Francis Ford Coppola opens La Lancha lodge in Guatamala
Film director Francis Ford Coppola is proving as talented at running exotic hotels as he is at making Oscar-winning movies. The latest addition to his portfolio – which already includes two fabulous lodges in Belize – nestles in the jungle near Guatemala's famous Mayan citadel of Tikal, one of the archaeological wonders of the world.
A small property with just ten stylish but simple rooms, the recently-opened La Lancha perches on the edge of Lake Peten Itza, with its own dock for boating and fishing.
The accommodation is furnished in brightly coloured Guatemalan textiles and local antiques with mosquito nets draping the beds and fans humming overhead. You can choose from a Lakeview Casita – complete with a deck overlooking the water where friendly howler monkeys drop by to inspect visitors – or a Rainforest Casita, built to blend in with the jungle.
A stroll out from the main lodge leads you to a skyway walk through the canopy of the rainforest; a fabulous vantage point for bird and nature watching. The hotel can arrange excursions to the ancient temples at Tikal – a 90-minute drive away – or a visit the local community on the island of Flores, as well as fishing, bird watching and boating trips with an experienced guide.
In the afternoon, guests can cool off in the hotel swimming pool or the lake, before lounging around in hammocks dotted through the grounds. As the sun
goes down, candles are lit and cocktails and dinner, featuring local specialities, are served in the restaurant, situated in the main lodge with its soaring roof. As at the director's other two hotels, the food is based around top quality, home-grown produce. And evening entertainment comes in the form of serenades from jungle birds, insects and the area’s simian residents.
If you want to see more of this fascinating region, you can take a ride in Coppola’s private plane – Sofia, named after his famous director daughter – and resort-hop to the family’s other properties in Belize. These comprise the beachside Turtle Inn and Blancaneaux Lodge, tucked away in the jungle. Combined, they make for a triple-destination holiday of a lifetime.
For more information on this peaceful Guatemalan lodge, with its unique access to natural and cultural wonders, visit: www.blancaneauxlodge.com and select La Lancha.