spend your travel dollars elsewhere - you can get so much more of all Nicaragua has to offer, for a lot less!!
this place looks real nice from the website and touts themselves as a luxury resort - they are not!
more like a gild facade of a co op with appealing rental cabins attempting to be a hotel with no hospitality experience... a nice location for one or two nights but still way overpriced for what you get and what is readily available in Nicaragua
I came for a retreat that ended up being more work that I imagined it could be,
with 30+ other guests on the property you would think that management of a fancy resort would be thrilled and well prepared to fulfill every guests need...
when arrived, I was injured - this was not taken into account nor any effort made to change our accommodations to the cabinas closer to the beach (besides supplying, upon request, some tape and gauze for my injured foot)
we where housed in one of the top cabins, on the property line close to this cabina there was paved road with fancy houses just above it, and even though we had an inroom safe but we still became somewhat concerned of our safety and belongings as no windows were secured and there was regular traffic on this road beside our cabina - later in the week some guests had to deal with an attempted robbery while walking a trail back to Aqua
reception offered no map and no guide to our room, we wandered around and got lost twice, then went back to reception in order to take a photo of the framed architectual drawings of the property, to use as our map - the cabina was nice, lots of wood and good appliances
there are an immense lot of stairs
and no golf cart to take you down/up the hill - which would be classified as an upscale resort item
- Costa Rica has been using carts in resorts on hills for 20+ years
so if you are taking a retreat or training and you are staying in the upper cabins you will be quite quickly exahusted
they give you a cell phone because there are no phones in the rooms, but no numbers to contact the other members of your group or other cabins, only reception and the restaurant - the cell quickly ran out of minutes after calling these two locations and of course you have to walk down stairs and a ways back to reception in order to get the phone refilled and then they only give you a few more minutes
when we arrived to our cabina there was only one king sized bed, which I found a bit shocking
Aqua made the assumption that my sister and would enjoy sleeping together for 6 nights
we were not notified of any sleeping arrangements like this prior to arrival
when I requested sofa to be made up as a bed, even after 3 times, it didn't happen
even in the cheapest hostel, you get your own bed!
then we find out later in the week, that other people were in the same situation, some who were strangers! huge indiscretion from a real hotel business viewpoint
there was a lot of construction work happening on the same property, more cabinas being built while we were in meditation and yoga practice - hammers, saws, power tools, vehicles - I saw 3 men hand mixing cement (which is illegal in most countries as it burns the skin) knowing workers are often paid less than $2 per hour, this reeked of slave labour - the fact that construction was not paused while a such large group of guests are onsite shows the greed factor of a fraudulent 'wellness' charade
the food quality offered to 'retreat' guests was very poor and repetitive
but when ordering off the menu of the ' restaurant ' which shared the same kitchen
the difference was astoundingly better but overpriced
we paid additional $200 for food on top of the listed week fee of an outrageous $1595
the bathrooms below yoga deck we always locked, so one had to either pee in the bushes and risk being seen by other guests, or walk a ways back to the restaurant to use the toilets there, taking you away from precious practice time with the teacher,
after 5 days these toilets began to reek of back up sewage
no where were there any signs not to place toilet paper or hygienic products down the tubes,
another common notice and practice in Costa Rican businesses for many years
one of the new managers, Natalia, was very beautiful, energetic and bubbly but that too seemed to be an act as she was only available the first and last day of the 'retreat' - I left messages trying to contact her as well as emailed through this service - TripAdvisor - to talk with Trevor (on day 3 of the retreat I was already dissatisfied with the food and sleeping arrangements) I was contacted by someone I didn't know and my emails just got shuffled around, there was some discussion with Natalia and yoga retreat facilitators on the last day, but we only heard excuses, passing of blame, attempted manipulation and lack on knowledge,
there was no offering of resolution nor taking responsibility for the dissatisfaction of myself and sister for this all inclusive 'retreat' package
I notified Aqua of my needs and hopes of enjoyment in staying there weeks prior to attending, also that I would be passing my birthday there, sadly no attempt from the hotel, whatsoever, was made to ensure my week stay there was extra special - these people need a reality check - I wouldn't ever go back
- 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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- Also Known As:
- Aqua Wellness Hotel Playa Gigante
- Aqua Wellness Resort Nicaragua/Playa Gigante