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“Relaxing Retreat” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Apoyo Resort & Spa

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Apoyo Resort & Spa
3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Laguna Apoyo Reserve, Catarina, Nicaragua   |  
Hotel amenities
Atlanta
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Relaxing Retreat”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

We made a last-minute decision to stay in the Villas at Apoyo on our way to Granada. It's fairly hidden, so we were glad to have taken a taxi, rather than attempting to drive and find it ourselves. While a bit remote, with not a lot of dining options, it was a great location to simply relax or hike around and see some of the scenery. There was also the option for day trips into Granada, so we took a boat tour around Lake Nicaragua one day. The staff at the Villas were very helpful in providing information on whatever we needed. The restaurant on site was fine and offered food that most anyone would be happy with, and offered beautiful views of the crater lake below.

The room was quite spacious and included a full kitchen which was nice even if we only used the refrigerator. Everything was clean and comfortable as well. It was very enjoyable to sit out on the balcony, and we even got an up close view of a large group of howler monkeys one morning while they swung through the trees for several hours.

Overall, we would definitely recommend the Villas at Apoyo if you are looking for a relaxing out-of-the way spot.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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95 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 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 (22)
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English first
Sopron
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

We stayed 2 nights at the Villas at Apoyo. We enjoyed our stay, the place is beautiful. :) There are several small buildings but the flats are very big. They were clean and the staff is extremly nice. They worked for us, for customers. We enjoyed our breakfast at the to of the resort, by the pool. Thank you for everything. I recommend this hotel to everybody. :)

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Saskatoon, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

We stayed at the villas at apoyo for 3 nights in feb of 2013. The staff were extremely helpful. Anytime we needed a cab they provided one for our daily adventures. Everyone was very friendly from the front desk to the restaurant staff to all the helping hands. The cabins were very cozy and clean and large. We bought groceries as well as there was a full kitchen. We had great views of the lagoon and volcano. To lay in the hammock and watch the monkeys from your deck was an awesome setting. Thanks to all the hotel staff for providing such a great service. You answered all of our questions and had great suggestions for adventures. I think more people should step out into the world of non all-inclusive resorts, your hotel was the perfect place for our trip to Nicaragua.

Thanks again from Jodie and Chris, the Canadians.

Room Tip: We were on the hill behind the restaurant. Elevated with an excellent view. Rooms are large and clea...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milford, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2013

A quick shuttle to/from Granada, brings one to this slightly hidden oasis built into the side of the mountain jungle. Having met a retired US couple at Gran Pacifica Resort on the Pacific coast who frequently stay at The Villas, my travel group decided to give it a try. Upon arriving, we were met at the reception office by manager Oscar P., and Carlos C., polite and efficient native Nicaraguans whose English skills are better than many of my native New Jersey-ites.
They quickly had us, and luggage, on the resort shuttle up the mountain to our lodging.
The Villa was huge and had been recently refurnished, though in my opinion needs more furnishing due to its size (over 1500 sq ft). Kitchen was fully equipped, all new dinnerware, silverware, cookware, etc. Massive comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms too, though the electric shower heads might give pause to some that have not strayed off the beaten path, but I have seen and used them before and they are not a concern to me.
The resident howler monkey families were fun to watch, swinging and howling overhead, but they did seem to go to sleep at night.
Infinity pool (small) and adjoining restaurant/bar were great, both Nica and gringo tastes should be satisfied with the offerings. Would suit me for a week, along with the few groceries we brought in on the shuttle.
Wi-Fi poolside would be a worthwhile addition, one of the office staff told me it's in the future plans, but for now the shuttle came within minutes to pick me up at villa, restaurant/pool etc. whenever I needed to do some work online in the reception lounge.
On the ridge of the mountain, above The Villas, is the town of Catarina, with great restaurants and shopping. There is a path from the Villas up to Catarina for the physically fit.
Also make sure to see nearby Volcan Masaya, San Juan de Oriente for pottery, and the Masaya Market.
Overall, a worthwhile stop on a trip to Nica, and I plan to go back next time I'm in country.

Room Tip: If $49 nightly room with breakfast is still available that seems to be a great deal. Otherwise all...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
granadagal, Public Relations Manager at Apoyo Resort & Spa, responded to this review, February 6, 2013
Thank you so much for your review. We are so happy you enjoyed your stay and take your comments to heart. Hope to see you again in the very near future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

My husband and I came here for a quiet retreat and it was the perfect place! It is peaceful and away from the busyness of Granada or Managua. We took advantage of the $49/night deal that have running and it was great. Everyone who works there is incredibly helpful and friendly. We are only taking one star away for the lack of choices on the food menu. Since it is farther away from other places, you sort of have to eat dinner at least at the restaurant there and if you're staying for multiple nights, as we were, you quickly try everything on the menu. Again though, the staff was so amazing and we loved our stay for the beautiful location, clean, spacious rooms, and quiet time away.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
granadagal, Public Relations Manager at Apoyo Resort & Spa, responded to this review, February 6, 2013
Thank you so much for taking the time to review the Villas. We take all comments seriously and work very hard at making the Villas a perfect vacation location. We are working on adding more items to thee menu and hope that you will return again and try our new choices.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

Sorry but I have to disagree with most of the positive reviews of this place. It has some lovely features (which we enjoyed) but overall, I felt we'd been taken by the hype. The website makes it look and sound like a posh resort. We don't usually stay at places like this, typically preferring smaller, more midrange guesthouses, but we thought the splurge would be fun for a few days. This place did not meet our expectations.

Here are the positives: Our villa was wonderfully spacious to the point where we didn't know what to do with all the space; the rooms and beds were comfortable; the games room up near the restaurant was a hit with the kids, especially the pool table; and the view from the pool really is spectacular. The pool itself is considerably smaller than I'd expected but it was very clean and well-maintained, and I think it may have been a saltwater pool. The front desk staff were friendly and helpful and spoke very good English. The kitchen in our villa was immaculate and we were thrilled to be able to make our own coffee early in the mornings.

On the downside: This place was completely out of sync with our expectations based on the (outdated) guidebook write-up and the resort's website. On the lake side of the road, where there used to be a restaurant, a pool and lake access, the pool was green and had a tarp over it, the restaurant closed at 5 pm each day (so no dinner), and the beach was all pebbles and no sand, and skinny, with no dock or other pleasant way to get into the water or sit at the beach. Apparently you can rent kayaks for $10/hour, but that's a total rip-off given the price you are already paying for the room, and most other places along the laguna offer kayaks to guests for free. We were a family of four, so it would have been $40 to go out for one hour; we didn't do it.

On the other side of the road, the rest of the resort seemed to be in the process of being rebuilt/improved, and this is where our villa was located. The villas are all built into the side of a mountain, with the restaurant and pool near the top -- quite a hike, or you can ask for a ride. The food selection at the restaurant is minimal and unexciting after you've been there 1 day. There is no wifi at the pool or restaurant or in the villas -- you have to trek down to reception for that. A suggestion would be to offer wifi at the restaurant area at least.

But I think what gave us the worst impression of all is that it seemed a bit like a ghost town....like a place that had once been grand and elegant, but had gone steeply downhill and been deserted, and was only starting to come back to life. Our villa was nearly the size of our home, a massive place for four people, but there wasn't even anywhere to sit on the main floor except at the kitchen table or on a stone bench built into the wall (with no cushions on top). It actually echoed. There was a locking armoir in the bedrooms, but we didn't have the key. There are full kitchens so you can cook your own food, but only if you had the wherewithal to pick it up first in Granada; the little "supply shop" at reception didn't sell anything that we could imagine transforming into dinner. A cab to Granada is $20 each way, which is an expensive method of grocery shopping (and it turns out that another resort down the road can get you a cab for $10 each way). The warm water showers were a nice luxury but the setup of capped wires springing straight out of the showerhead would terrify most electricians. Most of the taps everywhere look like they need replacing. The rooms had no screens, no mosquito nets and not even any ceiling fans, so you were obligated to shut all the windows at night and use the air conditioning (and as a result, our rooms had a distinctly musty smell when we first entered). A shame because the nights were actually pleasantly cool and breezy.

A lot of these problems are things we would normally never even notice or care about, given our typical preference for more "backpackerish" places. At $30 or $50 a night, I don't mind paint and drywall splotches on the tiles, uncomfortable furniture, trekking up half a mountain to dinner every night, or looking out on other villas whose roofs have caved in. But at $137 (what we paid, including taxes, for a 2-bdrm.), I do mind. I definitely expected better.

I think this place has a lot of potential, and I hate to write a review that will discourage people from going, as it does have some good points. I just think it's overpriced for what it's offering right now as it rebuilds.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
granadagal, Public Relations Manager at Apoyo Resort & Spa, responded to this review, January 8, 2013
Thanks so much for taking the time to write a review. I appreciate your frank and honest comments.

In regards to the lakefront area, restaurant and pool, this is not part of The Villas but is owned privately so we have no control over the condition. You are correct in stating that The Villas are in the process of being improved. We would love to have ceiling fans and screens in all units and hope to do so in the future but at this time, this is available only in our Deluxe villas.

Just to be clear, there is a truck on site that will take you up and down the hill in the event that the walk is too difficult. We also offer roundtrip transportation with our private van to Granada, twice daily, for $10 per person.

Unfortunately, Wi-Fi at the restaurant is not possile due to the jungle surrounding us as reception is not possible.

I am sorry you felt the value was out of line with your expectations. It is our goal to meet and exceed expectations and we are working hard to do so. We hope the next time you are the area, you will stop by and see our progress.
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Montreal, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

The Villas at Apoyo were without a doubt, one of the best parts of our very first Nica trip. The Villas were exceptionally clean, very spacious, and the staff went above and beyond to provide world-class customer service. Special thanks to Oscar, a definite asset to the organization, and an all-around great guy. If you're looking to spend a few days completely surrounded by nature, yet still have access to all the amenities, then look no further! Imagine waking up to the sound of exotic birds and monkeys right outside your door, or enjoying the most breathtaking views lounging in an infinity pool while sipping on an ice-cold beer, these people make it happen!! We cannot wait to go back. Thanks again to all the staff for making our first trip to Nicaragua, a memorable one.

  • Stayed December 2012, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Apoyo Resort & Spa

Address: Laguna Apoyo Reserve, Catarina, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Masaya Department > Catarina
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty lodging in Catarina
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Apoyo Resort & Spa 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Villas at Apoyo, tucked unobtrusively in the hillside overlooking the Laguna, are some of the most unique hotel accommodations in Nicaragua. We offer 1, 2 and 3 bedroom villas and apartments, some with fully equipped kitchens, to accommodate whatever size of group you may have. The Villas are situated in the dry tropical forest of Nicaragua which is home to Howler monkeys and a variety of tropical birds.The Grill, a small restaurant at the upper pool, has a variety of fresh and healthy foods. Try the Nachos Grande or the Chinese Chicken Salad while enjoying a beautiful view of the laguna. New at The Villas at Apoyo is our 5-station, Low Ropes Challenge Course. The Challenge Course was built to encourage participants to grow at both the team and individual levels. Our Low Ropes course focuses on communication, problem solving, and leadership. Every member must participate in order to complete the five tasks, and in doing so, inspires confidence in each other. Our hopes are that these skills will be carried by the participants to be used in their daily lives. We also have a new Game Room near the pool area so our guests can emjoy a game of Billiards, Darts or enjoy one of our many boards games. For your convenience, food and beverage can be served from The Grill. A new addition to our services is a fully equipped convention center with seating of up to 150 persons. This is a great location for sales seminars, company meetings as well as social events. ... more   less 
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