My wife and I spent 4 nights at Aqua in early March and came away very impressed with the natural setting and eco-friendly ambitions of the resort. There were a few minor annoyances that can be attributed to “growing pains” for a new resort and issues that can be easily fixed. And considering the spring specials they are running right now (40%+ off standard rates), I feel that we received very good value for our money. I just hope we can afford to come back one day!
Like most guests, we flew into Managua and the resort arranged for a private driver from Aqua to meet us and take us the ~2 hours down to the resort. It is paved most of the way, with the last 15 minutes on a dirt road. It looked like a few guests had rented cars, but for a truly stress-free trip, we’d recommend setting up a transfer from the airport through the hotel or another private vendor. As for the stay itself:
- Beautiful setting on a private bay with a spacious beach. Each of the villas has been built along a wooded hill with varying views of the beach. The quality of the wood and craftsmanship in the buildings is comparable to any 5* eco-resort.
- Amazing beds. I think they were some kind of tempurpedic mattress, but it was an unexpected treat.
- Great food that is locally sourced. Fantastic coffee and fresh juices.
- Probably the most impressive yoga studio/platform I have ever seen. Right on a cliff overlooking the water.
- Watching a family of monkeys in the trees while sitting on my deck and watching the sun set was a truly unparalleled experience.
- Continuing construction of the last 5 or 6 villas on the property: It is really not an issue from most places on the resort (beach, restaurant, yoga studio), and no construction is done on the weekends or in the morning, but there were a few times when our villa was alarmingly close to quite a bit of activity. The resort manager was helpful in redeploying this activity away from our room, but I imagine these issues will persist until the resort is 100% complete (probably just a few more months?)
- Wellness offerings: There are really only 5 yoga sessions offered each week – all at 7:30 am. We were expecting some more flexibility and options, considering how Aqua has chosen to brand itself, but expanded options will probably happen as more guests arrive.
- Food availability: I know that “locally sourced” means that not all food on a menu can be guaranteed daily, but not having a “fish of the day” option for 2 straight days? That is just poor planning, considering the abundance of local fisherman in Gigante just up the coast.
- Guest Services: There was just not much of a presence from any resort manager or employee. No one walking along beach. No water or towels being offered. (My wife would have gladly forked over cash all week at the beach for those delicious rum drinks!) When it was time to check out, I had to carry my bags up to the reception (no small feat – considering the 200+ stairs from our villa on the beach)
However, it is easy to sense the ambition and commitment the owners/managers have to the property and I fully expect all of theses issues to be addressed in time. We kept feeling that we beat Conde Nast or the Ny Times to this resort. Check it out now before the rest of the world hears about this gem.
- Also Known As:
- Aqua Wellness Hotel Playa Gigante
- Aqua Wellness Hotel
- Aqua Wellness Resort Nicaragua/Playa Gigante
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are a luxury eco-resort with a focus on wellness. The yoga platform overlooks our private beach in protected Redonda bay. Accommodations are well appointed luxury treetop villas built with a dramatic vantage over the bay, full kitchens, private plunge pools, teak + Balinese showers and wraparound decks. ... more less
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