After an action-packed 9-day tour full of 5am starts and late nights we were ready to escape from it all once we reached Granada, Nicaragua. Stepping through the door of Casa Lucia, we were immediately confident that we would be able to do just that.
We had stumbled across Casa Lucia after a Google search for “gay friendly hotels Granada”. Not knowing anything about the gay culture and lifestyle in Nicaragua, or even if gay friendly hotels existed, we were keen to find out just how gay friendly the hotel could be.
The Background of Casa Lucia
Casa Lucia is owned by Eloisa, and her sister Arantxa, both from the island of Bermuda. The hotel is actively run by Eloisa who is always present onsite as the “manager”, where she is joined by her husband Danilo, locally from Granada.
Back in 2012 whilst visiting Granada as a tourist, Eloisa and Arantxa joined a colonial house tour. This was where they first laid eyes on the property, and it was love at first sight. After spending 2 nights here ourselves, it is pretty easy to see why.
After a year of extensive renovations, Casa Lucia was ready to open its doors to guests as a traditional boutique hotel, with a focus on wellness and yoga, located right in the heart of the colonial city of Granada.
About the Hotel
The hotel is located in the heart of Granada, only a short walk away from numerous local bars and restaurants.
A beautifully paved walkway leads through from the main street to the hidden paradise of the hotel itself.
Situated around a traditional style courtyard, Casa Lucia has 5 rooms, 2 of which are King Suites, and the other 3 are queen size, all with either balconies overlooking the stunning pool area, or patios and terraces.
There are also 2 apartments onsite, both fully equipped with kitchens, and available for long term rentals.
For direct reservations made via the website, complimentary yoga classes are held daily in the poolside palapa. These are followed by a traditional breakfast, made with local, healthy produce in keeping with the hotels focus on wellness.
A filtered water machine is located next to the pool, and tea and coffee is available during the day.
What makes Casa Lucia one of the best gay friendly hotels in Nicaragua (Granada)?
The fact that we found this hotel listed on Purple Roofs (an online directory of gay friendly hotels) is what prompted us to book, and so we were keen to find out how this was the case.
After a chat with Eloisa, we were pleasantly surprised at what we heard! It turns out that despite being conservative, Nicaraguan families are very relaxed and tolerant towards both LGBT tourists and locals. It’s common for local families to have “out” family members or know somebody who is LGBT.
Whilst it’s probably advisable not to walk around Granada holding hands or using PDAs, it’s extremely unlikely that LGBT tourists will encounter any sort of trouble.
Casa Lucia is an extremely private hotel, set back from the main road and surrounded by high walls. This provides all travellers, not just LGBT, with a sense of being in your own little sanctuary. After all, you want to be able to relax and be yourself on holiday and enjoy spending time with your partner. Here at Casa Lucia you can definitely do that.
The small team of staff onsite are extremely friendly and welcoming of all hotel guests. Eloisa has instilled a real sense of professionalism into all team members so that no guests would ever encounter any issues. Most of the workers onsite are women, who are typically more open-minded than males, who may tend to follow the stereotypical Central American “machisimo” culture (something we also found in Belize – see our local interview here for more details).
All in all, the Nicaraguans in Granada are open, welcoming and friendly, and this was definitely the case at Casa Lucia. They deserve the number 1 spot on Purple Roofs!
What did we love about our stay?
1. Primarily, the little touches and inclusions, and attention to detail.
- Complimentary yoga classes were a fantastic way of waking up in the morning. These classes are designed to be achievable for guests with any level of yoga experience (we had none!).
- The breakfast is ready and waiting for guests as soon as they finish their yoga class, which we felt was a lovely little touch!
- Cold water and tea and coffee available by the poolside during the day was ideal, as well as being able to serve yourself from the honesty bar.
- The service levels received were second to none. The staff are always readily available for anything that is needed, and it’s always service with a smile! We also had 2 restaurant recommendations during our stay, which turned out to be 2 of the best meals eaten in Nicaragua so far.
- The owner, Eloisa, also made a great recommendation for us to visit Coco Berry Spa to really relax. It was a lovely spa, 10 years old and one of the first to appear in Granada. We got to meet the owner, Daniela, who was lovely and told us all about how they only use natural, locally sourced products to help look after the local economy. This meant the volcanic mud we have lathered on us was in fact from one of the volcanoes we has passed by in Leon! Check Coco Berry out on Instagram!
2. We also loved the concept of the hotel.
- You can really feel the wellness aspect and focus that Eloisa has built into the property. This is showcased via the yoga classes that are included for guests, but also by the breakfast which is specifically designed to be healthy, local food, a great way to start your day off!
- The hotel also has a “no plastic” concept. Apart from plastic bottles brought to refill at the poolside there is no plastic elsewhere in the hotel.
- Part of this wellness concept is the escapism – most guests do leave during the day so if you wanted to spend a day poolside, it was extremely peaceful, tranquil and relaxing.
3. The design features.
- Despite being fully renovated, the hotel holds onto the colonial charm, and rustic feel. The walkway through from reception gives the impression you are escaping to your own little sanctuary.
- The entire property is immaculately decorated, and it’s such a nice touch that all furniture is handmade here in Nicaragua, supporting the local community and keeping up with the sustainability concept.
4. The safety and security aspect.
- Being such a small and private property, everything felt very safe and secure. We didn’t feel the need to keep checking our belongings, and constantly checking that the door was locked.
- The rooms were equipped with a safe though, in case you wanted to lock away any valuables.
- Access to the hotel is via a constantly manned, locked front gate. To enter guests ring the front door bell. This means no unwanted visitors can just wander into the hotel!
Casa Lucia really is a little escape to paradise for anyone wanting to visit Granada. If you want somewhere to relax, rejuvenate, and recharge then this is definitely the place to choose. And being a gay friendly hotel too, why would you choose anywhere else?
Let us know about your experiences of gay friendly hotels in the comments section below.
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