The building of Mystic River Resort has been a great adventure for both Tom and I. We first met back in San Pedro in 2004 and were good friends for a while before deciding that our common interests would actually make us very good partners in business and in love! Tom had been living in Belize for about 25 years and I was recently landed looking for some warmth after 20 years of Canadian winters!
I had always had a dream of one day owning a resort somewhere warm, meeting new people and having lots of fun while doing it! I never intended to build one from scratch, but after my numerous attempts at purchasing an existing resort failed, Tom assured me that he could build me my dream. I was quite disillusioned because I actually do not like construction in the least – it is noisy, messy and can be quite a drain financially, especially in Belize! We actually have a saying here, that to become a Millionaire in Belize, you have to first bring two Millions!!
Finding the land to build the resort turned out to be quite a task because of the specific details we had in mind, but in the end, a stroke of bad luck turned out to be one of the best decision of my life.
Tom said that he would do the drawings and use a “fast track construction”. By drawing and building in phases it allowed us to adapt the different buildings to fit the environment better. All our construction workers came from the surrounding villages and were some of the hardest working people we had ever come across and were very enthusiastic about building the resort.
And so it began, on October 4th, 2007, when I signed the contract and became owner of a piece of thick thick bush with a pathway in the middle that led to a pretty river. You could not see 5 yards in front of you, the jungle was so dense! Tom, being the adventurous one decided to swim the river to check out the land from down there and that is when he discovered “the point” which is the current location of our dining room. That day was a very exciting day for us.
We started clearing the land in October and kept on going till the end of the year with a crew of about 12 men, all armed with machetes and not much else! We had a campground, a cook, and slowly, we saw the land take on a new life.
In January 2008, we were able to envision the location of the various cabanas and on February 4, we started construction.
I will always be grateful to the fact that Tom, a construction expert in his previous life in the States, is not only the most organized person I have ever met, but he also possesses the amazing quality of being able to learn anything and everything when he has to! That came in really handy, especially when you realize the challenges of building in an area that has no water or electricity and is located in a fairly remote part of the Cayo District. Anyway, learning how to get material, getting familiar with all the suppliers, getting things delivered – to the right place – and getting a crash course in construction 101 turned out to be one of those things I never wanted to do but had to!
We opened Mystic River Resort on December 27th 2008, restaurant and bar only as we could not get a license for the rooms, being Christmas! We finally got all our paperwork in February 2009 and were able to accept our first guests then.
And the rest, as they say, is history…..
Tom and I will sometime sit down over drinks in the evening, and just stare at our accomplishment in disbelief, that a) we did it, b) we did not kill each other while doing it and that c) we actually got married!!
We would also like to warmly thank all our employees, past and present, for making this dream happen. We could not have done it without their help and dedication. We invite you to look through our photo gallery and take a peek at some of our truly memorable moments, and some we would rather forget! But in the end, all combined together to make what Mystic River Resort is today, a true labour of love, and we hope that while staying with us, you will enjoy it as much as we do.
Tom and Nadege Thomas