We stayed here for 8 nights as a base to tour Granada and environs after a stay at San Juan del Sur - see separate review.- influenced by the No 1 ranking at the start of 07 when we made our travel plans.
The venue- It lives up to expecations in terms of internal (excl El Duque) and external decor and venue- we enjoyed being right on the plaza central (subject to the noise factor at night of course- pack you ear plugs!!!!!!!).
The waiting staff on the whole quite charming and eager to please- until "bed time" at least as the bars/restaurants shut at 10 pm - sharp- last orders often 9.45.
The food -lunch time light snacks good and evening meals pretty good- tho' probably double the price of the rest of Granada's restaurants that we tried. Breakfast dead average- better to go out to the square.
The upstairs junior suites are light and reasonably spacious- no separate sitting area per se however so set a "reasonable size room" as your benchmark and you won't be disappointed, Balconies small but at least somewhere to sit with a sundowner/ room service last order when all else is closed and watch the world go by.
By UK Prices it's pretty good value for money nothwitstanding what follows- but don't forget the IVA and propinos.
The dead average-
The swimming pool = large hot tub, located in the hallway right outside the downstairs rooms, so that the water from those happy to swim in this location splashes onto the polished tiles & creates an interesting obstacle course on returning to a downstairs room - presume health & safety hasn't reached Nica hotels yet....
Little use made of the courtyard so no outside sun (or shade) terrace atall to lounge in.
The deeply disappointing -
Zero evidence of any management- on an 8 nt stay (that is probably exceptional as hotel seems able to fill itself with wedding events and 2 nighters) I would however expect some meet and greet from a manager- no sign thereof, and when we asked to speak to them when various supplies ran out were unable to.
The "top "El Duque suite we had booked for the duration (and were unable to change due to pretty full occupancy) is in fact a large dark dank bedroom on the ground floor with a useless (and empty ) box room between the bedroom and equally dingy and dilapidated bathroom- tepid water, shower in disrepair- and no chance of opening the doors to let light in as this is directly on the street , thus also horrendously noisy.
Whilst happy to go with the flow (even on NYE) if 10pm is bed time in Nicaragua, thus bars all shut, we were pretty aggrieved to be told we couldn't access the upstairs sitting area after 9.45, (due to 10 pm water shed) albeit a wedding party was using the hotel function room until midnight plus... so as residents we had the pleasure of hearing other (non residents) cavorting at pretty mega decibels whilst we were confined to our room, with thre dubious pleausre of listening to them from across the road whilst trying to sleep!!!!
Based on the more recent reviews and sight unseen, I'd recommend that unless you are passionate about staying in a historical icon, you try one of the TA higher rated hotels - especially one with a proper pool and /or lounging area that will allow you some R&R in between tours that are commonly only half day.
All that said, we realy enoyed Granada and the ambience (noisy tho it may be) and loved Nicaragua and the people we met- it just seems a shame that (I presume) offshore & out of sight owners are exploting a national asset, and not trying to provide more employment by actually providing services tourists want.
In terms of local recommendations, agree that el Zaguan is good food- as long as you don't mind the duelling guitar players vying for your attention and tips- El Club is good for snackettes and drinks - El Tercer Ojo nice ambience and food- the cafe across the road from la Gran Francia (el Lindo/Rindo?) very friendly and later opening times than la GF.
Ometepe a fab tour and well worth an early start to get the 7. 30 ferry (not sure the accomodation there is that special to stay), the canopy tour is not to be missed and enormous fun.
We also did Leon staying overnight in El Convento- again suites there are a must. Leon has great volcano/lake views, but not as much to enjoy as Granda unless you like churches and museums.
In summary, would certainly recommend a visit and drinks/dinner and even a stay if you can get a light junior upstairs suite in Gran Francia, but just hope the management will try and improve the standards here before it slips any further down the rankings......
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.