We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Hostel-Like Experience at Boutique Hotel Prices”

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in San Juan del Sur
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
The Maderas Village
SF
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Hostel-Like Experience at Boutique Hotel Prices”
Reviewed March 17, 2014

The last time I was at Playa Maderas I stayed at the Buena Vista Surf Club which was AMAZING. The service was phenomenal. When they were sold out, I ended up at "The Village" which was pretty comparable in price. I wasn't sure what to expect as the website is not that great.
It is almost like a playhouse for the 25-25 North American "I am SOOOO awesome crowd". You don't really know who is "staff" and who are the guests, as I think the staff just get free room and board to help out. So there is no one really giving you a tour of the facilities or helping you to make the most of your time there. (Nor do people quote you consistent prices for activities). So you kind of learn from your fellow guests how it works and who is who.
It feels like this is a place for friends and family of the owners to hang with their besties. There is no respect for local culture or the environment. I felt like an outsider the whole time in a place that is designed like a hostel to create community.
Bottom line, decent place--room was fine, food was fine, but the service and the vibe are not my scene and might not be yours either.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank cgirlSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Matt D, Owner at The Maderas Village, responded to this review, May 30, 2014
Thanks for taking the time to post your review and apologies for the delayed response. We agree BVSC is absolutely amazing. They are both neighbours of ours and good friends, so fully agree with you there.

We also agree that we have a different vibe from them. We tend to attract creative professionals, free-wheeling travelers, and/or entrepreneurial and socially-minded guests from around the world. Few of these guests have small personalities, many are doing interesting things, and most can come across as intimidating until you sit down and talk with them. I'm sorry you didn't get the chance to connect with anyone while you were here, as that tends to be something that we position the Maderas experience around. The vibe was obviously not clearly enough communicated to you, and for this we apologize.

While I appreciate the rest of your criticisms, I feel an obligation to clarify a couple of items;

1. Staff - we typically have 6-8 residents that live here. Our Art Director, Financial controller, two guest service reps who sit in the lobby from 7.30am - 4pm and handle all bookings, logistics, and activities, and myself and my partner who are the owners. When you were around, we also likely would have had a resident photographer and two Sisters that run a philanthropic organization helping the poorest of Nicaraguans dig wells, install roofs, and build infrastructure (who we sponsor to stay & eat here for free in an effort to support their cause). This is more than just our place of work, it's our home. We absolutely lounge around the couches, hammocks, and tables well into the night, but that's the charm. When you come to Maderas, you're coming to hang out with us, not just stay in a room. If we segregate the residents, we would segregate the personality of the Village.

2. Culture - between Maderas Village and Maderas Collective we employ 39 Nicaraguans, and we pay between 20%-30% above market wages because we believe in paying fairly for labour. Additionally, we have a microfinance fund that loans out money to our staff, their families, and local members of the Maderas community whenever needed. Finally, we always support the local surfers when they travel to Costa Rica for surf competitions, or need additional funding for local competitions. We support and actively celebrate Nicaraguan Culture on an ongoing basis.

3. Environment - we built the entire Village with either naturally felled trees, or plantation wood. Both of these options increased our construction costs by 40% - 50%. We built all the cottages, cabanas, and casitas with thatched roofing because it regrows in 3 months. We made a considerable investment installing an eco-septic system that captures and filters every drop of water that is used on the property and produces between 2,500 - 3,000 liters of grey water daily for use on landscaping during the dry season. Finally, we have a 500 Sf composting pit with three sections that facilitates the composting of all organic waste that we produce. Given the above-noted initiatives we've undertaken to mitigate our impact on the environment and actively protect it, I don't really know how I can respond to your claim.

I am sorry your experience was not everything it could have been and we will try to do a better job of communicating vibe, activity pricing & being more active about touring people around all the facilities in the future.

Dickie.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

147 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    110
    12
    10
    9
    6
See reviews for
1
31
46
3
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Antwerp, Belgium
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed March 9, 2014 via mobile


We had high expectations of the place after seeing the pics online, thought we would be staying in a well run place and would get to know the people we saw on the facebook and instagram pictures. We expected to have a cosy room, good food and do lots of yoga.

The good thing is the food was pretty good. Healthy and tasty. Great if you're careful about what you eat or are on a diet.The restaurant service is really slow, but then again, you get used to this in Nicaragua. The room was fine, spacious, big bed and bathroom. Yoga center was also very good. People staying were nice, but I don't think Maderas can take any credit for this.

There are 3 big downsides which would not make us go back again.

1. No service mindset. You are not treated like a paying customer, more like you should be happy you can enjoy their presence. You must realize you are not entering a boutique hotel, but a boutique (read expensive) hostel that is part of a growing company (wood, clothes, design objects, ...) which all seem to have a higher priority for the owners. The hospitality bit seems only important to bring alive the "lifestyle" and branding on instagram so the other products will sell. When we arrived and finally found someone of the staff, we got told to wait for an hour or two till the room was done. No welcome drink, no tour of the property, no explanation at all. Not a great way to make people feel at ease and welcome. If you need something you need to first find staff and then get their attention. I had the feeling I was always interrupting them and they had better things to do like pose for photoshoots at the beach or post facebook pictures #maderas #maderaslife #junglelife ###. All about the image. So fake. The owners I barely saw except out surfing. I think they had "more important" things to do.

2. No place to chill out. View not great. The only place to really hang out is the small central area where everybody eats. There are 2 couches but as there are +10 people staff they already occupy a lot of space. We had difficulty finding peace.

3. Too much people hanging around "working" in the paying customers space. The dinner is "family-style". However they always sit together. Don't make conversation. It's like they are constantly "talking business" or "on a teambuilding". Fine, but not at my table when I'm the only one actually paying for the food. Weird vibe! Nobody of the guests I talked to really knew what all the "hosts" were there for (designer, 2 photographers, a model, social media experts, finance guy, ...). I counted at least 13 of which 2 for hospitality?!! From my perspective they were all there to make it look like a cool and fun place on social media, instead of making sure it actually was in real life!!

We changed to Buena Vista Surf Club, next door. This I would highly recommend. The exact opposite of Maderas Village. Highly exceeds online expectations. Better service, great seaview, cosy and warm vibes, better rooms and even much better food. Staff "hangs" in a seperate area. Loved it.

Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
32 Thank Manolito16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed February 28, 2014

Maderas village is very pleasing to the eye. The rooms are beautiful and clean but there are howler monkeys outside your room that wake you up every morning around 5am. We were picked up from the airport with a shuttle provided by the hotel which was convenient. It was also $100. If you take the "chicken bus", it probably would have been about $3 (but it also would have taken longer). The vibe we got from this place is that we were annoying the owners. We had a few questions about the area, since we had just arrived, but felt unwelcome to approach them. It is run by a few (rude) Canadians who are more interested in their lap top and wifi than having a conversation with you. Meals and drinks were ok, but more expensive than other places. The yoga studio is awesome. That gets a big thumbs up. All in all, if you want to spend a lot of money for a room that is a 10 min walk to the beach (up and down a crazy steep hill), then this is your place. There are zero amenities close by. You have to walk to the beach and take a shuttle to town. My opinion, stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank Tristaturgeon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
victoria, canada
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2014

We booked Maderas Village for a few "splurge" nights on our trip; $90+14% tax is a lot for Nicaragua.
While the kind bed was a nice treat,the room had a basement-ey feel to it. It was in a house type building, but the top 2 floors were for a common area and massage loft. 1 little window at head height (looking out at the ground) was far from the hammocks-on-a-balcony that in my mind should come with such a high price tag. The room is the least of my complaints though.
The food was the terrible and expensive. Dinner is a set menu,no choices and the quality was THE WORST I had in all of Nicaragua. For example' plain white fish, rice, and a few veggies for $12.50. A typical dinner, even in touristy areas is about $5, everywhere else.
One night everyone went down the rd to Pizza in the Jungle. $15/person. Seems like a fair price, until you get to the restaurant and see that the most expensive pizza is $8 and that Maderas Village has only ordered plain cheese and a few pepperoni for everyone. Added shock at checkout when we see an additional charge for the ride to pizza, about 5 mins away.
Lastly and most significantly Is the place has a weird vibe. While the prices are that of a upscale hotel, the attitude of the staff is that of a hostel: lounging around on common area furniture and such. For example, one night after dinner we went back to our 'casa'(common area upstairs, bedroom in the basement) with the idea of enjoying the open air common area, but some friends of staff (not guests) had made themselves comfortable and were noisly doing acrobatic yoga in the area. No room for us to read.
If you want a nice place to stay near Playa Maderas, stay at Maderas Ecolodge. A few minutes further from the beach,but the dinner we had there 1 night was incredible (no more expensive than Maderas Village), and the employees were lovely, professional Nicaraguans.
Travelled a lot, high and low end, but never felt compelled enough to write a Trip Advisor review... until my 2 nights there.

  • Stayed January 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank black_julia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Juan del Sur, Rivas, Nicaragua
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
Reviewed February 22, 2014

In the jungle 20 minutes from San Juan del Sur, a man- and car-eating dirt road drops you off at a cluster of buildings and private casitas with thatched roofs.

Tropical hardwood furniture and accessories produced by the founders' sustainable furniture company (think massive glossy stumps and sleek wood accents, from key chains to cutting boards) set the stage, sweeping views of the Pacific are the backdrop.

This is Maderas Village, part high-end hostel, part resort, part summer camp for adults. Just like summer camp, days are long and lazy and friends for life come and go every week.

I booked a week in February 2013 and left after seven.


6 Reasons Not to Miss

1. Saturday sushi dinners

2. Yoga in one of the most breathtaking studios in the world

3. Rum smoothie sunsets

4. Nearby secluded beaches

5. Organized activities including:
-pizza night at a former Italian clown's jungle restaurant
-frisbee golf: After you've worked up a sweat, there's grilled lobster tails with jalapeno sauce punctuated by parrots shrieking arrrrriba
-day of sailing: All you can drink and all you can eat ceviche

6. Surf break for both beginners and advanced

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mairi B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2013

The Maderas Village was such a great find and a beautiful place to stay. It is a haven of tranquility just set back from the beach and from the moment we arrived we were made to feel welcome. The staff were just great, the accomodation was comfortable and spacious, the hammocks and sunsets were fabulous, the cocktails and food were delicious and the yoga was amazing. I couldn't recommend this place highly enough.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ImyFisher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 26, 2013

i don't want to downplay how beautiful and lush this place is, how fresh and amazing the food and drinks are, how they are so conveniently located near the beach and surf, and how it is just the perfect place for yoga....but what blew me away the most and made me feel like i had a home in the tree tops, was the vibe and the people. Dave and Dickie and ALL the staff truly make you feel right at home and cultivate such an amazing chill vibe that i was reluctant to move on. Thanks to all of you guys for making my stay one of a kind, and a truly special experience. I'll be seeing you again in the new year! - Ann.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank annrobillard88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near San Juan del Sur
0.2 mi away
HulaKai Hotel
HulaKai Hotel
#1 of 3 in Playa Maderas
105 reviews
1.0 mi away
Mango Rosa Nicaragua
Mango Rosa Nicaragua
#1 of 4 in Playa Marsella
419 reviews
1.2 mi away
Morgan's Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
0.9 mi away
Playa Marsella Beach Front Hotel
Playa Marsella Beach Front Hotel
#3 of 4 in Playa Marsella
148 reviews
0.6 mi away
Casa Bahia Hotel
Casa Bahia Hotel
#4 of 4 in Playa Marsella
70 reviews
10.4 mi away
Aqua Wellness Resort
Aqua Wellness Resort
#1 of 1 in Playa Redonda
588 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to The Maderas Village? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about The Maderas Village

Property: The Maderas Village
Address: Maderas Beach, San Juan del Sur 230492, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #22 of 67 Specialty Lodging in San Juan del Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are located at Maderas Beach, about 20 minutes outside of San Juan del Sur. We offer a three daily meals, either a la carte or as part of a pre-fixe menu. We are like a boutique hotel, but less pretentious. We love people who want a place to surf, read, debate, and do yoga daily; who want to lose themselves in a place, and find themselves in the people. We offer tailored packages for short-term guests and very reasonably priced rates for people planning to stay longer than 3 weeks. We are not in Lonely Planet or other guidebooks; we like having to be found. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Maderas Village Hotel San Juan Del Sur
The Maderas Village Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing