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“Can't Wait to Return!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Aqua Wellness Resort

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Aqua Wellness Resort
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1 Redonda Bay, Playa Gigante, Nicaragua   |  
Hotel amenities
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Can't Wait to Return!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

My boyfriend and I came to Aqua for a 5 night stay at the end of July and had a fantastic vacation that was both relaxing and adventurous. We found the resort to be a perfect couples retreat and in fact met many couples on their anniversary, honeymoon, or private getaways.

TRANSPORTATION
Flying from Miami to Managua is a tidy 2 hours. From there, it’s a 2-3 hour drive to the resort, depending on the aggressiveness of your driver (who probably won’t speak English). You’ll want to stay awake for the ride if you can – the drive is your best chance to get a view into Nicaraguan life, in both small towns and farmland. Cattle, chickens, horses, and other livestock are ubiquitous, and at times we found ourselves weaving between the herds. As the drive went on, I found myself worrying if we should have made the safer play and visited one of more tried and true Caribbean islands… until the moment we arrived!

ROOMS
The villas are cozy and equipped with all the essentials. Ours came with a plunge pool (a luxury that comes at no extra cost, if available). The bed is very comfortable and the shower provided is spacious and has great water pressure. It was great waking up each morning to a view of the luscious brush of the forest canopy (some villas at the resort have ocean views). WIFI is available. You’ll have to get used to living with a few insects. Once we even saw a small lizard climbing our wall! (It’s the forest – what else would you expect?) Overall, the villas are very pleasant and homey. That’s a very good thing, because there’s not much else to do at night than chill in your room. (For this reason, it’s best to get into the habit of going to sleep early and waking up early.)

FOOD AND WATER
Coming from NYC and being pretty big foodies ourselves, we were not sure what the food would be like, but it definitely went beyond expectations. The chef makes a very conscious effort to use organic, locally sourced ingredients, which added to the overall “freshness” that every meal carried. All the bread is made on site and is fantastic! They even have pizza night twice a week, which was a major highlight. My other favorite dishes were the chicken curry and anything involving pesto. The smoothies and cocktails were also a major hit. We especially enjoyed the Pina Coladas and Aqua signature cocktails.

I know other people have mentioned that the food was overpriced, but we found it to be quite appropriate for the quality of food we were getting in such a remote location.

One of our major concerns was about the safety of the drinking water. However, as the website accurately describes, there is purified water in the rooms, at the restaurant, and the other sites on the resort. Neither my boyfriend nor I ever got sick from food or water, which was a great relief.

BEACH
The beach is undoubtedly the highlight of Aqua. The view of the Pacific from just outside the edge of the forest is breathtaking. Don’t take my word from it - go see the pictures for yourself. What truly makes this beach standout from others is the privacy; wedged in its own cove, out of the view of other nearby resorts. Oftentimes we found ourselves completely alone. One morning, my boyfriend read a book in a (super comfy) hammock from 6 to 9 in the morning without sighting another person. He said "I felt like I was in one of those Corona commercials, staring at the ocean with no one else around, accompanied only by sounds of the ocean. My only complaint would be that the lounge chairs are in desperate want of cushioning."

EXCURSIONS
Part of what makes Aqua so unique is the ability to take day trips and do more adventurous activities while still being able to return to such a relaxing and private oasis. Over the 5 nights we were there, we decided to go on two excursions, which I think was a good amount. The Pia de Gigante hike is beautiful (and inexpensive), but be warned that this is not an easy “walk”, but a medium level hike with rock climbing and maneuvering at parts. The view at the top was spectacular! We also did the Mombacho Volcano and Canopy Tour which included a walk through the rainforest, followed by ziplining through the trees at the foot of the volcano. Our guide, Octavio, was really knowledgeable and made the day quite a learning experience about Nicaragua’s topology. In retrospect, neither of us regret going, but the trip was a bit expensive.

MISC
We had a couples massage and it was absolutely wonderful! Our massage room was located in the treetops with views of the ocean with the warm breeze sweeping in. The wildlife around the resort is really fascinating. Besides the monkeys, we also saw several types of crabs and snakes.

Overall this is a wonderful resort, and we both are looking forward to go back for a second visit!

Room Tip: Get a room with a plunge pool!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (92)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013 via mobile

We were very pleased with our experience at Aqua. Unfortunately we had a short stay at the resort so we did not get to partake in all of the amenities offered. I would have love to indulge on daily complimentary yoga classes and in taking the kayaks out. Our room was clean and the bed was very comfortable. Our casita was perfect. Simple and very clean. They offered us a welcome drink upon arrival which I thought was a nice touch. It definitely is a workout getting to and from the restaurant and the casitas due to the hundreds of stairs. Eco friendly and wonderful.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, Louisiana
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

I was a little nervous about our stay at the resort after reading some of the reviews on here. We got a great deal on jetsetter, so I was hoping it would just be decent for our 4 night stay. It far exceeded all of our expectations.Our villa was spotless and very comfortable. We did not see any bugs in our villa during our stay. It was a hike to the beach and restaurant but was not that bad. The food was outstanding-especially the pizza on pizza night. My other favorite dish was the house salad, everything was fresh and delicious. The staff was friendly and helpful and our tour guide on the zip lining tour was great. The beach was beautiful and very relaxing. Overall a great trip!

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

My husband and I recently visited Aqua where we staying in a luxury tree house. The staff, the surroundings, the accommodations, the food and drink quality, the yoga instruction... everything was second-to-none. One evening, we hiked over to the fishing village in Gigante where we had dinner at Don Cameron's and met some great people. That evening, back at Aqua, a family of monkeys came to our balcony and drank from our pool, while we sat only a few meters away. Beautiful experience!

Room Tip: I don't think there's a bad room on the property!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

Great location! Beautiful beach for swimming or relaxing with a good book. Amazing sunsets.

Rooms were clean, beds were comfortable and the showers warm.

Staff was helpful and helped us coordinate travel from the airport and to our next stop in San Juan Del Sur.

Yoga every morning at 8:30 - our instructor, Amy, was FANTASTIC!

The restaurant was disappointing ... breakfast was good (loved the yogurt and granola), but dinner and lunch menus were limited. They often didn't have many of the items listed, so we found ourselves ordering the same thing over and over. Recommend checking out the restaurants in Gigante for more variety.

Overall a great place to stay if you a looking for a more cushy Nica experience, though was a bit overpriced for what it was.

Room Tip: Rooms by the beach require less steps, however they are a little bit louder as you are near the beac...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management_AQUA, Manager at Aqua Wellness Resort, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Hi Mrswane,

We are glad you enjoyed your stay with us, and hope to see you again in the future!
Thanks for your comments regarding the restaurant. As other guests have noted, we do at times experience problems with the availability of food in our restaurant due to our remote location. During your visit we were also in the process of updating our restaurant menus and providing staff with a series of training sessions to address the new items on our menu and inform guests properly when we do not have a dish available.

One of the main shortage issues was that our previous menu was a bit overly reliant upon ingredients that are at certain times difficult to obtain. AQUA’s new menu does an even better job of utilizing ingredients which can be sourced nearby, minimizing our logistical problems as much as possible. The kitchen staff is also now fully trained in the new menu and updates the wait staff daily on what is out of stock. We are also making our best effort to have a substitute dish available if we are out of something in order to keep our menu as expansive as possible. We look forward to continually improving our restaurant service in the future and appreciate your feedback.

Best Regards,
AQUA Management
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Toronto, Canada
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

This is most of all a great location - fantastic beach and ocean setting, great for swimming, kayaking etc. The jungle setting is also very interesting - birds, crabs, lizards etc...all very cool to see right around your room. The food is also quite good. The staff are lovely and hard working and speak great English. It does, however, have some drawbacks. At every meal at least 2 or 3 things were unavailable (which is not really a problem based on the remote location of this hotel) but the staff MUST be trained to say something like: "Good evening, this evening the following items are unavailable...." Every single meal we would spend 10 minutes looking at the menu, make our decision and then be informed it was not available. It became almost a joke, because half the time, after spending another 5 minutes deciding, our second choice was unavailable as well. Our cabin was INFESTED with ants. We were in the jungle, so this was not all that unexpected, and actually didn't bother us, but I mention it because it may really bother someone else. Each evening we killed hundreds of giant black ants, and lots of smaller ones too (which were sometimes in our bed)....good sport (except when they bite!!). Finally, and everyone else mentions it, we were in a room up a steep hill from the restaurant and beach....and again, it didn't bother us, but I mention it because if you are unwell, unfit, old etc. this is NOT the place for you....you simply couldn't make it to your room. Would I go back - no - but only because I have now been there.....would I recommend this place to my friends....absolutely! (but only to the fit, open minded and adventurous!)

Room Tip: Request close to the beach!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management_AQUA, Manager at Aqua Wellness Resort, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Hi Ericthebee,

Thanks for taking the time to join us! We are extremely proud of our enchanting location and are glad that you had the opportunity to see it firsthand as I’m sure you will agree that words and pictures simply do not do it justice. Our guests always comment on the spectacular views, luxurious mountainside villas, and abundant wildlife (particularly the roaming bands of howler monkeys “mono congos”) here at AQUA.

Thanks for your comments regarding the restaurant. As other guests have noted, we do at times experience problems with the availability of food in our restaurant due to our remote location. During your visit we were also in the process of updating our restaurant menus and providing staff with a series of training sessions to address the new items on our menu and inform guests properly when we do not have a dish available. We look forward to continually improving our restaurant service in the future and appreciate your feedback.

We are also aware of the ant issue that you are speaking of as we had another guest who experienced this situation and promptly let management know of the concern. Although our villas do have some native insect life (i.e. ants) that meander in from the surrounding jungle from time to time, we work very hard to keep them clean and insect free. We treat the outsides of the villas with a non-toxic powder that generally works quite well to keep the insects at bay. Recently we had one villa that experienced the ant issue you are speaking of. Specifically, a colony of ants decided to resettle one of their nests close to the villa and attempt to inhabit the residence as well. We immediately treated the surrounding area, cleaned the villa, and took care of the nest. Additionally, we blocked the villa from the rental pool for 7 days in order to monitor the situation and make sure we would not have any future problems.

We would like to emphasize that your infestation experience was highly uncommon and also let our guests know that if they happen to have a similar occurrence, to please let the front desk know as we will relocate you immediately.

Thanks again and we hope to see you again in the future!

Best Regards,
AQUA Management
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New York City, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

Just came back from staying here for four nights during the New Years holiday with my family. This place is a hidden gem that has yet to be discovered. Although it does have its pros / cons.
First and foremost if you are going to stay at this hotel, be ready to WALK ALOT of stairs and be isolated.

PRO: RELAXATION AT ITS FINEST. You come here to relax and not think about anything else but the beauty and virginity this place beholds.

CON: Being a very well traveled person and addicted to fine dining I must admit that the restaurant needs ALOT of improvement, considering the 'status' Aqua is trying to have of a luxury resort. Half of the time they didn't have something on the menu and it got tiring after 4 days to have such a little variety of meals, not only that but the food was not good quality, (only the breakfast).

PRO:The YOGA was absolutely great it was a lot of meditating/stretching/downward dog etc. you don't have to be a pro to do it which was great and the VIEW was absolutely breathtaking!

CON:This place is absolutely beautiful it just needs a vision of more creativity. They need to have more outdoor activities, maybe a platform in the middle of the bay or even an inflatable water trampoline/slide in the bay for children/teens/adults. They should also have night activities maybe a bonfire night.

CON:Another thing that needs improvement are the beach chairs, laying on those wooden chairs killed my back till I asked the pool guy to bring me some cushions that were randomly thrown somewhere.

PRO: The manager Nathalia was such a sweetheart. She has great energy and is a wonderful person to work with! She definitely made the New Years celebration fun!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management_AQUA, Manager at Aqua Wellness Resort, responded to this review, January 10, 2013
Hi TravelGirl,

Thanks so much for your comments and for taking time to stay with us during your vacation as we most certainly appreciated having you here. You noted a few highlights of your visit including daily yoga atop our open air elevated beach-side platform and relaxing tropical ambiance- we couldn’t agree more!

In regards to the concerns you noted in the restaurant, we invite you to take a look at the above 2 posts for more information regarding what occurred and the steps we have taken to work towards fixing the issues. Our management team is also researching the cost for new beach-side furniture including the evaluation of several different possibilities.

We are glad you enjoyed our unique location in one of the hottest up and coming travel locations. AQUA is indeed a hidden gem but likely won’t remain so too much longer as we continue to enjoy welcoming more and more guests to our site each season. We are also benefiting from a new road that is being built directly to our doorstep which is almost complete and has continued to ease travel time for our guests.

We hope to see you back in the near future and wish you the best of luck with all of your endeavors!

Be Well,
AQUA Management
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Additional Information about Aqua Wellness Resort

Also Known As:
Aqua Wellness Hotel Playa Gigante
Aqua Wellness Hotel
Aqua Wellness Resort Nicaragua/Playa Gigante
Address: 1 Redonda Bay, Playa Gigante, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > Playa Gigante
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 hotels in Playa Gigante
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Aqua Wellness Resort 4*
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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