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“Good hotel” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Villas de Palermo Hotel & Resort

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Villas de Palermo Hotel & Resort
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Carreterra San Juan del Sur, km 139, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua   |  
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Ranked #7 of 21 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Good hotel”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2014

Great hotel for the price. Very cleaned villa, i suggest you take the deluxe villa, more stuff for cookings and much more decorated! Staff that works at the reception and the security are very friendly but the womend at the reception are not. Manager always hidding from clients! Restaurant is good but not to many choices.

Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillasdePalermo, Director of Sales at Villas de Palermo Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, May 19, 2014
Thank you for your review. We are pleased to hear you enjoyed your recent stay. Our general manager lives on site and is always available. For future reference just ask the reception to contact the GM if needed. Our chef is always working to improve our restaurant menu with local ingredients.
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169 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    116
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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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (47)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2014

Let me preface this review by mentioning I have over 20 years experience in the hotel and restaurant industry. So I'm very reticent to slag a property for minor issues. I took offence to some of the one star reviews on Trip Advisor. They were petulant and childish and didn't take into account some of the fantastic attributes of Palermo. However most people have 'value based expectations'. If they're paying very little their expectations aren't very high. If they pay a lot the opposite curve applies. Palermo isn't cheap by local standards and my expectations as a guest were quite high.

I was staying at less than deluxe accommodations for a while and thought I'd treat myself by staying at Palermo. I'm no slouch in the kitchen so I was hoping to cook up a storm. The views are insanely beautiful with the entirety of the San Juan del Sur Bay. The villas are beautifully finished with air conditioning, full fridge and kitchen, cable TV, ceiling fans, wifi and the list goes on. The property itself is built into the side of the hill right in the jungle. With regards to the hike to the room, it can get quite steep. I enjoyed the hike as a good bit of exercise to work off the very tasty Tona beer. People with mobility problems should request some of the lower numbered villas. The reception was warm and welcoming and they needlessly upgraded my room. Which was nice but I was solo and the two bedroom was much too big for me. Not that I'm complaining over that. It was a great villa. I was driven up to my villa which was very nice touch.

The main problem I had was an ant infestation. Without any phones in the rooms I had to hike down the hill to appraise the management of the problem. Which they addressed swiftly by sending someone up with some bug spray. This didn't really do much to alleviate the three different types of ants. These brought in some sizable spiders, roaches and geckos. There are quite easy ways to stop the jungle food chain from getting into the rooms. A small sweep on the bottom of the doors or a screen would stop most. Also cinnamon or peppermint oil across the threshold would stop the ants from following the chemical trails they use to follow each other. Not only does this add a pleasing smell to the rooms but avoids toxic chemicals that are not good for staff or guests. Alternately a chalk line on the threshold can accomplish the same thing.
As previously mentioned, part of the reason I booked at Palermo is that they have a full beautiful kitchen. Sadly, I didn't do a lot of cooking there because of the pest problem. I did not want to exacerbate the already existing critter problem by inadvertently feeding them. So that was a disappointment.
The fridge was not turned on when I arrived. A visual check of the villas should be implemented prior to guests arrival and a checklist to make sure everything is up to the high standards of the hotel. Again a trek down to the reception but it was promptly handled. Perhaps some walkie talkies in the rooms to contact reception might be an idea. Plus they'd be fun to use for the guests. Most people have cell phones but I left mine at home.
The hourly shuttles and drivers were great. Make sure you tip them and they'll be your best friend in SJDS. They can also pick you up in town if you give them sufficient notice. I would, however, suggest increasing the hours to around 8 o'clock p.m. from the (I believe 8-6) existing hours to accommodate people going to SJDS for dinner. If I go back to Palermo I would rent a car in SJDS to make it easier to shop and get into town. The taxis back were between 4 and 6 dollars for the 3 km. back to the property. Perfect for those nights when you want to enjoy a few frosty cold Tonas.

The pool was fantastic. Nice and cool and spotlessly clean. The view from the pool can't be beat. Perhaps a few more shady areas for the pasty white gringos like myself. The restaurant service was good and the food although slightly pricey for the area was also, pretty good. There are people who make the trip up from town just to have a bite and hang in the pool. Its that nice.
I would think a small corner store with water, beer and snacks would be a excellent idea for the management to start up. A great way to keep guests spending their Cordobas at the property. This would create more revenue for the hotel.
The wifi was pretty good. Only had a few times it went out. You shouldn't be on the internet much anyways. Its too beautiful around SJDS!

Some of the staff speak excellent English and other languages. Some only speak Spanish. This is not by way of complaint as Nicaragua is a Spanish speaking country. I can't fault anyone but myself over my poor native language skills. However the manager should also think about helping the staff by funding foreign language courses as part of their pay. This would be great for the guests like myself who's poor Spanish keeps conversation confusing for both myself and the recipient of my terrible pronunciation. It would also give them much more opportunities on the employment front, later on in their careers. Not really relevant to this review but I'm going to take more Spanish courses! Such a beautiful language and culture.

Overall this hotel is a diamond in the rough. With a few small tweaks it could be the premier Hotel in the area. It could blow away much more expensive properties and keep it humming at full occupancy. The minor disappointment is that for the price (relative to the scales of economy for the area) the guest ends up expecting more.

Room Tip: Ask for a lower numbered room if you have mobility problems. Otherwise enjoy the hike! Its great exe...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
VillasdePalermo, Director of Sales at Villas de Palermo Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, March 26, 2014
Thanks for your response. We'll work on your suggestions and hope that you consider Villas de Palermo for a return visit in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

The staff here is the best! Everyone has been so helpful. It's nice to be a out of the "goings on" in town, yet close enough to walk in (about a 30 min walk, downhill) and a $2 US ride back to the Villa. Food is great, pool is relaxing. Everything has been clean and well cared for, both the villa and the grounds.

If I had to say anything negative, it would be that there are not enough ceiling fans in the villa. The bedroom downstairs has the only one. If I had designed it, each bedroom and the living room would have one. However, I would definitely stay here again!

Room Tip: We are staying in the 2nd row from the bottom, at the end closest to the undeveloped area. We'v...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillasdePalermo, Director of Sales at Villas de Palermo Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, February 26, 2014
We are very pleased to hear that you are enjoying your stay at Villas de Palermo. Thanks for taking the time to leave a response on Trip Advisor.
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Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2014

This was one of the nicest resorts i've ever stayed at.

They picked us up at the Nicaragua border and it took more time than we thought but our driver waited for 2 1/2 hrs. We were sure he wouldn't be there but he was and we were soo happy!!!
The rooms, pool, transportation, staff, everything was amazing!!

  • Stayed February 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
VillasdePalermo, Director of Sales at Villas de Palermo Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, February 23, 2014
We are so pleased to hear that you enjoyed your visit to Villas de Palermo. We hope to see you again the future!
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Whitehorse
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 15, 2014

I just read SPA1968's review which is mostly off the mark. Who cares about a back-up generator and no, the staff are not rude just not well-trained. I am staying here for a month in unit #39. It is the second time in two years. We are back because it is one of the best places in San Juan, definitely in the top five.

The good: We love the views, the shared pool and restaurant (food is excellent this year compared to 2013), the design of the houses, the tranquility and proximity to town: close enough but not in the mess of things. The natural setting around Palermo is soothing. I recommend you walk the trails and try the zip line located above the resort. It is inexpensive: $1500 for a one month house rental. Where can you find that? Great WiFi service available everywhere. The staff are wonderful particularly the house cleaners, gardeners, and gate keepers. This is why we have come back: we love the warmth of Nicaraguans.

The not so good: The bar staff are not well-trained as bartenders. They don't know how to properly serve customers. I suspect it has more to do with training than anything else. They seem to just hang around a lot when they could be asking customers if they need anything or cleaning up the pool deck of towels, empty cups, etc. They seem to always run out of pool towels and the change rooms are a little dark. The landscaping looks a little tired. More flowering shrubs in key areas would go a long way. The lighting around the pool is a little harsh...could be way softer. The houses have no brooms to sweep up.

These are mostly minor things. Overall, this is incredible value for the money in a wonderful country. If you are here for more than a few days, I suggest renting a car so you can visit the many beaches north and south of SJDS.

Room Tip: The houses higher up are the quietest and have the best views of SJDS and the ocean.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 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.
VillasdePalermo, Director of Sales at Villas de Palermo Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, January 19, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write a service review. We are pleased to have you return to Villas de Palermo. We are constantly striving to improve our restaurant and the quality of our service. Great to hear that you notice the quality of the food in the restaurant has improved. We'll continue to work on our bar service. Daily maid service is available which is the reason why you won't find brooms in the villas. We hope you enjoy the rest of your stay and visit again in the future.
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Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2014 via mobile

Very disappointing place. They don't have the minimum infrastructure for the place they are located. During my stay electricity went off several times and they don't have an emergency generator, the managers have no idea how to deal with guests, they are rude, unprofessional and mediocre. The general manager was never around, or he was hiding from the many angry guests looking for him. Maintenance is a word they don't know at all. The gardens were very bad, bushes all over the place, painting deteriorating, severe problems with air conditioning and hot water, lobby hardly ever answered the phone when there were problems and the emergency phone for the night was never answered. Many people that came with me had the same problems, one had to sleep the first day without A/C because nobody answered their requests to fix it until the next day.

Organization of year's end event was disappointing to say the least, and the manager absolutely mediocre in his decisions even with the band playing that night.

It's really a place I'd never return to.

Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillasdePalermo, Director of Sales at Villas de Palermo Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, January 6, 2014
We are very sorry to hear about the frustrations during your recent visit. During your stay there was there was a regional wide electricity black out which caused most of our resort to be without power and also impacted the bands ability to play at the event. This was not a problem unique to our resort but it impacted the entire city. We have a manager on staff at the hotel every day and our concierge office is open every day from 7am until 10pm. For emergencies the security office is open 24 hours a day. It is possible that the incorrect number was dialed. In any event, we apologize the disappointment that you experienced and assure you that this is not the norm.
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Winnipeg
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2013

We rented villa 21, and the cost was very reasonable for 2 bedrooms with large closets, 2 bathrooms, full kitchen, and large living room. Great view of the bay! The gate and shuttle staff were friendly and accommodating. Bar staff seemed generally clueless, and in the end we weren't charged for several drinks we had poolside, but we didn't always receive what we'd ordered. Housekeeping staff mostly did not speak English but were good. Any issues that came up were very quickly resolved by Palermo staff, who brought us extra pots & pans, and a floor fan. The beds were comfortable.
We ate only one meal at the restaurant, and it was good, but quite pricey.
The biggest drawback to the villas is that they are not designed with airflow in mind. Only a few of the windows open. The central air conditioning only blows in the upstairs bedroom and at the top of the cathedral ceiling in the living room. We were being charged for our electricity usage, so we set the AC for 28 (it was 33 outside) and it generally felt stuffy inside.
The pool is good for cooling off, but not designed for actual swimming.
Situated on the hillside, there is a lot of steepness in the roads, but stairs are provided for surer footing. If you want to be closer to the pool & restaurant, choose a villa with a lower #.

Room Tip: If you want to be closer to the pool & restaurant, choose a villa with a lower #.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
VillasdePalermo, Director of Sales at Villas de Palermo Hotel & Resort, responded to this review, December 3, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. We are pleased to hear that you enjoyed your visit to the pool. Yes, the resort is located on a hill and if you prefer not to walk up hill then it is better to request a villa closer to the pool. However the higher numbered villas have spectacular view ocean views so it just depends on whether or not you think the hike is worth the view. In any event, thanks for staying with us and we hope you'll return in the future!
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Additional Information about Villas de Palermo Hotel & Resort

Address: Carreterra San Juan del Sur, km 139, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Phone Number:
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access 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:
#1 Spa Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#4 Family Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#5 On the Beach Hotel in San Juan del Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Villas de Palermo Hotel & Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Palermo Hotel and Resort is located in San Juan del Sur, a city that bridges Costa Rica and Nicaragua on the Pacific Ocean. The hotel features 50 villas, flexible in-room work spaces, full-kitchens and room service, wireless broadband connectivity throughout the property, as well as both large and small, air-conditioned conference and meeting spaces. Terraza de Palermo Restaurant and Bar offer a dramatic dining experience overlooking the tropical pool and sunsets into the Pacific Ocean. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villas De Palermo Hotel And Resort
Villas De Palermo Hotel San Juan Del Sur
Villas De Palermo Hotel & Resort Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

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