Accessible via Miami, Belize, formerly British Honduras, neighbouring Mexico and Guatemala, has for the last forty years been seducing wealthy Americans looking for corners of paradise away from mass tourism. Its primary assets: the Caribbean Sea, the extraordinary fauna and flora of the country and the Mayan temples dotted around the countryside.
Thirty minutes from Belize City, as the crow flies, the former residence of a marine biologist has been the main destination of director Francis Ford Coppola since 2001. Baptised Turtle Inn, a nod to the hundreds of turtles who lay their eggs here every year, the resort includes a dozen cottages, the most beautiful are on the beachfront (prices start at 429 euros), with a Balinese style décor – canopy beds, sculpted doors, mahogany furniture, outside shower and ceramic bath tubs – and every possible comfort. The television screen and telephone are banished, and replaced by strange shell speakers used for ordering room service, ensuring that each villa is as chic as it is relaxing. It is also where each year Sofia Coppola and her tribe go to recharge at the Beach House with its graphic architecture, monumental swimming pool, garden and barbecue, also available to rent (at 1999 dollars a night).