GAÏA Riverlodge, Healthy Living + TravelCelebrated Belizean eco-tourism destination, GAÏA Riverlodge, is delighted to announce its recognition as Hotel of the Year 2015 by the Belize Tourism Board, as announced at the 13th National Tourism Awards on Saturday, August 1st.

Following an extensive nomination process by the Belize Tourism Board, GAÏA was deemed a “gateway to paradise” and a destination where “service exceeds excellence and the experience is engulfed with positive attitude, further heightened by the attentiveness of staff.” The Belize Tourism Board also noted that the innovative eco-friendly property “offers exceptional value, is equipped with outstanding facilities and amenities, boasts remarkable ambience and provides visitors with a truly authentic, all-encompassing Belizean experience.

“The entire GAÏA team is so honored to be awarded this distinction,” says Daniel Lighter, owner of GAÏA Riverlodge and sister property Matachica Resort & Spa. “To be awarded Hotel of the Year reflects not only our sincere dedication to our guests, but also our commitment to Belize and to preserving the country’s natural beauty.”

Located in Belize’s famed Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve and situated atop the dramatic Five Sisters waterfalls, GAÏA Riverlodge was officially opened early in 2012. One of only a few properties in Belize to be Green Globe Certified, the ‘off-grid’, hydro-powered hotel prides itself in upholding the highest standard of sustainability. Staffed entirely by Belizeans, Gaia was named a top eco-hotel by the Smith Hotel Awards 2014, and has been rated #1 hotel in the Mountain Pine Ridge by Trip Advisor since 2013.

GAÏA Riverlodge, Healthy Living + TravelLighter first identified the property, which he refers to as a hidden gem, in 2011. His vision was to create a unique hotel that blended into the environment and fit seamlessly into the breathtaking Belizean landscape, reflecting the un-tapped beauty of the country and the simplicity of the rainforest. With the property in need of significant renovation and development – ranging from upgrades to infrastructure and décor to guest amenities and furnishings – what followed was a drastic renovation of all sixteen guest rooms and the construction of a new main reception & restaurant lodge, as well the development of the property’s sustainability features.

The lodge’s signature cabanas and Riverside Villa all feature Belizean hardwood flooring, bathrooms with exquisite hand-painted tiling, locally made Mahogany furnishings, and Matouk and Frette linens and L’Occitane amenities to add touches of luxury to the rainforest experience.GAÏA Riverlodge, Healthy Living + Travel

Guests are invited to unwind by the river, hike the Mayan ruins, discover their adventurous side with zip-lining and horseback riding, or enjoy the range of decadent face and body treatments at GAÏA’s Jungle Spa, which use all natural and indigenous ingredients. Dining is another pleasure to be savored at GAÏA, with seasonal menus highlighting the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables grown in their own magnificent Mayan organic garden, and fresh seafood from the nearby Caribbean.

The recognition as the Hotel of the Year for 2015 is a wonderful reward for the painstaking effort that has gone in to creating one of Belize’s newest high-end eco-luxury tourism properties offering a genuine Belizean experience. “The award is also a testament to how well GM Nigel Richards and the entire staff has performed over the past few years”, says Lighter.

GAÏA Riverlodge