My body hung upside down, my legs wrapped tightly around a sea‐blue hammock connected from the ceiling.
"Are you comfortable?" my instructor asked.
How do I answer that? I thought. My thighs were clinching the material, hanging on for dear life, yet I felt oddly relaxed as I swung back and forth.
I was taking part in my first‐aerial yoga class, one of the highlights of my stay at the Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club on Ambergris Caye, a 300-room property on the island off the east coast of Belize.
The class, held at the Science & Soul Wellness center, assists yoga students in a variety of levels, styles and traditions. It's just one of the many features that set Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club apart from the competition.
During my four-day visit sponsored by the resort, I was able to explore all that the resort offers guests, from the Great House, a grand 22,000-square-foot building that is the largest standing wooden structure in Belize, to the remote yet breathtaking Beach Club, located a 12-minute water taxi ride from the property.
"There's nothing like this in Belize," said Mike Fields, director of sales.
Noting that 75% of visitors to Belize come to Ambergris Caye, Fields said Mahogany Bay's CEO, Beth Clifford, discovered that there were only 2,000 hotel rooms on the island, and only about 370 of them were up to international standards.
So Clifford saw an opportunity to develop a four-star resort on the island.
A guestroom at the Mahogany Bay. The 300-room property is part of Hilton’s Curio collection.
"This was always a backpackers' paradise," Fields said. "There's a huge change of what is going on. We're starting to see what we call a Louis Vuitton theory happening: more private planes, a higher-end clientele."
And with that change comes expanded opportunities for conferences and weddings, a major draw at the Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club.
Currently, the largest facility on the island to have weddings can fit 20 to 30 people, Fields said, but Mahogany Bay's Great House, which features two bars and restaurants, will be able to fit up to 400 people for a conference and 150 people for a wedding.
"That's a huge draw again to get people in," he said.
The rooms come in a variety of styles, from Garden Cottage rooms featuring quaint porches to the 1,246-square-foot, three-bedroom family cottage that features a modern kitchen stocked with everything needed for a delectable meal.
All rooms include free WiFi, air‐conditioning, cable TV, safe, luxury bedding and under-counter refrigerator.
The property features an array of dining options, from the Japanese-inspired Jyoto to the Verandah, the signature Caribbean dining establishment within the Great House. Other options include Stirred, an upscale mixology bar, and Rum + Bean, a popular coffee bar offering everything from frozen frappucinos to rum craft cocktails.
Because the property is part of the Hilton Curio collection, guests can receive Hilton points during their stay. Room rates start at $369 for two people. For more information, see http://curiocollection3.hilton.com.