Though I had read a lot of reviews and had heard first hand that there are a lot of stairs to contend with, somehow I wasn't prepared (even though I normally climb 80 flights on the escalator every other day)!
That said, the beach is worth every last step! It is a fabulous beach, even if there is a lack of shade. There are kayaks and snorkel gear and stand up paddle and helpful staff at the beach. The beach and water are perfectly clean and safe, based on my snorkeling and kayaking around. The waves aren't big and the shore break is seldom scary. I can hardly imagine seeing a beach quite so beautiful. This can also be said of Playa Amarillo and Playa Colorado which are a short drive away (the hotel can arrange transport).
The first night, we stayed in the Aracari Penthouse, which had fabulous views, but was a serious workout to get down to the beach and the restaurant. We decided against dinner due to the stairs. Though we contemplated moving to another hotel, Aqua was able to accommodate us in a beach front villa instead which eased our decision to stay a few more nights at Aqua.
The front desk and staff are excellent during the day --really can't say enough nice things about their help wrt groceries, Gigante town, etc. The night staff is a different story -- we felt a bit lost going into Playa Gigante one evening during Semana Santo. I felt that the day-manager probably would have advised against it. The night-manager was helpful to arrange transport, but didn't mention that most restaurants were closed and that nearly everyone (i do mean nearly everyone) was drunk.
Still would recommend this resort. We took a boat tour and got the full appreciation of what it means to be an eco-friendly resort. Aqua's villas did not get built at the expense of every tree in it's path. In fact, there are many monkeys that still inhabit the trees around the resort. On our boat tour, we noticed another resort not too far away that had leveled every tree in sight. It brought tears to my eyes to see a golf course and a row of palm trees lining the beach and hardly any tourists to be seen (probably because of the hefty room rate, which i am told is roughly $800 per night). Aqua is something special in it's location and commitment to the environment.
My only recommendation is that they advise guests when they have pizza night! The pizza is very good and made in their own wood fired oven. Who would've guessed!
- 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