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“Exceeded Expectations!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Barrio Cafe Hotel

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Barrio Cafe Hotel
Ranked #3 of 27 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
1 review
“Exceeded Expectations!”
Reviewed 10 March 2014

I booked my trip to Nica two weeks before I left because I just needed to get away from the snow storms in Philly. I wanted a spot to just chill for a week, but also snorkel, light surfing and paddle boarding. I had known about SJDS from friends in Nica( I had stayed in Tola the previous year). My criteria for choosing a hotel were: central location, near the beach, and a/c just in case of hot, humid night as i have a bit of asthma. Also, the hotel MUST be Nica owned, this is very important to me. All conditions met!
First of all, from the photos i saw, I had the idea that the hotel was located atop the Barrio Cafe, thus the entrance would be outside, but the rooms are adjacent, in the back of the cafe - very safe entrance, very nice!(although Nica is listed as the safest country in Central America, by many different sites)
The room was exactly what I needed and more for a solo traveler. Most will come with two double beds, so I could lay out all my clothes and gear on the one, although a shelving unit and hangers are provided. The bathroom was good too, with adequate water pressure. (remember you are in a surfer/fishing beach town, this will not be the Ritz Carlton, and for the $, I felt I got more than I expected. The infrastructure in these towns will not yet allow for the type of water pressure a lot of us are used to , but it was more than adequate)
For me, one of the highlights of this hotel was the Barrio Cafe which, along with the two taco shacks next door, is the same owner. I can tell you I think I had almost every meal here with the exception of only a couple other places tried , but I kept coming back.
Firstly, the staff and I quickly were on a first name basis. The bartender Alfredo, always had that welcoming smile in the morning and would ask about your previous day. He was always full of travel tips and off the beaten path advice and a few jokes and winks ;). Also, he makes the best mojitos and margaritas in the town, no doubt!
The breakfast served is a North American/Europeans delight- everything from 'excellent' cappuccinos / lattes to omelets, French toast, breakfast burritos, fruit/granola/yogurt, and yes, a Philly/NY staple...smoked salmon/bagel! I really expected to rough it with food as I normally do and eat a lot of local dishes, but the menu here could easily stand up to a neighborhood cafe in Philly, even New York.
As a former bar/restaurant owner, I can tell you I had an appreciation for the way things were being run. The manager, Samuel was very friendly and always welcoming, clearly he has good people skills and has a good rapport with his staff which keep things running smoothly.
One of the great things about the Barrio Cafe is that it has many different settings. I could just go in for a drink at the bar and conversation with Alfredo or the always smiling, Graysie, or sit on the side with a big opening facing the street and people watch. If you want a nice meal and table space, theres a dining room surrounded by lush greenery or a large banquettes with long tables to curl up with you book and a latte or with a bunch of friends you've met. I wont forget one of the servers, Ariel, who always took an interest in my activities of the day... such genuinely nice people, all of them. I wanted to write this review in appreciation for who they are and what they do well.
I know they plan some renovations for the fall and will add more rooms and more amenities and food and drink options. I can tell you that I plan to return to revisit such a wonderful place and wonderful people!
Thank you Pitayuna and special thanks to Barrio Cafe! Hello to Samuel, Alfredo, Ariel, Graysie, Chef Erick for his wonderful creations, the hotel reception who were wonderful and the to the owner and the rest of the staff...I wish you continued success!! Hasta Pronto!!

Room Tip: check out the terrace atop of stairs for quiet setting/computer work
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank northerncamper58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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212 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    21
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    6
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (46)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2014

I stayed 2 nights at this great little spot in the centre of town. If you want peace and quiet, this is not the place but otherwise I highly recommend it. The staff are very friendly and helpful for sure. Personally, find their choice of music for evening dining a little loud and not at relaxing or conversation type music. With all fairness, they have a bar attached to same and are probably trying to cater to both at same time which is impossible. It is probably a financial decision but perhaps someone in charge will have dinner with friends and see what I mean!
I ate at nice restaurant once and menu was quite substantial and Chef whom I met was very friendly and believe trying to create dishes that would please their clientele. If you order fish, suggest you inquire as to type being served as what they are offering at present in my opinion is not what should be served. I will say no more and trust that management will be looking into their choice at present time.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Joseph A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Granada, Nicaragua
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2014

I have stayed in room number 7 at Hotel Azul a dozen times. 3 months ago I said things are slipping. Let me try it one more time.
But this trip was no different. There isn't enough water pressure in bath sink to clean off your razor or toothbrush. There isn't enough light in bath to see yourself in mirror to shave.
The key to terrace sliding door won't lock. The key to safe won't work.
At 2:30 in the morning a group of young drunks were yelling outside my door as well as downstairs. The garbage truck was blowing his horn on street below my bed at 6:45 in AM.
Johnny the manager was great as well as the rest of the staff.
Won't go back

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Michael F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stockholm
Level Contributor
67 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 February 2014 via mobile

Stayed with a friend for just one night in this centrally located hotel. The rooms are behind a cafe/restaurant but it was not as noisy as I feared even though i stayed a weekend night, since the bar closes fairly early. Super friendly reception staff and clean rooms, even if they were not anything fantastic they were solid quality for being in a small town like SJDS. Got good help from the reception to hire a car with driver and other arrangements. If i went back to SJDS there would be no need to look for another place, except if I came with my family as this is more of a place for solo travellers or couples that dont need candlelights for the night of their stay.

Stayed February 2014, travelled solo
Helpful?
Thank urbanemson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Granada, Nicaragua
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 7 February 2014

We recently spent 9 nights at this hotel and first off I would like to point out the good things which were the cleanliness of the rooms and the extremely pleasant and helpful staff. However, there are couple of things I would like to suggest to improve the experience. Because of the outdoor security lighting and the close proximity to the bar and restaurant they really should install blackout curtains such as used by airport hotels. There was no WIFI in the rooms forcing guests to sit out on the stairs or in the restaurant when they wanted connect making secure sessions even more problematic. And lastly the keypads on the room safes no longer function forcing you to carry the safe key when you are on a beach vacation.

We ate at the restaurant twice. The discount breakfast was an unpleasant experience with a surly waitress serving lousy food. All the other guests I talked to also disliked the discounted breakfast that the hotel tries to push on you when you arrive. You do not have to accept it. Our lunch experience was much more favorable with good food and pleasant wait staff. My biggest complaint with lunch is the french fries were so good that I wanted more.

I should mention there are two sets of stairs. The first one is a spiral staircase which is difficult with luggage but further along is a second set of non-spiral stairs.

Room Tip: The superior rooms have a balcony and better airflow through the room.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tim D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
28 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 February 2014 via mobile

We weren't expecting much for the modest charges but we had a great experience, the staff is kind, helpful beyond measure and well trained. They even went with us to the spa across the street to get us settled! Id definitely stay again and the restaurant is really good and affordable, even by Costa Rican standards.

Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank TicaChica54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
West Branch, Michigan
1 review
Reviewed 1 February 2014

Very welcoming staff. You do have to go through the dining/bar area to get to the reception and to your room but all is well accommodated. Drawback could be spiral stairs - inconvenient with baggage. Staff was alert to all requests, although you do have to request room cleaning and fresh towels - this is not done automatically. The restaurant is fabulous! Every meal we ordered was tasty and reasonably priced. The drinks were very good and the atmosphere was very relaxing. You could take your book and read for hours. The beach was in walking distance -just a short block away. Only drawback was it is not well insulated for noise. I experienced a lot of next room noise in my room but the others in my group did not. I would recommend it for sure!

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ntomcat65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Barrio Cafe Hotel

Property: Barrio Cafe Hotel
Address: Avenida Mercado, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua (Formerly Hotel Azul Pitahaya)
Region: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 27 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Barrio Cafe Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Barrio Cafe Hotel, is a small hotel strategically located on the center of San Juan del sur. We are just one block away from the gorgeous horse shoe bay, surrounded by many local stores, bars, and restaurants. We also have for your service our beautiful Barrio Cafe restaurant where you can enjoy great food, drinks, and coffee. ... more   less 
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