 15th Annual World’s Best Awards readers’ poll, with Turtle Inn in Placencia, Belize receiving the seventh place accolade on the list of Top 10 Resorts in Central + South America.  This is the second consecutive year that Blancaneaux Lodge ranks No. 1 on Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards list of Top Resorts in Central + South America. Blancaneaux Lodge is also included on Travel + Leisure’s 2010 list of “Top 100 Hotels Overall” ranking 63rd this year.  

“For us, being awarded “Best Resort in Central + South America” by Travel + Leisure readers is a true testament to the creative vision of Mr. Coppola and the wonderful staff at Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn that goes above and beyond everyday to offer the best experiences for our guests – this honor really belongs to them,” said Serena Lightner, Vice President of Resorts for Francis Ford Coppola Presents.

A prized gem in the Coppola resort family, Blancaneaux Lodge was originally a family retreat after Francis Ford Coppola purchased the property in the early 1980s when he fell in love with the location on a visit to Belize. Tucked away in a pocket of the Maya Mountains where waterfalls tumble into turquoise pools, the twenty-room resort opened to the public in 1993. The remote mountain setting makes it a perfect place to relax, rejuvenate, explore and simply enjoy life’s pleasures.

Designed by Mexican architect Manolo Mestre alongside Francis Ford Coppola, the resort is comprised of a series of villas with soaring hardwood and hand-woven thatch ceilings that rise from the jungle on stilts. The décor is based loosely on indigenous designs Francis had seen in the Philippines while filming “Apocalypse Now.” These elements contribute to Francis Ford Coppola’s personal vision for Blancaneaux Lodge is one of rustic comfort in harmony with its surroundings. Also staying true to this ethos, the lodge is almost self-sustaining through the use of a hydro-electric plant that harnesses the energy of Privassion Creek.

Turtle Inn, Coppola’s seafront hideaway, went through a reinvention as well when less than a year after Francis and Eleanor Coppola acquired the property in 2001, it was swept out to sea by the forces of Hurricane Iris. Turning disaster into triumph, the Coppolas led a two-year reclamation project, creating a beachside refuge perfect for those seeking a stress-relieving escape. Turtle Inn’s 25 unique dwellings consist of individual thatched cottages and villas, each decorated with handcrafted Balinese furnishings and naturally cooled.

Guests at both locations are offered a window into the world of natural and archaeological wonders through a wide range of adventure tours, activities, hands-on learning experiences and workshops that include Maya archaeology, wildlife observation, birding, jungle treks, snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding and more.  

Once their appetite for adventure has been fulfilled, guests can satisfy that of their stomachs through local dishes or classic Italian cuisine, many recipes from which come straight from the Coppola family’s cookbooks. And of course, all delicacies can be enjoyed with a glass of wine from the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

For more information about Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn, please visit The 2010 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards readers’ poll results and methodology are featured now on and in the August issue of Travel + Leisure. Hotels were rated on the the following characteristics: rooms/facilities, location, service, restaurants/food, and value.