Owners of the resort formerly known as Belize Ocean Club, along with global boutique hotel management company STEM®, announce Umaya Resort & Adventures as the new brand and experiences for the beachfront property in Placencia in Southern Belize.
A series of investments were put forth by the ownership to reinvent the destination with greater connection to cultural experiences based on Mayan influences. Spanning the Caribbean Sea on the Maya Beach and the Placencia Lagoon against the backdrop of the Maya Mountains, Umaya will serve as the ideal home base to relax, explore and repeat – discovering the raw untouched beauty of Belize with quick access to reefs and jungles.
“The new Umaya experience offers what our guests are looking for in Belize – a sense of place and connection to the local community, its history and amazing raw, untouched beauty,” says Robert Van Eerde, CEO of STEM®.
Among the first phase of investments on the property are local Mayan sculptures and crafts from the arrival and throughout the common areas; restyling of select hotel suites; an organic garden; and new Mayan-influenced programming from Mayan massages to two new food-and-beverage options. A new dive center is also under development.
The first of the new dining options, The Clubhouse, is a farm-to-table restaurant facing the lagoon with sunset mountain views. It offers cuisine rooted in Mayan and Garifuna Belizean traditions. FYAH, named from the local dialect for fire, presents food cooked over an open-flame grill, with both deck and barefoot-in-the-sand seating options for a selection of parrillada and tandoor food.
The resort team has prioritized conservation and sustainability, putting in place several efforts to promote eco-consciousness, including an on-site organic garden and free-range chickens, which allows guests to delight in delicious cuisine incorporating the freshly picked ingredients harvested just a few yards away. Among the multitude of produce, guests can find tropical fruits, native herbs and staple vegetables, all used to prepare amazing meals that also educate guests even more about local Belizean dishes and food culture.
Effective with the rebrand, the hotel added to the décor with various locally sourced materials used to outfit the common areas and furnish select restyled suites, not only reducing the properties’ carbon footprint but maintaining the unique rustic look and feel found in Placencia. Local woods found on the property include Santa Maria, Mahogany and Cabbage Bar.
With the largest living barrier reef off its shores, Umaya Resort & Adventures is putting a focus on diving experiences, including the creation of an on-site dive certification program. The management team has also created unique new excursions for adventure travelers – both at sea and in the nearby jungles and Mayan ruins of Belize.
In addition to the off-site excursions, Umaya Resort & Adventures launched a variety of weekly cultural and gastronomic events such as Beer & Curry Night, serving original Indian dishes prepared by Chef Subu from Chennai as well as Best of Belize, highlighting local Garifuna cuisine and music.
Umaya Resort & Adventures is an all-suite, full-service boutique resort spanning the Maya Beach in Placencia, a lush 18-mile long peninsula in southern Belize. Featuring 60 luxury room options, spa, beach and lagoon restaurants, and some of the largest pools and event spaces on the peninsula. It is strategically located to easily access both jungle and ocean adventures, poised near the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere and the country’s extensive network of protected areas and parks.
STEM® Hotels is an international “TRUE” boutique hotel management company. Founded in 2011 by Robert Van Eerde to support and guide the small independent hotel market through effective management. Clients include Hotel Astor, Red Wall Garden Hotel, Time Tunnel Designer Hotel, Sofu Hotel, The Emperor, Savoy Hotel Miami Beach, Adria Hotel London, SOHO Beach House Miami, Pelican Hotel Miami, Manor House Nevis and El Ganzo, Cabo San Jose, Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels Qatar.