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“Fairy-Tale Destination Wedding at an Amazing Resort with Top-Notch Service”

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Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa
Ranked #7 of 27 Hotels in San Juan del Sur
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
New Yor,k, NY
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Fairy-Tale Destination Wedding at an Amazing Resort with Top-Notch Service”
Reviewed 2 March 2009

My now-husband and I had been to Pelican Eyes twice in the past before deciding to get married there this past February. Although initially a little wary about planning a wedding outside of the US, I honestly do not think we could have had a better wedding anywhere. It was an absolute dream wedding and all 70 of our guests are still raving about it, many telling us it's the best wedding they ever attended. The staff and event planner at the hotel went way above and beyond planning our big day. We bought the Pure Elegance package (see website) and would highly recommend it to everyone. The hotel has our contact information and we would be more than happy to provide a reference and share pictures. Seriously, you will NOT be disappointed if you decide to marry here. In fact, even if you don't have a wedding, it's an amazing place to stay and an excellent value for your dollar. We love this place and will return many times in the future. Thank-you Pelican Eyes!

  • Stayed February 2009
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Alarah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (163)
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  • Dutch first
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English first
Cedaredge, CO
1 review
Reviewed 24 February 2009

The town of San Juan del Sur is still a fishing village with added amenities growing out of some nearby surfing beaches and the successful resort complex at Piedra y Olas. You can experience the town, pretty sheltered bay, and friendly inhabitants while enjoying first class accomodations. I recently spent a week at one of the casitas there. The accomodations are completely up-to-date and kept to the higest standard. Any one of the three swimming pools makes a hike down to the ocean unnecessary - unless you wish to watch the day's catch brought ashore. The restaurant offers fine fresh food prepared by an excellent chef and the mojitas are superb. All of this is nice but what will keep me coming back (besides the views and weather) is the warm hopitality of the management and staff. Thay make you feel like a valued family member.

Helpful?
Thank gypsearider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
55 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2009

When I travel I usually book smaller hotels run by locals so I can experience a more authentic feel of the country I am visiting. This was an exception - I decided I would splurge and book a night at Piedras y Olas during my weekend excursion to San Juan del Sur. I was not disappointed.

The hotel is set in to the San Juan hills along the edge of downtown. Service was very prompt and courteous, with bellhops meeting us at our car as soon as we parked to carry our luggage and escort it to our room. Of course, some people may think this is typical of upscale hotels and resorts, but it was still nice to me.

The room was spacious and well-appointed, with comfortable, lavish bed linens and spacious bathroom with open shower and stone floors. The windows looked out over the city with views of the ocean, and a crystal-clear pool just steps from our room. We also walked up to the upper area of the hotel to experience the other lap pool which offered even more incredible views of the city below.

We were provided drink vouchers good for one beer or select alcoholic beverages at the hotel bar. The hotel is a mere 10 - 15 minute walk to restaurants and bars in downtown San Juan del Sur, and easy to find after a night out. It's also very secure - there is a guard station at the entrance and other guards and employees throughout the hotel grounds at all hours.

Built in to a hillside, the hotel has MANY stairs.. keep this in mind if you have special accessibility requirements. If you have a wheelchair or crutches, this hotel may not be the best option for you.

Breakfast is included and isn't some luke-warm buffet-style continental deal like you get in the United States. A wide array of breakfast options are available to you off the menu, and made fresh to order at no additional cost. This includes juice, tea, and coffee.

The hotel has a bevy of cats and resident animals that all seemed very tame and friendly. A couple of the cats enjoyed our company and would sit on our laps while we sat by the pool and relaxed with us. There were not so many that they were intrusive or a nuisance - they actually added to the character of the hotel.

The hotel is also socially conscience, joining with other organizations to help provide local educational funds, purchasing locally-made items and crafts, and even holding a spay and neuter clinic last October.

The only drawbacks were lack of non-smoking rooms, though the room was very fresh and clean, and a feeling of isolation from the local community, though sometimes this can be a welcome reprieve (as it was for me). We also ran out of hot water, but with three people in our room showering in succession, it could have just been due to our high demand.

Otherwise, the hotel was near perfect, and I would definitely stay here again. It's very simply the nicest hotel in San Juan del Sur, and quite possibly all of Nicaragua.

  • Liked — Stunning views, beautiful rooms, nice, clean pools, friendly service, unique experience.
  • Disliked — Lack of non-smoking rooms, ran out of hot water.
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank UrbanDozer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dakar, Senegal
Level Contributor
125 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2009

We had booked four nights at Pelican Eyes, but added a fifth soon after checking in. We stayed in a casa, which was not cheap, but which was huge and perfectly equiped for self catering. The resort is very nicely done. It is built into a steep hillside and offers sweeping views of the ocean. The grounds are beautiful and immaculate (though getting around requires climbing lots of stairs). The staff were extremely friendly (less so the front desk staff) and welcoming. There are two restuarants with similar - good - food, though prices are on the high side, particularly at dinner. I would strongly recommend Pelican Eyes to those not on a budget. Given the quality of the experience, I believe it is a place that still offers value for money.

  • Liked — Beautfitul location and views
  • Disliked — Front desk staff could be brusque.
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank wrightone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
1 review
Reviewed 8 January 2009

My boyfriend surprised me for my birthday with a three-night stay at Piedras y Olas last September, which turned out to be a very relaxing, romantic getaway.

LOCATION: the hotel's location is unbeatable, perched atop a hill overlooking the town providing views of the Pacific with perfect sunsets. It only takes a couple minutes to walk to town, where there's a few worthwhile restaurants. There are great surf breaks north and south of town as well.

ROOMS: the villas are spread out in a carefully planned lay-out providing a maximum amount of privacy--all have private balconies and westward facing views of the bay. Villas have high ceilings supported by natural wooden beams, comfy beds and an open-style bathroom with pebbled walls. We stayed in one of the least expensive rooms and it was plenty luxurious.

PROPERTY: the property is spread out on a hill, so there are steps everywhere. We stayed in one of the lower villas, so the walk to the upper pools could be a hike (especially if we forgot something) but it was manageable. It would be rough for older people or small children though.

POOLS: the upper infinity pool had the best views, perfect for day lounging and the lower pool was ideal for sunset happy hour (try the mojitos!) which occurs twice a week. On the Friday happy hour we were there, the bar was filled with American expats living in SJDS which made for an interesting bar scene.

FOOD: the food at the restaurants was scrumptious; a tropical menu heavy on seafood and dishes with a twist (there's also a fairly large dessert menu). The room rates include breakfast at any of the restaurants which was not only tasty, but of gigantic portions, making lunch unnecessary (fresh fruit, home-baked cranberry muffins, breakfast burritos, eggs benedict with salmon, etc.). This was a major plus!!

OTHER: the little aspects of the hotel made us appreciate Piedras y Olas...a socially-conscious foundation (A. Jean Brugger) supporting the locals of SJDS, impeccable service from the hotel staff, laptops you can borrow for free internet usage, a decent selection of DVDs for rental (also gratis) and a small collection of tree-swinging monkeys. The hotel is already in the works to expand which always makes me question the overall direction of maintaining the quality of a place, but the hotel's foundation seems to be off to a great start. I was also happy to hear they have a gym & spa planned, as that was the only part I found lacking during our stay (note: they did have a in-room spa options at the time). The hotel is great for a getaway for those who are most interested in relaxing, cuisine and the beach, less so for those wanting culture and nightlife.

  • Liked — Location, Amazing Breakfast Included, Sunset Happy Hours, Privacy
  • Disliked — No spa or gym
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank MessyJess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 December 2008

I spent a week over the Christmas holiday at Pelican Eyes with my family. All in all, it was a great experience.

ROOMS: We stayed in two Habitaciones, which are listed as being more like hotel rooms than the other villas and casitas on the property. Let me tell you: for being "just" a hotel room, the Habs are gigantic. The room had both a king size and queen size bed, a bar and mini kitchenette, flat panel TV, a deck with a table and chairs, and a huge bathroom. Our particular Habs also had very high ceilings, with lots of windows and skylights which provide great natural light. As I understand, every single room or casita on the property has some kind of deck, patio or terrace. It's great to sit out on these and watch the sunset with some Tonas!

As for the hot water issue, we found that the water in the shower needed to run for a couple of minutes for the hot water to start flowing. Occasionally, the hot water would ebb during your shower, but I found if you give it another minute, it comes back. No big deal.

STAIRS: For folks interested in staying closer to the restaurant or pool area, Habitaciones 4, 3 and 2 are very, very close to La Cascada and the hotel front desk. They're a short walk (uphill) to La Canoa and the two other pools. In any case, I didn't find the stairs to be that difficult, no matter where I was going on the property -- but, I am a mid-20something, so I can see how it would be strenuous for older travelers. If you need a ride anywhere on the property, you can always stop by the front desk or Restaurante La Canoa and they will call to have someone come pick you up, which was great for those few days when it was raining and we didn't want to be soaked for the walk back to our room.

FOOD: We liked the food at the two restaurants, which feature a regular menu and what seems like weekly specials. The food is a bit more expensive than what you will find in town (especially in some of the restaurants along the beach), but it was definitely tasty. Additionally, the restaurant imports a lot of their meat, so if you are concerned about the quality of the meat, that helps. Water and ice are all purified at Piedras y Olas.

A daily breakfast is included in your room rate, and that is a great way to "load up" for the day, as the breakfasts are HUGE. Every meal comes with a muffin, fruit, juice and coffee, in addition to the plate you've ordered, which is usually accompanied by potatoes and sliced tomatoes. For a lighter breakfast, you can always order just fruit, granola and yogurt.

At each pool, there is drink service. Drink prices were reasonable, but it should be noted you're not allowed to order food by the pool...you have to go into the actual restaurant. That was kind of a bummer when all we wanted was a little snack while we read our books and swam.

SERVICE: The service here was really top notch. I disagree with another review that said everyone spoke English -- a lot of the folks I interacted with at the hotel spoke very little to no English, which required us to all use our Spanish (this included servers, groundskeepers and the folks at the front desk). Everyone here was very, very friendly and happy to assist you with whatever you needed. The front desk staff was especially great at helping us with any questions we had about seeing the sights, directions, etc....very patient, friendly folks.

MISC: If you get a chance, definitely go on the Pelican Eyes Sailing Adventure. My family and another went on the all day trip, and it was amazing. The entire crew was so accommodating, and there is one crew member on board that spoke great English, to help us translate names of animals, birds and fish we were seeing. During our day, we saw lots of dolphins, turtles and fish jumping out of the water. The crew also fishes on the way, and will grill up whatever they catch. The trip takes you along the coast for an hour or two, then you're taxied in to a gorgeous beach (don't believe the joke-sters who tell you you'll have to swim to shore! : ) ). The crew brings along lunch (on our visit, grilled chicken, grilled plantain, rice, cole slaw, fruit and a jackfish we caught), which they prepare for you on the beach, and there are also hammocks, chairs to sit in, soccer and volleyballs and frisbees. It's a short hike to Playa La Flor, where you can see turtles and their hatchlings during the right time of year. There's also great shell collecting along the beach and the beaches next to it. You'll sail back in the late afternoon and get to see the sunset, and will be treated to a few other surprises, too.

For all you cigar aficionados, we discovered that the guest services office (right next to La Canoa) sells several different varieties of cigars. The folks at the restaurant will cut them for you, too.

So, all in all, a great way to spend the holiday! I would definitely return to Piedras y Olas.

  • Liked — The staff and the rooms!
  • Disliked — No snacks by the pool.
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank vmac56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 December 2008

We stayed here for 3 nights after spending most of our vacation in Granada and Ometepe. We booked it because we wanted a little taste of luxury before we headed back home, and on this, the hotel did not disappoint. It's a beautiful 5-star resort with all the amenities and service levels you would expect of a top-tier resort, even by our American standards. We had a very large room with a huge patio overlooking the ocean - the sunsets and the view were spectacular. The swimming pools had magnificent views with poolside bar service, something we hadn't experienced in Nicaragua, so it was a nice change.

Still, Pelican Eyes was only a mediocre experience for us. It is a completely sanitized, Americanized hotel and it sticks out like a sore thumb in Nicaragua. What we appreciated about Nicaragua was the culture and the people - both of which were sorely lacking here. In fact, the whole city of San Juan del Sur felt completely overrun by expats and American surfers - it felt like a mini-Cabo San Lucas. Pelican Eyes is a beautiful hotel, yes, but completely lacking in the vibrant culture of Nicaragua.

Also, the stairs were very exhausting (and we're two young, healthy people in our early 30s). We counted 200 steps from the city street to our room, so if you like climbing up to the top of an eight-story building several times a day, so be it. One last comment - we had problems with hot water in our shower. It was very spotty. I'll give you a pass on this if I'm paying $35 a night for a room, but not for $160 a night.

Overall, the Pelican Eyes is a beautiful, perfectly safe and non- threatening hotel where you'll never have to speak Spanish or worry about the food you're eating or interact with Nicaraguans - so what's the fun in that?

  • Stayed December 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank RKMLosAngeles_CA
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

Property: Pelican Eyes Resort & Spa
Address: De la Parroquia 1 1/2 cuadras al este, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Region: 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
#6 On the Beach Hotel in San Juan del Sur
#6 Romantic Hotel in San Juan del Sur
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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

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