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“This place is really wonderful. Beautiful place -- beautiful people”

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Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa
Ranked #6 of 27 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed August 18, 2007

I just loved my little 2 bedroom villa. Beautiful views -- lush landscape. Really nice gourmet chef. It was close to everything.

My children played with Monkeys at the animal shelter at the far end of the resort. Every morning they would wake up and run out of the villa to see "Cindy" the monkey.

Yes we did loose power one night. But we were there for 10
nights and it came back on during the night.

I would caution those with knee troubles -- there are wonderful rambling paths as the villas are built on a hillside. If you have there are a lot of steps-- although I enjoyed the rambling paths and landscape.

The staff was very nice and accomidating. I read some of the comments on the other reviews. If you thrive in a pretentious environment, then this is not the hotel for you. The hotel does attract an affulent crowd. And it is so beautiful The staff are obviously treated well because you can feel the genuine kindness from the staff. The environment is relaxed and casual. This is likely the best place in Nicaragua.

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled with family
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5  Thank AustinTexasTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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609 - 615 of 755 reviews

Reviewed August 15, 2007

I have already reviewed this property and have returned to it four times in the past year and a half. I am not fond of San Juan del Sur but I make the journey just to stay at Pelican Eyes. I decided to honeymoon in Nicaragua and one of the prime reasons was this unique hotel. I made my reservation months in advance and informed the clerk (via telephone) that it was my honeymoon and that I wanted a special room. I also asked to be booked on a Pelican Eyes sail during our stay. We checked into the hotel only to find that no one had booked us on the sailboat and the room they assigned us was one of the least appealing that I had stayed in over the course of my visits. The front desk did book us on a Friday sail but on Friday morning, over breakfast, before the departure, we were told that a private group had reserved the boat and didn't want additional passengers. We did end up going but it required some very stressful moments and hurt feelings. The front desk could have been more professional in handling this. The other issue I experienced during this stay is that the hotel charged us two massages when we had already paid for those services. Make sure to review your bill carefully.

As some have mentioned in the past, if you don't like animals, you probably shouldn't stay here. We were delighted to have the company of a wonderful kitty that spend each night with us in our room. We love animals and love that Piedras y Olas actually does something for the neglected animals of San Juan. Also, be aware that the electricity does go out at 7pm each night- Pelican Eyes has a generator, so it won't affect you there. This may mean having to eat more meals there than at some of the good (and cheaper) restaurants in town. Also, San Juan is not a particularly nice place to visit. If you travel to Nicaragua, make sure to visit the beautiful areas like Granada, León, Laguna de Apoyo, Little Corn Island. The beaches aren't too impressive in San Juan (though the sunsets are special).
I still think this is a unique property in Nicaragua and I hope the management provides more hopitality training to ensure a pleasant stay for all.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank cristinasabin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2007

Made reservations at the hotel months in advance, when I arrived with my family our reservation could not be not be found. Took over 30 minutes to check in. Hotel/villas are beautiful and the food was excellent, but the service was very slow. Hotel did not mention that construction is currently being done on new villas, you needed a 4 wheel drive to get up the dirt road to many of the villas because the condition of the roads make it very difficult to reach many of the rooms. Understand that power outages are frequent in Nicaragua, but you'd expect that a hotel/resort that charges over $200+ a day would have generator power to all rooms/villa or at least would offer some sort of refund or comp a free meal. Overall, probably the nicest hotel in Nicaragua, but Pelican Eyes has to work on the small details to truly be considered a top notch hotel.

Stayed: July 2007
Thank pearjs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2007

Nicaragua has never been a place where I have expected much in terms of accomidations, but Piedras y Olas exceeded our expectations. It is a beautiful hotel set in the mountains overlooking the fishing villiage of San Juan del Sur. The hotel is new, very clean, and safe (they must have a dozen security guards on the grounds). Although it is not right on the beach, the walk to and from the water is not unbearable. The main gate of the hotel is about half a mile from the beach restaurants and bars. The walk up the mountain is a good work out. I counted 300 steps from the main gate to our room. We stayed in a 2 bed, 2 bath villa. They have two restaurants, two bars and two pool areas. The bars were great. The main bar had a happy hour twice a week and filled up with guests and locals. The restaurant was a little dissapointing for dinner. It is twice as expensive as the places in town, and has a rather dull selection (six or so items with very little seafood).

Go to El Timon for fresh fish. It is very good and it is cheap. Try Colibri for great medeteranian. The Paella was amazing. If you want local rum, get Flor de Cana (7 year). It is world class.

  • Stayed: July 2007
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Thank Jordan1201
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2007

While I understand that there are hotel rooms at Pelican Eyes, the property appears to be primarily comprised of individual houses or casas set on a lushly landscaped hillside with access by winding brick pathways bordered by brick and whitewashed walls with gorgeous plantings on each side. There was quite a bit of construction activity in progress during our visit as they continue to build, but the hustle and noise was managed so as to not intrude on us in any way. Our party of three adults and three children comfortably enjoyed a two story, two bedroom, two bath residence with a fully equipped kitchen (although we didn’t cook), sitting, dining and patio areas. The property is not directly on the water, but it’s elevation afforded gorgeous views of the bay and harbor and adjacent valley from our casa. As well as from the main restaurant and a second restaurant higher on the hill. In fact there are lovely views from most everywhere. Including from the three large infinity pools. The beach in town and the numerous restaurants along the beach are but a short walk from the property entrance and we did this a number of times. However some may prefer to hire a car for the drive (over memorably rough roads) to one of the many lovely beaches north and south of the town which offer better surf. Almost all with development projects ongoing or planned. Final notes. The staff is very friendly and responsive and for our group a very special and unexpected appeal was that the resort supports an educational foundation for children of the local community and also a wildlife rehabilitation reserve for injured and orphaned creatures. Pricing? We thought it was quite reasonable considering the size and furnishings of the casa and the amenities. Probably cheaper places in the area but not with the total ambience of Pelican Eyes.

  • Stayed: June 2007, traveled with family
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1  Thank Traveler6208
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2007

I went on a guys trip for fishing and stayed here. The rooms were very nice, though there was lots of construction going on. The hotel is also waaay above town, but still the nicest property there. You should definitely do the sailing tour, which runs south down the coast and stops at a desterted beach, where you can swim, snorkel, throw frisbee and explores the rocky points on the tip of the cove. Plus they fixed food and poured drinks down our throats non-stop. Great trip.

  • Stayed: May 2006, traveled with family
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Thank Engelsmung
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2007

I think from now on, every place we stay we will compare to the Pelican Eyes property. Everything about it was perfect for our needs. The 4 of us opted for a villa for about $100/night (discounted from $125 due to the construction of additional villas nearby) called Casita Encatada. There are other less expensive options as well.

First, the architecture is exquisite...no detail was spared. Gorgeous hand made tiles, gleaming white stucco, bubbling fountains, beams made of trees stripped of their bark, sanded smooth, and varnished. And the views! From the front we had sweeping views of the town's bay and the spectacular sunsets this area is known for. From the back we looked out over a lush green valley. We had a living room, dining room, full kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 3 baths, and a great porch on both sides. There is cool a/c and a TV in the living room and both bedrooms with many English language stations. Flowering plants abound all around the villas.

Second, the two pool areas are lovely...infinity pools, plenty of lounge chairs, WiFi, nearby bars, and of course those great views to the Pacific.

Third, the restaurant is fantastic. Most say it's the best food in town. Of course it costs a bit more than the places in town ($10 for an entree vs. half that in town) but everything we ordered was delicious--including the drinks. They have traditional Nicaraguan dishes as well as regular American fare as well. The mojitios and pina colada were awesome.

Fourth, the staff is gracious and professional and certainly friendly. Not all spoke English but there was always someone who did in case you don't speak Spanish.

Finally, the owner operates a foundation for Nicaraguan kids that helps them with school supplies, uniforms, job training, etc. We brought a bag of school supplies to donate to the foundation which they welcomed.He also operates a vet clinic to help local animals. Cats and dogs do wander around the reception area and into the dining area, so if that freaks you out, consider yourself warned. We LOVED it--the animals are beautiful and helped us get over our home sickness for our own pets at home. Plus, they are so healthy and happy compared to the other animals you see around Nicaragua (but who wouldn't be after eating handouts of filet mignon all day!). Because these endeavors are supported by the hotel's earnings, there are virtually no administrative costs and most of the monetary donations go right to who needs it--the kids and the animals.

As for any negatives, they were minimal. Nicaragua is experiencing periodic blackouts for 8 - 10 hours, something that should be solved by March 2008 according to today's Nico Times. But the hotel does have generators for most of the rooms and you would not notice a power outage at all. However, not everything is connected to the generator yet. That included our villa. Upon our arrival at 2:30, we had no power until 7:00 p.m., including running water. But the breezes were gorgeous and we hung out at the pool, drank yummy cocktails, and used their bathroom until the power came back on. And to top it all off--they gave us that first night FREE! The power was fine the rest of our stay.

Also, if you choose to stay in the villas like we did (discounted due to construction nearby), there is construction going on from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. 7 days a week. But the noise was never a bother. The road is rough to these areas though--really rough. But soon it will be paved and that won't be an issue.

Finally, there are lots of steps as these structures are artfully tucked into a hillside. I absolutely loved walking the stairs down to the reception/restaurant area. It was a little workout but such a relaxing experience--the stairs curve, there are resting areas with benches, there are flowers everywhere, and of course the occasional cat to pet. But if you can't take the walk, you can call the desk for a free ride--they will even take you into the tiny town. I walked to the town, which begins just outside of the Pelican Eyes entry area and is only a few square blocks.

So, if you want a memorable experience vs. just a place to rest your head, the Pelican Eyes is the place to be. Just remember to bring some school supplies and donate a few dollars to the vet clinic.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Peru77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa

Address: De la Parroquia 1 1/2 cuadras al este, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Location: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#3 Green Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#5 On the Beach Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#6 Romantic Hotel in San Juan del Sur
Price Range: $235 - $356 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 50
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa offers a stunning hillside location and panoramic views of San Juan del Sur and the ocean beyond. Our infinity pools, spacious accommodations, romantically lush gardens, wonderful restaurants, open air bars, and one-of-a-kind San Juan Del Sur coastline sailing adventure are a unique experience.A visit to our Tranquila Day Spa is an experience of sheer indulgence. We offer a menu of massage and body treatments to ensure that you truly relax on your romantic Nicaraguan getaway. Experience more of Nicaragua with day trips to Granada or the artisan markets in Masaya. Here at the resort, open air yoga classes, water aerobics, and active local excursions (arranged by our concierge) help keep you fit while visiting paradise. Even our brick stairs—winding up the hillside — contribute to the cause!Our San Juan del Sur hotel’s mission is to provide a unique and memorable Nicaragua vacation experience in every aspect of your stay. Our friendly staff endeavors to fulfill every possible need or special request (and to predict those wishes perhaps not yet even realized!)No request is too big or too small. Let us know what we can do to enhance your stay in paradise. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pelican Eyes Hotel San Juan Del Sur
Hotel Pelican Eyes
Resort Pelican Eyes
Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa Nicaragua/San Juan Del Sur

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