Background: As part of a 3-week volcano trek across Central America, our tour group stayed for a few days in this sleepy fishing village of San Juan del Sur.
PROS: Location... location... location is its best asset. It is one of the few hotels that is actually in San Juan del Sur. (In fact, the Top 6 ranked hotels in this "San Juan del Sur" list is nowhere near San Juan del Sur. Think miles away.) Although not a beachfront property, it is an easy 5-min walk to the centre of town and three blocks from the beach. Located at the corner of Avenida Mercado & Calle El Calvano, it is far enough from the drunken, maddening tourist crowd that parties all night -- every night. Being a gated property with free enclosed parking is a big plus. Having 24/7 security doesn't hurt, either. The room has the usual perks: cable TV, electric fan, and free WiFi. Breakfast is complimentary and comes with the choice of either Continental, Gallo Pinto-based or in American-style (read: pancakes). Service is friendly and accommodating. I learned to practice my Spanish with the reception staff. Other amenities include laundry ($1 per 3 items) and private parking.
CONS: A few come to mind -- First, half of the rooms are on the second (and third) floors and only accessible by stairs so be prepared to lug your heavy luggage. Second, I'm not quite sure whether it's an all-inclusive spot because, at the time of our stay, we had to pay an extra $7 per day to have the A/C turned on. This reeks of an "a la carte" pricing structure. Perhaps we were being charged a bargain group rate, but had to shell out extra $$ for anything else. To be honest, I'm at a loss because only a few reviewers mentioned this. To be sure, at the time of our stay, a single room was £20 per night (off season) and £28 per night (peak season), which is a tad expensive compared to its peers in SJDS. Third, some rooms (like mine) are small and had barely the space to walk around the bed. Without the A/C, the room is like a sauna in dry season. One can barely leave the shower without needing to shower -- again. Last, there were no toiletries (except soap), no fridge or in-suite safe. And the WiFi is spotty at best and doesn't reach all the rooms.
Verdict: All-inclusive digs are hard to come by. As a base to explore SJDS and vicinity, this place foots the bill. Adequate for a few nights but, for longer stays, there are better options elsewhere. A coin toss. Grade B+.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Royal Chateau Hotel is located in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, a tourist beach town on the pacific ocean in southern Nicaragua, a few miles from the Costa Rican border and two hours from Managua, the Nicaraguan capital. A colonial style hotel with 20 spacious rooms with splendid views and modern comforts including air conditioner, cable TV, wireless internet, secure parking, private bathrooms, full sized beds and continental, Criollo & American breakfast, all included in one affordable rate. ... more less
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