Calle Cuiscoma, Granada, Nicaragua
This intimate boutique property, where a stay feels like a private escape to a fashionable friend's summer home, brings swank design to colonial Granada.
If your cool New York friends ran a boutique lodging in Nicaragua's colonial city of Granada, it might look something like the Tribal Hotel, a deluxe seven–room inn on a residential street, a few short blocks from Granada's Cathedral and Parque Central.
In fact, the owners are cool New Yorkers. Manhattan restaurateur Jean-Marc Houmard (best known for his buzzy Indochine and ACME eateries) and his business partner Yvan Cussigh opened the Tribal Hotel in 2014, and they're already attracting a diverse, international clientele. They've managed to mix stylish design with a laid–back feel that's more like a fashionable summer home than a formal hotel.
The Tribal Hotel's heart is its palm–lined courtyard, which gives the property an oasis–like feel. Lounge chairs and several private 'cabanas,' double beds draped with filmy curtains where you can retreat with a book or cuddle with your companion, surround the petite courtyard swimming pool. Though too small for real laps, the pool is refreshing for quick dunks as an antidote to Granada's heat.
Adjacent to the pool, where a rustic wood–beam roof provides shelter from the sun, is a seating area—decorated with candles, stacks of magazines, and an animal skull—where guests assemble for breakfast, drinks, lounging, and socializing. Complimentary Wi–Fi is available throughout the property, though the signal is strongest in this public area, which seems to encourage guests to hang out in the common space to check their email and chat.
Five of the property's guest rooms are standard doubles, while two are slightly larger suites. All have intimate terraces overlooking the pool, and, like the pool cabanas, have white drapes and surrounding foliage for privacy. Those on the second floor are quieter and more secluded than the first–floor units.
The décor mixes elements from Granada's colonial past with Moroccan design, New York swank, and eclectic art pieces that give the property a world–beat vibe. Guest rooms are done in black and white—white linens, white platform beds, black–and–white pillows—with pops of red, orange, and gold in the throw rugs, pillows, and stretchy wire lounge chairs. Rooms keep cool with both air–conditioners and ceiling fans.
The bathrooms have large walk–in showers with slate tile, as well as small sinks with storage space in the vanity. Adjacent dressing areas provide places to lay our your luggage and a small safe for storing your valuables.
Room rates include a full breakfast, served in the courtyard lounge or delivered to your terrace. Morning meals begin with excellent local coffee (or tea), fresh fruit, and juice. The main plate is often an egg dish, like a Spanish–style tortilla or a vegetable quiche. Tribal doesn't have a full restaurant, but you can order coffee, cocktails, wine, beer, and snacks in the lounge throughout the day and evening. From the hotel, it's a few block's walk to Calle La Calzada, the pedestrian main street that's lined with restaurants and bars.
Co–owner Cussigh is regularly onsite, tending to his guests like the activities director at an exclusive summer camp. He checks on your plans for the day, suggests things to do and places to eat, arranges transportation and tours, or simply chats by the pool. And when he's not around, other members of the multilingual staff assist with questions, recommendations, and travel arrangements.
Which is exactly what your stylish and hospitable friends would do, isn't it?
Web Address: Tribal-hotel.com
Total Number of Rooms: 7
Published rates: $125-195, including breakfast but not 17% taxes. No children under 14.
Review and photos by Carolyn B. Heller.