I am writing this on the train home so all of the good, the bad, and the ugly is still fresh in my mind. I just spent a week at The Foot with a group of great friends from a variety of backgrounds, personalities and interests whose common love for surfing brought us together.
I have travelled extensively throught Central and South America. I am used to the lack of creature comforts that are often a part of the adventure down south. I also lived in a tent in Bosnia for nine months while I was in the Army. On the flip side, I own a small retail and service business and I can be very demanding when I am paying good money. 800 USD for a week in Nicaragua is a lot of money!
Now that you have a bit of background, please read this review because if will be extensive and detailed.
The physical space: shower heads lay broken on the floor, the sink in the common bathroom is broken, chairs have not been changed in years, broken glass left in the common eating area for more than 24 hours (we are barefoot surfers for heaven's sake), the rooms have no sound proofing and I was wearing earplugs to boot, one of the two vehicles was not fully functional.
Above all, I think that the attitude of the owner, Bryce, has lead to the deterioration of the physical space. Instead of attempting to addess any of these issues, Bryce spent much of his free time playing video games.
I overheard him telling his employees that as long as something wasn't completely broken, they shouldn't even worry about trying to fix it or even make it better!
Surf Guides and trips: We all had a great time surfing. It would be hard not to. Conrad, was solid and concerned about getting us up and out at first light. We all appreciated his efforts. Jeremy was late one morning and he costs us about an hour of epic surf at Manzanillo for which I will never forgive him. The second morning he was on time, but wreaked of booze. And he probably only pushed himself to come in on time because I spoke with him the night before about how important it was to us.
The food: excellent all the time! Justin is a great chef and surfer. He seemed to care about our group and he is a generally motivated individual. My only concern for him is that under Bryce's poor leadership he will be ruined.
It is obvious that Bryce has not reinvested any capital since he took over a few years ago. The have been no capital improvements and little to no concern in maintaining his existing assets. Bryce did not introduce his staff to us upon arrival. He did not seem to think of us as guests, but rather as some dudes crashing at his house. He had his parents there during the day to relax and vacation, but they ended up cleaning up because they were obviously embarrassed by the slovenly appearance of the space. I felt bad for his parents and almost got down and started cleaning myself, but then I saw Bryce inside playing video games, and realized that I was paying this guy over a hundred dollars a night. And I am not cheap, I gave the decent guide and the chef a hundred each as a well deserved tip.
The one time I asked Bryce to take us to the springs he tried to blow me off. I persisted and we did go. We had a time and I thank him for that. But that should be standard operating procedure, not something a guest should have to forcefully demand. He has to quit playing so many video games, and give the place a fresh coat of paint....I know he has plenty of blue paint hiding somewhere.
I wrote this on my phone on the train without proof reading. Please forgive typos.
I did have great time with my friends, the surf was fun, climbing Giants Foot Peak and meeting a beer bearing barefoot princess on top was awesome, the food was amazing, and Conrad let me use a his great Mack Truck surfboard. Some of the staff should figure out how to revive Giants Foot, or figure out how to do it better somewhere else. I will keep the faith and hope to be back to Playa Gigantes in the future to surf some sweet waves in that wonderful setting.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Giant's Foot Surf is a cozy surf lodge nestled on the beach in Playa Gigante. We have 3 guest rooms with private bathrooms, a living room with lots of books, movies galore, and a flatscreen TV, and an outdoor dining area. Our sandy backyard is strewn with hammocks to relax in after your surf sessions. Our boat, Vale, waits in the bay to take you to the nearby breaks. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Giant`s Foot Surf Hotel Playa Gigante
- Giant's Foot Surf Nicaragua/Playa Gigante