Granada ’s midrange and upscale hotels offer remarkable value, each striving to offer an authentic but unique colonial experience with all the amenities. In this price range and above expect hot water, air-conditioning, private bathrooms, cable TV, artsy decor, and the ubiquitous open-air central patio with small swimming pool.
Casa San Francisco (kitty-corner to the Convento San Francisco, tel. 505/2552-8235, csfgranada [at] yahoo [dot] com, www.casasanfrancisco.com , $45–55) is a charming colonial cluster of 13 decorated rooms with breakfast included. Run by a couple of dynamic and well-traveled ex–Peace Corps volunteer sisters, Casa San Francisco features a small pool and is located in a quiet and central neighborhood. You’ll also find a great on-site restaurant and bar.
A few blocks up Calle Corrales from Casa San Francisco, look for Bohemian Paradise (tel. 505/2552-0286, www.seecentralamerica.com , $60), a small, high-quality retreat in a surprisingly quiet neighborhood, whose handful of über-comfortable rooms around a small garden are excellent (guests rave about the quality of the mattresses and sheets). Most basic services are available (including parking and laundry) except a bar and restaurant, since the owners encourage guests to explore the city; great for small groups, gay friendly.
Hotel Patio del Malinche (Calle El Caimito, 2.5 blocks east of the central plaza, tel. 505/2552-2235, www.patiodelmalinche.com , $75) is Catalan-owned and very comfortable. Fifteen rooms surround a huge patio, bar, and pool.
Better for families in this price range is Hotel Casa Capricho (Calle El Arsenal, a block east of Convento San Francisco, tel. 505/2552-8422, www.casacapricho.com , $55), with 11 rooms, a kitchen, a dining room, and common areas; it’s colorful and pleasant.
Hotel con Corazón (Calle Santa Lucia 141, tel. 505/2552-8852, www.hotelconcorazon.com , $60–67) has Scandinavian styling and a noble mission: In addition to a hotel this is a foundation that invests heavily in the community, particularly in education. They have a cute little pool, 16 comfortable rooms with air-conditioning, ceiling fans, and TV, plus an on-site restaurant, making it hard not to recommend.
Finally in this class are two legitimate hotels, not restored colonial houses: Hotel Alhambra (northwest corner of the central plaza, tel. 505/2552-4486, www.hotelalhambra.com.ni , $60–90) was Granada ’s first luxury hotel and has the best spot in town, right on the park. Built around a gorgeous, landscaped patio, its 56 newly remodeled rooms (some with pleasing balcony views) have air-conditioning, TV, private bath, hot water, kitchenette, exposed wood beams, and tasteful decorations. The whole place has a classy, mahogany ambience.
Hotel Colonial (20 meters west of the park’s northwest corner, tel. 505/2552-7299, www.nicaragua-vacations.com , $60-75) is newer, with 37 clean, well-appointed rooms surrounding an outdoor patio, pool, and bar.