Condé Nast Traveler - Cover and Hot List Winner
"Gladden feels like an exclusive oasis, and it is, thanks to the privacy the location allows". Read the full Review on Cntraveler.com
we definitely plan on going back!
We had an absolutely unforgettable time on the island and we definitely plan on going back! You, Toni, Jamie, and Jose, were truly amazing and made our island ceremony incredible as well! We are so thankful for everyone involved in making our wedding week so memorable!
Regarding the Surf and Turf concept, we enjoyed being able to see the island/beachy part of Belize, as well as the jungle. I know that we were the first guest there, and I think that once everything is completely set up there, this will be a perfect combo.
The things that we found worked well, was taking the boat from the island, and then doing the drive to the villa. We felt this gave us a good opportunity to see a little bit more of Belize. Also, all of the staff at the villa was amazing, and we can not say enough good things about everyone there. We also loved all of the different games that they have there, because in our case, we could not take any tours due to the rain. Another thing we enjoyed was the cocktail hour that Omar put on for us, it was a welcome surprise. Lastly, the massage therapists were terrific. The massages at the jungle villa were on par with the massages Jamie gave on the island.
Courtney W | October 2020
the perfect balance of privacy and being spoiled
My husband and I went here for our honeymoon in October 2020. We can’t say enough good things about the trip!! There was great communication and flexibility before we even booked the trip. It was nice that they arranged for a call about a month ahead of time to make sure they got a feel for us. They asked our dietary preferences, our level of adventure, our desire for privacy, and what sort of drinks we liked (both alcoholic and non!). They had a huge selection of drinks but we also had the chance to order some additional “premium” alcohol and wine to be stocked up in preparation for our arrival.
We felt like we had the perfect balance of privacy and being spoiled. There is an intercom system where you call if you need or want anything, otherwise they leave you alone to enjoy your time together. We erred on the side of privacy (being on our honeymoon and all!) but really enjoyed the times when we had interaction with the staff. Johann and Toni were a married couple who were the main contacts and caretakers. They made cocktails and meals for us, and took care of arranging activities. Jose was the boat captain but he also kept our island free of sea trash and helped to set up some breathtaking dinner settings too! He would dig a trench to bury an extension cable so they could have a lamp on our table set up on the beach! Start a campfire so we could roast S’mores. He was also a fantastic boat captain...we caught a ton of red snapper and a coupe of Amberjack that Toni prepared later for our meals! He took us to the best snorkeling spots too. And then there is Jamie...she was like a quiet sneaky ninja that doubled as a masseuse and housekeeper...cleaning the house and lighting candles in a hot bath while we were distracted by our meals. We only chose to have her give us one massage on our last day there and then we thought “why didn’t we have her do this every day?!?!” It was so relaxing!!!
The house itself was well built with luxurious feeling furnishings. There was a small pool that we used a lot, a pool table on the rooftop, a bed suspended by chains on the rooftop (great for star gazing at night!) and little sitting areas all over the island. You won’t be bored, I promise! There is snorkeling gear that you can use at any time...just walk off the beach and the island is surrounded by reef! (I would recommend wearing water shoes though...lots of conch shells and other pointy things to step on while you wade in!). Paddle boards, kayaks, games....we were never board. We accidentally left books at the airport and they were kind enough to bring some over to us to read for the times that it would rain and we sat under the gazebo with drinks. It got dark really early so I feel like we went to bed really early and got up really early with the sunrise. They have blackout shades for the bedroom but I always opened them because I thought it was nice to wake up to the natural light and the sounds of the waves. There were some pretty hard thunderstorms at night (thought we would wake up with our island drifted a mile away!) so the one time we slept with all the accordion doors open was a bad idea. Hahaha!
There were a few limitations about what sort of “off island” activities could be done (like going to other islands or some of the mainland excursions) but all of that was due to Covid, so we had to be flexible knowing it was no fault of Gladden’s. Traveling to Belize was easy, we felt completely safe the entire time. The staff wore masks at all time. And with it just being the two of you on an island, it felt like Covid was a world away!
The price is steep, but we were willing to splurge for our honeymoon. It didn’t disappoint and maybe we will go back again for a 10 or 20 year anniversary. It was a unique, luxurious, relaxing, and well-organized adventure. Highly recommend to anyone!!!
Katie H | October 2020
we could never top this trip
The team there was nothing short of Amazing in making our trip. I told them all I would definitely be back to see them! I'm not sure we could ever top this trip. If they all left I'm not sure returning would even compare.
Kim H | October 2020
The absolute perfect vacation
I have struggled to find a word to adequately describe our recent stay on Gladden and all seem to fall far short of our experience. For us it was the absolute perfect vacation. We found a haven where we could completely relax on “our own” island in a luxury villa while being pampered by a staff who made it their goal to see to our every need. Prior to arriving I had read everything I could find about Gladden and I have to say that our experience far exceeded all of my expectations.
First and foremost the most amazing gift that Gladden gave to us was the time alone with each other. Time to talk. Time to reconnect. Time to reminisce on 22 years together. Time to relax and truly enjoy the solitude. Time to laugh. Time to play (she actually kicked my butt at corn hole). Time to stargaze on the rooftop swing. Time to enjoy the beauty of nature. Time to sit and enjoy 10 sunsets. “Life” and all that it entails for us was left at home and we were able to completely relax and focus on each other. Never before have we had a vacation that achieved this level of true intimacy and connection.
The staff that cared for us was professional, friendly, and knowledgeable. Adam, Annika, Reina, Marvin, and Vincent thank you for an amazing time! Our vacation was made complete by each one of you. Annika’s meals were perfectly planned, nicely plated/presented, and delicious. Many of our daily conversations involved discussing the prior meal and trying to guess what was on the upcoming menu. Mention that you really like a certain food/fruit/fish and it seems to magically appear on your next plate. Adam leads the team in a quiet unassuming but effective manner. We looked forward to hearing you say every morning “what would you like to do today”. It truly seemed like the sky was the limit.
Reina is an amazing masseuse. What better way is there to either start the morning or complete a perfect afternoon than with a massage, skin treatment, manicure, or pedicure? Marvin kept the beach spotless, free of any seaweed, and perfectly raked so we didn’t have to look at our own footprints. Vincent led us on several snorkeling excursions and demonstrated his fishing skills. Each member of the staff in their own way contributed to the perfection of each day. We were not just expertly cared for .... we met some truly amazing people and made some new friends.
Needless to say the villa rivaled the rest of the trip. It is perfectly situated on the island looking out towards the reef adding to the sense of complete seclusion. Built to resemble a Mayan ruin but with all the modern conveniences (need to stream Netflix? No Problem). Comfortable. Well planned out. The roof top area is perfect at night to stargaze without any surrounding light pollution. Baths and showers with a direct and open ocean view are the norm. Wake up each morning to a beautiful sunrise coming into the master . . . or leave the black out shades down and sleep in. The entire front of the villa and side of the master completely open making the villa and island more or less “one” during the day.
Our excursion to Placencia made for a nice day “out”. Lunch at a beachside restaurant with Adam and Annika was very nice (but couldn’t rival the food on the island). Shopping for the requisite gifts to take home in Placencia, enjoying coffee in a treehouse, and eating gelato finished up our excursion to the mainland. Many other excursions are available however the peaceful solitude of the island kept us there. Take the time for the short boat ride to visit King Louis island and have lunch.
We have already booked our stay for next year and are counting the days until our next Gladden escape.
Daniel and Courtney Ibach
A once in a lifetime vacation!
We were so excited to get to Gladden. We had made the arrangements several months in advance, and it all seemed so perfect that we were counting the days until we left. We were not disappointed.
I'll start by saying that I'd read all the prior visitors' glowing comments, so it's hard to know what to add, but at the risk of being repetitious, I'll glow too.
The isolation, peace and tranquility of the location is rare and wonderful. Couple that with the privacy afforded by the staff staying near, but not with, made for complete relaxation.
The architecture and design of the villa is a thing of rare beauty. No need to argue about form or function being more important- both are fully realized. The quality of the furnishings, the flow of the layout, the spacious bathrooms were all very welcoming.
The staff took excellent care of us. Annika, Adam, Gabby and Zack were friendly and professional at all times. They must have asked us a zillion times what more they could do. Annika's meal planning and cooking were outstanding- we had much delicious food and wine- and they made it all appear effortless- to us anyway! And Gabby is a very talented masseuse!
I recommend Gladden highly to anyone craving this kind of off the grid private experience- there is no compromise on luxury. We're looking forward to going back soon.
I want to say that this has our best anniversary trip ever from start to finish. Your staff is top notch and our hosts Adam and Annika went above and beyond to make our trip a once in a lifetime experience. We never heard the word no it was always we will get it done. Your staff treated us with respect from the moment we got to Belize. It has made us rethink where we what to retire to an island.
5 stars aren't enough to rate our vacation at Gladden. From the moment we were greeted at the airport to our private helicopter ride over gorgeous Caribbean waters and Belize's famous blue hole and finally landing at Gladden greeted by your wonderful staff, we can't thank you enough for one of the best vacations Ever! The level of service that Adam, Annika and the entire staff provided was unsurpassed! Their enthusiasm, sense of humor, kindness, beautifully prepared meals, expertise, knowledge of Belize and travel in general was not only inspiring, but what made our stay on the island so unique and memorable.
Thank you again! Looking forward to a return trip in 2019.
This was the most wonderful vacation experience we could have ever dreamed of. The beauty of the island with the ability to snorkel or paddle board right from your own personal beach was amazing! Additionally the staff was amazing and attentive. From the outstanding personal meals to the spa style massages, we truly did not want for anything! A destination and experience must!!
Our stay on Gladden was just what we needed for our 20th wedding anniversary. The entire team did everything they could to make our stay perfect. I will totally recommend this island to all my friends. Thank you to Adam, Annika, Gabby and Zak- you are amazing!
The island was amazing with amazing hosts. Peter, Colleen, Al, and Tiffany do an awesome job at making sure you have a memorable experience. Their knowledge of the area and variety of experiences that you have the ability to experience make this place one of a kind: Scuba, snorkeling, sailing, massage, fishing. You must try this island. It is the bar for what an island experience should be.
Luxury facility, cared for by a fabulous world-class staff of four, surrounded by beautiful deep blue waters of the Caribbean. Seriously, paradise!
My family visited Gladden having sailed with Peter and Colleen a few years ago in the BVIs. We didn’t think our yacht charter with Peter and Colleen could be topped, but we were wrong. Our seven days with Peter, Colleen and the adorable couple, Al and Tiffany, was heaven. We experienced Colleen’s culinary masterpieces on the yacht charter, and had the pleasure of enjoying her edible delights three times daily served under a breezy canopy on Gladden. Peter can do anything: captain, scuba master, fishing captain, facility mechanic, storyteller, and cook (under the careful eye of Colleen), all with warmth and charm. Tiffany provided excellent massages anytime of day, as well as facials with natural local products. Al, with his perpetual smile, was present anytime to help with water toys, facilities, or delicious craft cocktails. The fabulous foursome seems to anticipate your needs before asked. They bend over backwards to make sure guests’ needs are met; the house and veranda pool stay spotless, and provisions are always stocked. Colleen’s homemade cookies were replenished daily.
The privacy of this island can’t be overemphasized. The island’s location is far away from everything and everyone. Not to worry if you need a dose of humanity, there is a large boat on the island and Peter knows many hot spots to visit. The staff is present as much or as little as you wish.
With the exception of scuba diving trips, our family chose to stay on Gladden. After relaxing among loungers on the beach, by the pool, or under the dining canopy, we only had to walk steps to snorkel among a lovely reef (of course all masks and fins were provided). We enjoyed three days of diving with Peter, master diver, along the world’s second largest reef. After diving, we visited King Lewey’s island, a quirky fun little place with Disneyesque statues of pirates and birds. King Lewey himself greeted us donning his crown and cape. We initially planned to visit other islands and take a land excursion, but after spending only one day on Gladden, we chose to stay on Gladden paradise. We enjoyed Belizean nature all around the island: osprey nest with babies, juvenile fish among the Mangrove trees, and tropical birds chirping in the trees.
We highly recommend experiencing Gladden Private Island for luxury facilities, spectacular sunrise and sunset views, and a loving attentive staff.
Sharon Ralston | North Carolina, USA
10-star staff, excellent accommodations - property has all amenities on site !!
I can't emphasize the quality of the staff enough, they made it a 10-star experience - charming, funny, excellent chefs, and easy-going!! I was surprised to discover the property came with all amenities included, as we were expecting additional fees to charter a boat, but upon arrival, discovered the property has its own center console and flat bottom boats for easy transfers to snorkeling or scuba sites, and to bar hop (King Lewey's was our favorite)! We had our golden doodle with us for the trip, the staff was great with him, and all of the island stops were pet friendly. Gladden lives up to their promise of an exclusive and unforgettable experience!! We highly recommend the property and request Peter, Colleen, Al & Tiffany - you won't be disappointed!
Over the course of nine days we experienced nothing but excellence
In a world full of hyperbole, Gladden manages to exceed its own stated very high standards. Over the course of nine days we experienced nothing but excellence. The lodging, the food the service and maybe most of all the privacy afforded us made for a perfect vacation. Both of us have travelled the world, stayed in the best hotels and eaten the finest food and drink the world has to offer. In the face of that experience Gladden exceeded them all. Every whim was catered to, every meal met our demands, we had complete privacy. We had almost daily massages, a facial or two, a yoga lesson, classical guitar at supper, meals when and where we wanted both on the private island and elsewhere. I simply can't imagine a better vacation or better staff. I must place emphasis on the fact that when the good folks at gladden they all inclusive, it is, period. From the moment we stepped off the aircraft at the airport in Belize city, we paid for nothing. We were met at the Château ["house" just doesn't seem to reflect the building] with a wine fridge filled with our favourite varietals, a fridge full of our requested local beer and real champagne, chocolates, snacks, indeed everything you could [and we did) dream up.
I can't leave my review without comments about the Château. This is the most adaptable building I've ever had the pleasure of residing within. Almost every wall could be removed. There were never-ending options of where to sit, where to eat and where to play. The design was perfect for guests seeking solitude and variety. Want a swinging bed? Go upstairs. Want some shade? Pick a chair downstairs. Want some sun? Move to another chair. Want to snorkel walk 30 m. The kitchen was always stocked, the pool was always clean, special requests like a rose every night on the bed? No problem. I could easily write a book about this place but suffice it to note that it's as close to perfection as you're going to find on this planet in this lifetime. I was quite skeptical that the holiday would be everything that it was made out to be. I could not have been more wrong. From our initial communications with Adam and Chris through to our constant interactions before and during our visit with Colleen and Peter and of course with the on-site support and services of Tiffany and Al this is a well thought out and executed holiday -no small print, no exceptions no excuses. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic myself, if you're considering going here, consider your decision already made. I'm as demanding and cantankerous as any luxury traveler and they exceeded my expectations.
We absolutely loved our week on Gladden Island. We wish we could have stayed longer!
Things We Liked About Gladden Island: -The weather (not -20 degrees like back home) -The amazing guest house -Remarkable/professional staff -Colleen's fabulous cooking -Peter's humor -Tiffany's manicures/pedicures -Al's fire starting/bonfire -Snorkeling on the reef -Sunshine -Overnight Oats for breakfast -Scuba Diving -Sparkling water -Spotted eagle rays -Catching lobster -Bacon-wrapped chicken/couscous -Curry Shrimp and Rice -Paddle boarding -Barracuda-they can fly across the water! -Alberto's driving the boat safely -Peter's expert scuba knowledge -Artichoke Dip for happy hour -Fresh conch appetizers -Al's special drinks -Sunsets on the water -Dancing on the beach -Seeing the nurse sharks -Brain coral -Visiting other islands -Drinks at King Lewey's -Drinks/snacks at Hatchet Caye -Colleen's homemade bread -Chocolate cake -"Peter's" cookies -Fresh oranges -Coffee at sunrise -Soft beds -Clean rooms -Beautiful views -Gentle breezes -Watching squalls roll in-Thunderstorms at night -More paddle boarding -The master bathtub with ocean view -Sherry's stunning paintings -The hurricane doors -Eggs made to order -Ice cream with strawberries -Pelicans diving -The osprey nest -Hermit crabs -Black bean soup on a rainy day -Folded cloth napkins -Mayan history and land tour -Jenga tower competitions -Belize's lovely climate -Friendly locals -Emilio helping at the airport -Champagne and grilled lobster on New Years Eve -Private island solitude -EVERYTHING!
The most amazing vacation of my life
The property was from a fairytale . A 2 person small secluded Island with the greatest 4 person staff that you could ever ask for that was at your service on a moment's notice from their own Island less then 100 yards away!!! Just an incredible experience. Thank you Colleen, Peter , Tiffany and Al . You made our stay unforgettable.
My husband and I visited for 4 nights for our belated honeymoon and I cannot say enough fantastic things about our trip. It was the most amazing experience of our lifetime. The best part was the team that works there – Tiffany, and Al, and Hector. Colleen and Peter are two especially wonderful people and really made the trip special. They are genuine caring people, knowledgeable about what they do, and have a good time doing it! We feel like we made new friends for life! The team took the time to plan a special evening for us, with chef Omar from nearby Placencia and musical guitarist. Even though it was raining outside, we had such a good time and Omar’s food was beyond belief. We thank them both for coming out to the island in such dreary weather…and at night!
The food every day was fantastic. Colleen used only the freshest food and nailed every one of our favorite foods. Peter went snorkeling with us and took some great pictures of what we saw on the trip. The views were amazing, the house was gorgeous. We spent most of our time just gazing at the views around us during the day and up in the sky at the stars at night. Honestly no complaints whatsoever, only accolades for what the team did to make the trip so special and easy going. We hope to be able to come back again and refer some friends or family to visit as well! Thank you for the amazing experience!