I really struggled with this review. On one hand, Aqua is lovely. Its location in the canopy is unreal, and the villas are beautiful. The beach is pristine. The spa was outstanding (I was suprised by how much I enjoyed the spa after reading some of the reviews, actually).
On the other, it fell short of meeting our expectations. The overall attenton to detail and service level was lacking. We noticed this immediately upon arrival. The "welcome" at reception was very businesslike... not warm at all (in fact, we felt like we were interrupting the woman who checked us in, she seemed annoyed when we showed up). We did not recieve any explanation or map of the property (which is a bit confusing at first), and we did not receive any literature about the spa or activities (I wrongly assumed that they'd provide this in the rooms). They did not provide cushions on the wood slat deck furniture, so enjoying the beautiful deck and outstanding view proved to be very uncomfortable.
The beach furniture was similarily poor. The chase lounges didn't have cushions and were almost unbearably uncomfortable... and there were very few of them to begin with. Several hammocks had huge holes, making them impossible to use. And many of the other seats (made of rope) had holes or were frayed. I of course realize that Aqua is not a 5-star retreat in a developed nation, so I don't expect service that you'd get at a Aman Resort or a Four Seasons... but for the money we paid, I do expect furniture that is comfortable and usable.
As for the restaurant and bar, we thought it was good. We didn't experience poor service like other reviewers seemed to have. The restaurant and bar staff we had were fine and attentive. The food was also fine -- not outstanding but certainly not bad.
The bottom line is that we did enjoy our time at Aqua. It's a beautiful spot. But, we wouldn't recommend it to others unless some of the issues are addressed. Not to sound strange, but it felt like Aqua was missing a "soul" or is suffering from an identity crisis.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Aqua is a luxurious eco- and wellness resort with a private white-sand beach on Nicaragua's picturesque Emerald Coast. Guest accommodations are set in beautifully crafted Tree Houses on a wooded hillside overlooking the ocean. All have decks; some have full kitchens and outdoor plunge pools. Guests enjoy yoga classes, spa treatments and hiking, and water activities including stand-up paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, surfing and fishing. Our guides take guests for excursions to nearby colonial cities, parks and volcanoes. Aqua's open-air bar/lounge and restaurant, with its wood-burning pizza oven and menu of healthy international cuisine made with local ingredients, are directly adjacent to the beach. The lush forest that envelops Aqua is alive with spider and howler monkeys, and a wide variety of colorful tropical birds. Aqua is the perfect spot for a destination wedding, a honeymoon, an active family vacation -- or a serene getaway where you can enjoy nature and one of the most idyllic beaches in Nicaragua. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Aqua Wellness Hotel Playa Gigante
- Aqua Wellness Resort Nicaragua/Playa Gigante