In order to enjoy one or more of Nicaragua’s great resorts — Nekupe or Jicaro Island Ecolodge — it’s often necessary to overnight in the country’s capital, Managua. An earthquake severely damaged this lakeside city in 1972, leveling most of its center, meaning that much of Managua today dates from a less-than-soul-stirring architectural period. But even unremarkable cities sometimes have lovely hotels, and I hoped that would be the case in Managua.
Elements Hotel Boutique
Always in search of a hideaway, I first tried the 18-room Elements Hotel Boutique, a relatively new property near Managua’s most upscale shopping mall as well as numerous bars and restaurants. A friendly barman served us dinner at the poolside restaurant, where we were the only guests aside from a quinceañera (15th birthday) party. My whole fried red snapper was delicious as well as inexpensive. Our Executive Room, the largest option, had a stylish stone-tile accent wall behind the bed, which was flanked by two colorful hanging lamps. Seating was limited to a desk chair and an armchair. The dimly lit bath had an immense shower stall and plenty of counter space around its single vanity. Alas, the towels and bathmat were thin and scratchy, and the soundproofing was nonexistent.