From Dallas to Belize, the Montgomerys have worked hard to accomplish their dreams.
Brian and Brenda Montgomery were childhood sweethearts who married right out of high school. In 1987, they moved to Longview, Texas, and later relocated to North Dallas. They built successful careers, and started a family.
After becoming disillusioned with his career, Brian took the leap to start a company. Sadly, just as it began to thrive, he was diagnosed with stage 4 of a rare, aggressive form of a blood cancer, similar to acute leukemia. The couple fought for Brian’s life, and finally he had a successful bone marrow transplant in 2003.
The battle changed the pair’s focus – they went from workaholics to family-first business owners, ultimately selling their company in 2013 with a commitment to travel and relaxation. That commitment led the Montgomery’s to Belize.
In 2016, they built a vacation home in Placencia, which turned out to be the start of their “together project” – building a legacy in their luxury resort, Sirenian Bay Resort & Villas. It is there that they encourage memories, new experiences, and togetherness in a way that guests have been known to describe as “unforgettable.”
We caught up with these hardworking Texans via email to learn more about their journey to paradise.
What inspired you to open a resort in Belize?
We had dreams of building a vacation home on the beach to enjoy retirement. Our travels took us to Belize, and we fell in love with the country and the people. Belize fit everything we were looking for: beautiful beaches, unbelievable scenery, awesome people, great food and—a big plus—-Belize is an English-speaking country.
It wasn’t long before we discovered that a relaxing retirement was not for us. Before we knew it, we had turned our home into a vacation rental, purchased and renovated the existing home right behind it, and purchased the land surrounding our original lot. And the vision of Sirenian Bay Resort & Villas was born.
Can you tell us about the newer parts of the resort?
Opened in January 2020, there are seven buildings that house twelve bungalows—-and no two units are alike. They are one and two-story buildings, with two handicap accessible rooms, various sized living areas, one with a balcony plunge pool, many with outdoor showers, each with unique decorations. The only common features are king-size beds with Tempur-Pedic mattresses, smart TVs in all areas, Wi-Fi, and Amazon Alexas.
Before that, in 2018, we’d opened Inky’s Mini Golf, Restaurant and Bar. The mini golf is an 18-hole, professionally-designed course –the only one of its kind in Belize. The restaurant and bar offer open-air dining with a full bar overlooking the course. It’s been fun to introduce the local community to mini golf! We’ve hosted a tournament and several parties.
What upcoming projects do you have?
Future plans include a gym, yoga studio, a new Med Spa to extend our Wellness Services, and a conference room housed in an existing two-story building that is undergoing renovation. We’re excited about the Sunset Martini Bar – an open-air bar on the rooftop which will offer incredible views of the Maya Mountains in the west and the Caribbean Sea in the east.
We also recently purchased a five-acre island off the coast of Placencia that will offer guests a private island feel once construction is completed in 2021.
What can guests expect when they visit your resort?
A welcoming smile and five-star customer service. All of our guests say ‘wow’ when they arrive. Our favorite comment is, “The pictures don’t do it justice.” We pride ourselves on creating an atmosphere where guests feel comfortable, pampered and at home.
How are you adjusting business practices during the pandemic?
Like for everyone else, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a major disruption. We had to close the resort, spa, mini golf and restaurant. But, we are looking at the positives.
We maintained almost 80% of our employees by reassigning their duties. We have focused on the things that will make Sirenian Bay even better when it’s time for guests to return. We had to change the way we do things and we are looking now to the future, including how we will adjust cleaning schedules to ensure Sirenian Bay remains a safe place to visit.
Is there anything else you want our readers to know?
We love Texas –it will always be home, but Belize has become our second home. It’s friendly, hot, and not all that different from Texas.
A lot of people think Belize is an exotic location that’s hard to get to. In reality, it’s only about a 2 1/2-hour flight from Dallas, and it’s easy to get here from just about anywhere in Texas with regular flights from Dallas and Houston. In fact, Texas ranks high in visitors to Belize annually.
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Cover photo courtesy Sirenian Bay Resort & Villas
Gracie Watt is the Digital Intern at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and a sophomore at St. Edward’s University in Austin, studying Journalism. When she’s not writing, Watt enjoys singing, playing the guitar and doing volunteer work. @gracie.whatt