In my search for places to stay in Granada, Nicaragua with high ratings and low prices, Selina Granada caught my eye.
The listing had bright and colourful professional photos, with trendy, contemporary rooms. Although it’s marketed as a hostel, private rooms are available. The design-oriented property offers group social spaces catered for the modern traveller and/or digital nomad. In the photos, I saw Eames style chairs, woven egg-shaped “Acapulco” patio chairs, cactus, pineapple, banana, and monstera leaf artwork, and cool, modern cushions on every bed.
Best of all, it was a very affordable $28CAD/night via booking.com for a basic private double room. I was sold!
We stayed at Selina Granada for three nights and loved it. The location beside Granada’s Parque Central, steps away from the horse drawn carriages and famous yellow cathedral, cannot be beat – 10/10 for location! Their reception desk is also a one-stop shop for all the main excursions and activities in Granada, like the Mombacho Volcano Tour, or a day trip to Laguna Apoyo. They also have a daily yoga class (sometimes acroyoga) on their third-floor deck; we took a sunset hatha class for $5USD (which includes the mat rental).
The food and drink available for purchase is catered towards the health conscious millennial (think: smoothie bowls and ‘detox water’) and healthy dishes incorporating ingredients like cauliflower, kale, and avocado. There’s a water cooler at reception, so bring your water bottle and be sure to fill up for free – something very useful when you’re travelling in a developing country where tap water isn’t safe to drink. We didn’t buy bottled water once in Granada because of the free water from Selina Granada.
Although the communal areas of Selina Granada are really well done, the room we stayed in was tiny with no windows. The double room was barely big enough to fit both our backpacks when we unpacked. On the bright side, the pillows were fluffy and there was both a ceiling fan and aircon. “This is our new normal,” says Steve, “get used to it.” And I did get used to it. By night #3, the small room was beginning to feel like home, and we found ways to strategically stack our belongings. My only suggestion would be for Selina Granada to put mirrors in the room, so you don’t have to go to the shared bathrooms to put in your contact lenses or do your makeup.
I did some more research on Selina, and turns out it is indeed a rapidly-expanding Latin American hotel chain with a millennial target market — or the young at heart — especially digital nomads who are seeking coworking space. They also have locations in Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, with a plan to open 30 locations in Mexico over the next two years. Apparently their thing is to buy existing boutique properties, and upgrade and re-brand them with a fun vibe to attract the modern traveller.
I really like this niche I found in Selina; hostels have stereotypically been party hubs for young travellers, but I appreciate that the Selina chain is more focused on the work-and-play cultural lifestyle side of fun, rather than just the partying.
If the experience (and good value) at Selina Granada is a reflection of what we can expect to find at its other locations, I hope to specifically seek out the Selina hotels again as we travel onwards to Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia.
We stayed at Selina Granada in February 2018 for three nights. We paid $28CAD / night for a Double Room with Shared Bathrooms via booking.com.