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Jun 7, 2019

The Lodge At Chaa Creek: From a Humbling Beginning to an Award Winning Resort

In part two of his Chaa Creek experience, News Five’s reporter Hipolito Novelo takes a look at what it takes to run an internationally recognized, award-winning resort. It all started with founders Mick and Lucy Fleming who strove to coexist with nature while creating a true jungle experience. Since its inception, Chaa Creek has steadily grown. It boasts twenty-three cottage style rooms, Spa Villa, Macal Cottage and Tree Top Villas. But what makes Chaa Creek unique is its determination to lead the way in eco-tourism and sustainable practice.  Here is the report.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

For more than thirty years, Chaa Creek Resort has been steadily evolving into one of Belize’s most luxurious resorts. It all started with Mick and Lucy Fleming in 1977.

 

Roberto Harrison, Marketing Administrator

“Mick and Lucy Fleming, our founders, settled here and they were doing farming to earn a living. They set up one cottage and they were charging, I believe five U.S. a night.”

 

And from that one cottage, Chaa Creek has blossomed into a four hundred acre top of the line resort, transforming the landscape into a relaxing paradise for its guests.

 

Roberto Harrison

Roberto Harrison

“The beautiful part about it is that it was a homegrown growth. It was an organic growth. It wasn’t a growth where they had this master plan and they came in with investors and put up a mega resort. This actually started with very hard work.”  

 

…hard work which has paid off. Chaa Creek has grown to be one of the most recognized eco resorts in Central America. When the Flemings decided to open Chaa Creek, they had two goals in mind: to provide an authentic wilderness experience and to lead the way in eco-tourism and sustainable practice.

 

Roberto Harrison

“We grew organically and we built around nature. We did not destroy nature to build and we continue doing that thirty-five and plus years after. We understand that nature plays a very important role not only for our survival but for the survival for all its inhabitants. At Chaa Creek we have several sustainable practices. For example, we have thatch cottages so we use bay leave from the Belizean rainforest. We have a program where when we use the leaves we replant again. So again, it is a sustainable model in that part. A part in that, we also use eco friendly projects, eco friendly wash detergents, eco friendly soaps. In the rooms, we actually support Belizean local made hand soaps as well. The same metal straws. We know that plastic is being banned now and we support everything that is sustainable, clean and environmentally friendly.”

 

According to Marketing Administrator Roberto Harrison, Chaa Creek prides itself on excellence and perfection right down to the smallest detail. It takes more than one hundred and fifty highly trained employees to keep this family-owned resort running all year round.  From the time you arrive to the day you leave, visitors are treated like family.

 

Denise Duran

Denise Duran, Public Relations, Weddings & Events Manager

“Our staff plays a huge role when it comes to just the little details of what they will do on a daily basis for all of our guests. Simple from just putting a flower on their drink or versus putting a butterfly in their room, especially with families with kids. That always gives them a wow and let them talk more about Chaa Creek.”

 

Roberto Harrison

“Sustainable tourism actually comes with that as well, taking care of our employees and making sure that their families are fed all year round. We have employment all year round. So we keep the one hundred and fifty five employees in different areas. We have our maintenance guys, they take care of the resort, the trails and make sure that the land are well manicured, all the flowers are blooming. We are about keeping guests happy and making our clients happy. We go above and beyond. So it is always about guest/customer excellence.”

 

Chaa Creek’s world-class tourism offering is also available to locals.  PR Manager Denise Duran says that you can ask about the special Belizean package:

 

Denise Duran

“Chaa Creek has so many things to offer to Belizeans. It’s basically right in their backyard. We have the Belizean summer specials which we have every years starting June first for a few months. It is a steal deal. It is a giveaway. You get your beautiful, luxurious accommodations. You get you breakfast and dinner included. You also enjoy early morning bird watching, canoeing on the Macal River, butterfly farm, Natural History and tubing our beautiful Macal River as well. It is a steal deal and we want to invite all our Belizean guests.”

 

Chaa Creek also champions support for the local community through its Chaa Creek Care initiative. Ten percent of its room revenue is pumped into the community through its support for local schools and training centers, sporting events and teams, youth groups, as well as conservation projects.

 

Roberto Harrison

“We do this through our Chaa Creek Care initiative. So the Chaa Creek Cares initiative actually sees a couple of programs go live. One of them is that we give away twelve school scholarships every year and that’s for tertiary level education as well. We do our eco kids summer camp in July. That is a one week all inclusive summer camp. They learn about nature and cultures because it is people from different background.”

 

Due to its dedicated efforts in environmental conservation, natural history education, and sustainable tourism, The Lodge at Chaa Creek has received several awards from local and international entities including the National Geographic World Legacy Awards for community engagement and last year’s B.T.B. Hotel of the Year Award.

 

Roberto Harrison

“Being branded Hotel of the year in 2018, that was a great fete. That is the third time that we have won Hotel of the year in the last ten years. So we were super proud to be able to bring back Hotel of the year to Cayo. It is something that we truly and seriously award to our employees, to our staff, to our family the Chaa Creek Family because without them we could not reach where we are.”

 

Hipolito Novelo, News Five.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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