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“Potentially Good Spot Ruined by Missteps” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa

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Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   De la Parroquia 1 1/2 cuadras al este, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua   |  
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Ranked #11 of 21 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
New Orleans, Louisiana
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Potentially Good Spot Ruined by Missteps”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2014

The signs leading to this location tout views of paradise from paradise. The rooms and villas nestled on the hills of San Juan del Sur give sweeping views of the beach, the town and some spectacular sunsets. The hotel has an inviting registration area an main dining room. It has a solid bar, a separate “family” pool, ad a spa. There are all the elements of a world class resort, but the execution is where all things fell apart.

In spite of having reservations, on arrival I was informed the hotel was oversold. I received an upgrade for 2 of the 3 nights of my stay and told I would move rooms for the final night of my stay. This was not ideal, but the inconvenience initially seemed addressed by the room upgrade and a complimentary dinner or massage. However, once I packed to move to my new room, I was informed they planned to move me off property. There are not very many developed options for lodging in that town, and one of my traveling companions had been mugged the evening prior off properly, so this was and unacceptable surprise. I was pressured to accept this arrangement as I sat at the pool hot, tired, sweaty and dirty from a recant excursion by a parade of managers. When I held firm, I was given lodging for the evening in the spa which they converted to a room. The spa was not properly cleaned, had no access to a safe, and did not have a television, thus it was a very marginal substitute for the standard of living the hotel pricing requires.

Aside from the major reservations snag, there are some safety issues. First, the property is full of beautiful scenic stairs going between rooms and property attractions. The lighting on these stairs is turned off in the night and is not properly maintained in the day. Thus, I had a nasty fall and bruised my left knee. Second, the cleaning team was slow, incomplete and at times absent such that room maintenance was not satisfactory. Finally, I had a 3:30 am departure on my final morning on property to get to the airport in Managua. I called the front desk, as instructed to get assistance moving my luggage from my room (down all those steep, unlit steps) to the front desk area. There was no answer as the night staffer was asleep on the floor behind the desk. June 1, 2014, I had to walk down to the front desk in the dark and awaken the sleeping staff to meet my departure ride.

The suites are truly beautiful with lovely amenities and great potential. It is a tropical area so it is wise to check shoes and beds for insects before getting into them. But, as much as I wanted to like the solid food at the restaurant, the cheery waiters at the pool/bar, and the beautiful views, it was a poor experience and I cannot say enough to make sure all are aware that this gem can become a germ in the blink of an eye.

Room Tip: The Pacifica Suite is the closest to the lodge (fewest steps) and the front entrance with spectacula...
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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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474 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 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 (106)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
san francisco, ca
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2014

Upon arrival, the hotel learned we were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. The assistant manager moved us to an upper level villa with panoramic views from the bedroom and from the large balcony for our entire stay. Accommodations were spacious and bright. At breakfast, waiters bent over backwards to provide the best service and offered food items we might enjoy but were not on the menu. Staff members were friendly and helpful. Their restaurant recommendations were spot on. El Colibri was outstanding and reasonably priced; the sangria is a must. Try the gelato shop near the beach. The walks to/from town were perfect exercise after a meal. The expansive grounds are beautifully landscaped with indigenous plants and gorgeous bougainvillea. We enjoyed the three pools but preferred the spectacular views from the upper ones. We felt safe everywhere we went, in town and at the hotel. We saw discretely placed security guards throughout the property, providing guests with additional protection and peace of mind. We cannot wait to return to Pelican Eyes and San Juan del Sur.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Hawthorne, Florida
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2014

Thanks to Groupon, we were able to afford a stay at Pelican Eyes, which would normally be too exorbitant for our budget. The setting is various villa-type dwellings on the side of a hill overlooking San Juan del Sur and the ocean. We had a large room on one side of a villa. The room was air-conditioned and had a ceiling fan. The bathroom was fabulously large with a nice hot-to-cold water shower. We had some guys move in next door who were a bit loud at first, but the biggest problem was a light that shines through a thick glass porthole in the wall. Fortunately, they were there for only one night. Also, on weekends the resort opens to everyone. There are pool parties which can get pretty loud. We were near the top of the hill, and we could call for a driver who was always there pronto. He would take us down to the main building/restaurant. From there, we walked downtown. All of the employees we came in contact with were genuinely friendly. We had many brief, but interesting conversations with them. At the restaurant, our favorite morning meal was the gallo pinto (savory beans and rice) and fried cheese. We stayed at Pelican Eyes for a week, but could have stayed much longer. We are hoping for another Groupon in the future so that we can return.

Room Tip: If you don't rent an entire house, check to find out if you will have guests next door, whether...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2014

My husband & I purchased a Groupon for 5 nights at Pelican Eyes. We arrived at the resort and were greeted by friendly (English speaking) staff. They drove us to our villa as the grounds are extremely expansive on a mountainside. The driver was friendly & chatty. He briefed us on the grounds & showed us the walking path from our villa to the main lobby. The grounds were lush & tropical. The resort sits above the town of San Juan del Sur which I initially thought would make for a laborious trip into town. I learned that the walk outside the resort gates is only about 5 minutes to the heart of San Juan & about 10 min walk to the San Juan del Sur bay (& beach). In hindsight this is the perfect location for the resort because undoubtedly it has THE most spectacular view in all of San Juan. If you're out of shape or find stairs to be a hassle you may want to ask for a lower level room. We attempted to count the steps from the entrance of the resort to our villa & stopped counting after 400. The resort does offer a ride to your casa if you ask but it seemed like an inconvenience for the staff just because we were too lazy to work off our dinner. They were always willing to give us a ride however and never seemed bothered by the idea of shuttling their guests. Our first full day we planned to spend it on the beach down at the bay but we quickly abandoned that plan after finding gale force winds and not the best views. We returned to the resort where we learned there were actually THREE pools. We started at the lower pool right in the middle of the lower restaurant. I wasn't crazy about swimming in the middle of the open air dining room so we hustled up the steps to another pool. The views here were beautiful & half the poolside was covered with a pergola with gorgeous vines shading it. We set up camp there before we heard laughter above us. We found where it was coming from & were shocked to find yet ANOTHER pool right above us. This pool also had a bar and restaurant where the staff kindly made constant trips offering drinks or food. We were astonished at the amazing views from this pool. So much so that we never even made it to the beaches in the area. We had gorgeous views, cool water, and all the poolside service we could hope for. What more could a gal ask for? Beware the margaritas there though- our daily waiter offered me a top shelf tequila (I dont remember what the name was) & halfway through I found myself passed out poolside! They will definitely sneak up on you but they are delicious. Speaking of delicious- THE BEST GUACAMOLE EVER! My husband doesn't even like guac & consented it was the best he had ever tried & even took to ordering some on our trips up to the bar. To this day he will still mention how he wishes he had some of that delicious guacamole. Our room was clean & spacious. I'd read reviews on this site before we arrived & some people stated the rooms were dark, cavernous, & unwelcoming. I'm not sure what casas they were staying in but ours was floor to ceiling glass windows that made for bright rooms & authentic looking thatched room huts. Thankfully they have air conditioning for those of us less accustomed to the high temps. There are large spacious patios with monumental views & beautiful wooden lounge chairs. We spent countless hours just staring at the views & wishing we could stay forever. The bathroom in the casa was all tile & included an open aired shower with rainfall shower head. I've always thought I would want a rainfall shower head until I showered here. It was relaxing but there's not a lot of water pressure for rinsing out shampoo, etc. That's not even a complaint though! In fact, I have no complaints about this place. My only complaint about the whole trip is that we didn't have enough time here. I never return to the same places on my travels but Pelican Eyes is one I would reconsider visiting & would definitely recommend to anyone.

Sidenote: The food at the hotel is delicious & a bit more expensive than most places in town but not unreasonable. The only downside is a limited menu. You can find some great deals outside the resort gates also though. I highly recommend El Colibri (the hummingbird) right outside the gates. If you walk to the front gate of the resort, hang a left & its a block or two down on your left. The atmosphere alone makes it worth the trip but the food is phenomenal too.

Room Tip: Make sure you visit all 3 pools- the top level has the best views in San Juan del Sur
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2014

We stayed at this property for 2 nights at the beginning of May 2014 and really, this is a hotel i would not recommend to anyone. I am surprised at the great reviews. We were travelling with a 10 month old baby (4 adults plus baby).

The views are beautiful, no doubt.

We stayed at Casa Pacifica. Nice private terrace, wonderful views, pretty quiet as well. But no blackout in the bedrooms so don´t plan on relaxing in bed and sleeping till late if the brightness is an issue for you. The house is full of bugs, ants, etc. They got into our luggage, clothes, diapers.

DON´T GO TO THIS HOTEL IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING WITH A BABY.

There is no changing station in the lobby or in any of the hotel bathrooms. We got in early and the room was not ready, but the receptionist offered no options, no help to change our baby in a comfortable area. (Even at El Timon restaurant downtown, there is a changing station!)

They set up a play pen for our daughter, but no mattress. No crib is fine, but not having a $10 mattress to use in this play pen is just beyond my understanding. We used the bed covers to make a little nest for the baby and there were no additional blankets in the closets.

Mattresses are linens are okay. Definitely not for a room paying $400 a night.

Waiters at the restaurants are very nice and try their best. Kuddos to them.

Food is okay, and expensive. You are better off going to town for dinner or lunch. Breakfast was included and we were fine with it. Nothing spectacular, and slow service, but not bad.

The spa is just a simple room with a curtain a nice guy giving massages. I had one, and it was okay. Erick gets an A for his effort.

When we checked out, they tried to charge me $100 more per night plus breakfast even though it was included. They said the reservation person made a mistake. Had i not had the email printed out showing that breakfast and taxes were included in the rate i mentioned, i would have been screwed and overpaid for this terrible hotel.

Overall, it is a very expensive hotel for what they offer. I asked for the manager a couple of times to try to meet hm, but he was not available. He did call our room, at 3pm one day, right after we got in from the beach, and woke up our baby. Nice timing.

Maybe if you are travelling with your spouse, it would be a better experience.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Madison, Wisconsin
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2014

The hotel is lovely and the view cannot be beat. The casa rooms are indeed very house-like with tons of storage space and decorated very artfully. The pool nearest our hotel room was closed often for private events. And the walk to the front of the property is long. We got a ride once, but the driver made fun of us and said it was "two meters." It was more like a half-mile plus up a winding hill and I had a heel injury. But I walked it the rest of our stay.

The staff -- especially the restaurant staff and housekeeping -- were very kind. The rooms were clean and giants would have had enough room in the spacious interior. The beach itself in San Juan del Sur was nothing special -- much better beaches to the south and north. This place was gorgeous, but I might try something different if I went back closer to one of the other beaches. Still, our family was very happy to be here.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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London
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2014

What a lovely place. The staff is friendly (especially in the bar right at the top), the rooms are nice and the views are beautiful. Only slightly let down by the building work outside our room - but we were right on the fence line and if we had a room further up, I am sure we would not even have known about it.

Room Tip: We were right on the fence line (bottom corner) which was a bit noise. Try to get a room higher up.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa

Address: De la Parroquia 1 1/2 cuadras al este, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Phone Number:
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#6 Romantic Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#9 On the Beach Hotel in San Juan del Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Pelican Eyes Resort and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 65
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa offers a stunning hillside location and panoramic views of San Juan del Sur and the ocean beyond. Our infinity pools, spacious accommodations, romantically lush gardens, wonderful restaurants, open air bars, and one-of-a-kind San Juan Del Sur coastline sailing adventure are a unique experience.A visit to our Tranquila Day Spa is an experience of sheer indulgence. We offer a menu of massage and body treatments to ensure that you truly relax on your romantic Nicaraguan getaway. Experience more of Nicaragua with day trips to Granada or the artisan markets in Masaya. Here at the resort, open air yoga classes, water aerobics, and active local excursions (arranged by our concierge) help keep you fit while visiting paradise. Even our brick stairs—winding up the hillside — contribute to the cause!Our San Juan del Sur hotel’s mission is to provide a unique and memorable Nicaragua vacation experience in every aspect of your stay. Our friendly staff endeavors to fulfill every possible need or special request (and to predict those wishes perhaps not yet even realized!)No request is too big or too small. Let us know what we can do to enhance your stay in paradise. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pelican Eyes Hotel San Juan Del Sur
Hotel Pelican Eyes
Resort Pelican Eyes
Pelican Eyes Resort And Spa Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

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