Yellow and blue patterned tiles mark the entrance of Casa Lucía Boutique Hotel & Yoga Retreat, its deep blue walls setting it apart from the other buildings on a quiet residential street in Granada, Nicaragua.
The metal door swings open and I step into the lobby, enjoying the relief from the hot Nicaraguan sun. Drenched in sweat from a morning hike around the nearby town of Masaya, I am sure I’m quite a sight as Greg Casillas, the hotel’s General Manager, comes to greet me, a bright smile filling his face. But lucky for me, Greg knows exactly what I need. He hands me a cold towel to place on my face, and pours me a glass of chilled citrus water. I can tell from this moment my stay at Casa Lucía will be more relaxing than I ever could have imagined.
“I think it’s the little things we pay attention to that make us different,” Greg says. “Every hotel room in the world is a box, but it’s what comes along with it that is the experience and the attention to detail that makes the difference.”
Casa Lucía Hotel in Granada
Located in a former private home, Casa Lucía opened as a hotel in 2013. It is owned by Eloisa and Arantxa Mayers, sisters from Bermuda and trained yoga teachers with years of experience in the luxury hospitality industry.
“We stumbled upon Nicaragua during our travels and decided this was a great place to open the boutique hotel and yoga retreat we dreamed about,” said Eloisa.
“When we saw Casa Lucía we fell in love with the property. It was the perfect canvas on which to create our hideaway boutique hotel and wellness retreat.”
Eloisa and Arantxa lovingly renovated the space, building three new bedrooms, refurbishing the interiors of the vacation apartments, tiling the swimming pool and constructing new terraces and outdoor seating areas. Today the intimate hotel has two luxury king bed suites, three deluxe guest rooms and two one bedroom apartments for long term stays.
“The inspiration was to create a boutique hotel and yoga and wellness retreat, both unique in its design and concept,” said Eloisa. “We worked with the property’s current layout instead of building something modern in its place.”
Casa Lucía Guest Rooms
During my visit, I stayed in one of the deluxe guest rooms. The room was simple, yet elegant and decorated with muted and calming colors. My favorite feature of the room was by far the bed. The orthopedic mattress was truly one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept on.
Nicaragua, with a tropical climate, is hot year round. Thankfully, all the rooms at Casa Lucía have air conditioning. The air conditioning, in combination with the room’s cool tile floors helped keep the space cool and pleasant during my stay.
The white stone bathroom fixtures gave the room an extra dose of elegance and the rainfall shower was soothing. The room felt like an oasis unto its own. French doors fitted with breezy white curtains opened up to a garden walkway. I had a private patio with a comfortable seat to sit and reflect in peace.
The common areas of the hotel are equally inviting and relaxing. In addition to the swimming pool, the property also has a breakfast nook, comfortable couches and outdoor seating and a mirador roof deck that overlooks Granada and nearby Volcano Mambacho.
Casa Lucía was the first wellness hotel and yoga retreat in the city of Granada. Complimentary morning yoga classes take place daily on the property’s yoga shala, an outdoor platform with wood flooring.
During my stay Greg led my yoga class, focusing on helping me start my day by transitioning from sleep to awake through gentle and deep stretching and twisting. After an hour of listening to Greg’s soothing voice and following along with his poses, both my mind and body felt relaxed and ready to begin a day of sightseeing.
Greg says yoga classes here are about more than just a session of yoga; they are about healing and learning things you can take back with you.
“We like to focus on what you learn on vacation,” Greg said. “What can a guest bring back with them from their time with us?”
The hotel’s renovation drew inspiration from Mediterranean and Moorish architecture styles, however in many respects the hotel remains distinctly Nicaraguan.
The roofs here are all fitted with Caña Brava, a reed native to Nicaragua that is utilized due to its ability to allow heat to escape. This reed is an important part of traditional Nicaraguan style buildings.
Another feature that is typical of Nicaraguan architecture is tile floors. The rooms and lobby of Casa Lucía are all fitted with tiles hand crafted by Favilli Tiles. The tile factory, operated by Italian immigrants, is just down the street from the hotel. Casa Lucía recently became the first hotel in Granada to use wall tiles, as seen in the Heliconia Suite.
Each room is also fitted with unique ceramic objects hand crafted by Nicaraguan artisans as well as art work from the country.
But perhaps the most authentically Nicaraguan feature is its spaces that allow for and encourage socialization and connecting with nature.
“Nicaragua is a very social country,” said Greg. “Here there is a lot of pride in the family base and multi-generations live together in households. We mirror this by having outdoor spaces and seating that promotes conversation.”
Breakfast at Casa Lucía
Indeed, both mornings during breakfast the communal table invited comfortable conversation with the other guests. Usually when I go to a hotel alone I do not have the opportunity to interact with other guests, but here I did. It was a welcome change to get to know the other people staying at the hotel and hear about their travel experiences.
Speaking of breakfast, Casa Lucía serves a complimentary healthy breakfast every morning prepared with fresh ingredients.
“Our meals are farm to table,” said Greg. “We like to serve simple food that marries together ingredients in a unique way so that you have something you’ve never had before.”
Case in point, on my final morning I was served french toast stuffed with cinnamon cream cheese and banana, topped with passion fruit syrup.
A Central Location
After filling up on a delicious breakfast, Casa Lucía’s central location made it easy to explore the city of Granada. The hotel is just a ten minute walk from the main cathedral and Calle La Calzada, the city’s most happening street that is home to a variety of restaurants, bars and shops.
Granada is also located close to many of Nicaragua’s must-see attractions such as Masaya and Mombacho Volcanos and Laguna de Apoyo, so Casa Lucía makes for a great base to explore outside the city center as well.
Outstanding Customer Service
What impressed me most about Casa Lucía was the staff’s attention to detail and efforts for my personal comfort. Greg is energetic and always around to help, whether it be bringing me more purified water, leading a yoga class or helping me decide where to go on a day trip. It comes as no surprise that Casa Lucía won the Traveller’s Choice Award for Best Hotel in Service in 2015 from Trip Advisor.
“I am proud to say we have built a reputation for this since first opening in 2013,” said Eloisa. “This sets a new precedent in the standard of service for hotels in Granada and Nicaragua, and we are a stand-out boutique hotel known for going to the extra mile to make our clients happy.
Casa Lucia Yoga Boutique Hotel & Yoga Retreat
There is something for everyone at Casa Lucía. The hotel offers two one bedroom vacation apartments on property where guests can stay for an extended period of time learning Spanish or volunteering in the community. Business travelers, families and vacationers will enjoy the appealing location, amenities of a boutique hotel and the peace and privacy of a yoga retreat. To book your stay, visit www.casaluciagranada.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: I was provided with a complimentary stay at Casa Lucía, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.