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“NIcaragua, Montelimar is a secret jewel!”
Review of Barcelo Montelimar

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Barcelo Montelimar
Reviewed 25 June 2007

We just returned from Barcelo Montelimar Beach in Nicaragua. We took our whole family.

It was truly beautiful, clean and the staff was just wonderful. It was extremely safe.

It is not a 5 star hotel, quite primitve in the rooms but they were clean and roomy. Some bathrooms in the bungleows have been redone. The beauty around makes up for this short fall.

I would highly recommend to everyone including families. The bungelows were perfect and would recommend requesting them instead of the main hotel.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled on business
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8  Thank LuvNicaragua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 June 2007

If you are ready for a vacation with miles and miles of deserted beaches lined with hammocks in the shade, this is the spot for you. We visited the Barcelo in late May 2007; this is the rainy season but we only experienced one late afternoon shower that cut short our beach time. But who cared--the bungalow had a hammock and 2 wooden rockers to pass the time. The resort's landscaping is beautiful and lush. The rooms were nice but older.

Because of the small number of people at the resort, the a la carte restaurants were closed but the buffet food was good. The freshly squeezed orange juice each morning was fabulous. The fruit was fresh and sweet--pineaples, papaya, watermelon. My husband had a great steak one evening--at the buffet. There was always plenty of variety at the buffet. The pool snack bar had decent chicken sandwiches and hamburgers. Try the macau--lemon juice, guava juice and rum! I liked mine better without the sugar.

Knowing some Spanish will be helpful but the staff liked to practice their English and found someone that spoke English if necessary.

The mini-golf was fun--it could use some new carpeting on a few holes. There were several peacocks that liked to hang around the mini-golf area. On one hole, the peacock stood on the ledge near the hole until we hit our 2nd shot!

Make sure to walk to the casino during the day--the views are incredible.

The staff was extremely friendly. We felt welcome and safe at the resort.

  • Stayed: May 2007, travelled with family
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12  Thank psu2kids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 March 2007

It was our second time traveling to Nicaragua, and I have to say that tourism is picking up. My family and I traveled in January 2007,
we had heard great things about Hotel Barcelo Montelimar and I have to say it was worth it. Our experience was great, we loved the service, the bungalow we stayed at, the great atmosphere the friendly staff..

We loved the fact that the beach was just a couple of steps away. Although we were not too crazy about the food.....overall our stay was excellent. I would greatly recommend it.

15  Thank Dolly C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2007

Nicaragua is somewhat of a different vacation destination for a variety of reasons. To our knowledge, there is currently only one all inclusive resort (Montelimar) and Montreal (Quebec) is the only departure point offering an all-inclusive package. During our trip, we encountered several American citizens using direct flights from Atlanta and Miami. Conversations with them suggest they negotiated the hotel component separately. Our assessment is based on an-all inclusive package vacation. Our total cost for a one week trip was less than $1,900.00 (Canadian) for two people. The facilities are more than 10 years old and some parts of the resort do show their age. There is a new manager and we gather a number of changes have already occurred. Concerning the results of their recent elections, we observed no changes that affect tourists at this time. If anything, we were told the current government has a desire to grow the tourism industry. With respect to the question of personal security, we have always felt totally secure both on and off the site.

We first visited Nicaragua in 2003. This is still a rather poor (third world) country plagued with very high un-employment. We have found that the people are rather friendly and not having been over-exposed to large quantities of foreign visitors have not developed the strong aggressive sales approach towards us. We have circulated through most of the typical tourist and non-tourist areas of the country and have never felt in danger. Needless to say, a tourist should always be on his/her guard. One strong recommendation is to avoid flashy displays of wealth, as in any poor area. Your diamond ring(s), Rolex watch, etc. can be the equivalent value of several years salary. To think there are no pickpockets or robbers out there would be foolish! The local currency is Cordobas (exchange rate 18 to $1 US dollar - at time of visit). Generally, if you have small US denomination bills you should not encounter any problems.

We have never experienced less than 90 degree weather (+/- 30 plus for fellow Canadians) during our stays. It can get very humid especially as you move towards the latter part of March. Rain has never been a problem during our trips at this time of the year.

The airport is new and an extremely modern facility. Custom procedures are relatively fast. There is a tourist entry/exit visa that must be completed and a $5.00 US entry fee per person. It is included in the Montreal package but when we arrived we had to pay . We received a refund from the tour representative once at the resort. Currently, there is no departure tax. Since our initial visit, a lot of work has taken place to clean up Managua which was incredibly dirty.

The bus ride is basically 90 minutes in a modern European touring bus (Mercedes ). You first get to see a a portion of Managua. The country side is quite interesting. The hotel is off on its own with only the small fishing village of Masachapa close by. The resort include hotel rooms and bungalows spread over several acres. It is so large that a little train (tractor pulled wagon) circulates through the site. We have stayed in both and have never had reason to complain about their size, amenities, cleanliness, etc. There is a safety box, however should you loose the key, it will cost you $40.00 US. Generally, there is a good supply of hot water but during our most recent visit, the area suffered a major power failure (one day) and a problem occurred with the onsite generators. The staff did good work to facilitate the inconvenience. Other than a lack of a hot morning shower, we were not really affected. The pool was still very inviting!

The grounds are lush with tropical plants including numerous fruit trees. They are in the process of installing an automatic sprinkler system. Every morning, a large group of groundskeepers were hard at work. The main pool is extremely large with a snack and beverage bar situated in the middle. Pool chairs can become competitive to find, if you are a late riser. Many are not equipped with soft cushions, hence they can be very hard to sit on for extended periods. Also, many chairs have towels on them but appear unused for long periods of time. Should you lose your blue towel (you need to hand one in to get your towel card back), the hotel will charge you for it. We overheard several people suggest they lost theirs, so they simply took someone else’s. True or not, what can we say? There is always the large Jacuzzi with a good supply of chairs, as well as other smaller pools that are generally less popular. The beach extends for miles and there are numerous shaded areas and bars to replenish your preferred libations. If you enjoy long walks along the beach, you can literally do so for miles. Other than a little flea market where you can purchase some souvenirs ( they are not expensive), it is virtually undeveloped. If you choose to stay on site all week you will not get bored. There is a little zoo, pool tables, bikes, a mini putt, water sports, the animators and a few other options to select from. As others have already reported, the condition of some equipment is not always the best. Towards the end of the day, you can typically take in an impressive sunset. The beach is by far the best location. It sets quickly, so make sure to be there at least a few minutes early.

Food is somewhat of a personal thing but this is our take. We find no fault with the quality and variety of the food both at the main buffet restaurant and the theme restaurants. The buffet is a large open style facility overlooking the ocean and a basic dress code is in effect. In addition no wet bathing suits are permitted. When they refer to several restaurants, the theme restaurants are actually three in one. You must reserve and are entitled to go twice during a one week stay. The difference is only in the main course. The entrees, etc. are buffet style. For the main course you select from Nicaraguan, Spanish or Seafood menus. You must select which menu when reserving, however they appear to be flexible once in the dinning room (if your group has different eating preferences). Snack bars are in our view, a soft point in most resorts with the food generally not being of a high quality. This one is much better than many others we have experienced. In the evening, there is a show which we would rate as middle quartile when compared to other resorts we have visited. There is always the casino, if you like that type of action. The staff speaks varying levels of English and French but are primarily Spanish speaking. If given the chance, they are very obliging and will do a lot to ensure you enjoy your vacation.

Tipping is optional and from what we were told the money they receive is divided by the team leader between the staff working as a team at the end of their shift. We never felt pressured for tips or observed differences in the quality of service. The staff do their best to make sure drinks are served in proper order. People are asked to form a line. If you decide to give a person a personal gift, they will require a note. Many of the staff work six days a week and put in up to 12 hour per day. We were told wages can be as low as $200.00 per month and these are considered good jobs by their standards. What you choose to do is your decision.

Speaking of language, the main source of North American tourists during the prime November-March season come from Quebec, a predominantly French speaking province, This trip we encountered many more long term visitors. More hotels appear to be catering to this growing segment as more retirees are showing a greater interest in this type of retirement lifestyle. Overall, a lot of the guests are 55 plus. Weekends are a busy time when many richer Nicaraguans come to the facility. Finally, it also appears to offer day passes and it was most noticeable on Sunday.

The main tour reps Nancy and Yves (Yvan to the locals) are excellent. They can be better described as courteous hosts receiving you in their home than simply good representatives. They are trilingual. They are supported by a number of local tour guides, many of which have worked on site for several years.

If you are into historic sites to visit, Granada a Spanish colonial town is a must see. If you are into eco-tourism, a variety of other options are available to you. A popular one is an active volcano. You can even organize personalized individualized taxi tours. If you are English speaking, Marcos is excellent . Many (if not all) of the local guides are university educated and they provide great insight into their country’s history and culture. The trips are in our view very economical and highly recommended. This year, they added a 2 hour bus tour ( they use the staff bus - a converted school bus) to Masachapa for $6.00 US per person. It is well worth the visit. There are also bike taxis at the main gate, if you wish to go there on your own at your convenience. Generally, they charge $10.00 US per couple return but like anything else, you can negotiate or at least try to. If you go on the big Monday tour, you will visit the local school (a fence divides you from the school yard but there are many holes) and the children will come to see you. If you bring little gifts you will be richly rewarded. We were told that the Principal is normally there to monitor the situation. The day we went, she was not and many of the older children used their size to gain advantage over the younger ones. Be prepared to be swarmed by groups of kids if there is no proper supervision. Some kids can get a little aggressive if they think they will miss out.

At the risk of appearing to preach, please consider the following. It may or may not apply specifically to this case but they are generally good guidelines that have been pointed out to us during our travels. When dealing with children in very poor areas, sugar coated treats such as candies are often not a good idea. Many families simply cannot afford toothbrushes or toothpaste. Also, distributing gum (a favoured treat by many children) to pre-schoolers is not necessarily a good decision. Many young children have not yet learned that you do not swallow such a treat. Things like pencils and other little school supplies receive a lot of appreciation. Again, these observations are only an attempt to share some pointers we received along the way and not a desire to tell you what to do. Hope they help.

As indicated at the start, Nicaragua is a very poor country that is not a prime tourist destination. For someone looking for an all-inclusive package that virtually ensures sun and heat as well as, a different culture and ecology, you might want to consider this destination. This is not an upper quartile 4 star resort as faults can be found but again this year, we consider we believe we received very good value for our travel dollar.

Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes for a safe and pleasant trip/vacation.

  • Stayed: February 2007, travelled as a couple
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46  Thank Freedoomtravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2007

While we did manage to enjoy ourselves during our 5 days at Montelimar Nicaragua (2 adults and 2 children--ages 5 and 7), it was definitely not worth the money and we clearly won't go back. And there were some annoyances that we disappointing and frustrating.

We had spent the past 2 years visiting Decameron in Panama, which is cheaper and FAR SUPERIOR to the Barcelo Montelimar. In our book, they are not even in the same league. In US terms, the Decameron Panama is like a very very nice Marriott or Hilton resort in Florida--not top of the line but close to it and an extremely good value. On the other hand, the Barcelo Montelimar was like a big Super 8. A little too shabby (and we've not high-end travel snobs) and not as friendly.

The Barcelo Montelimar in Nicaragua had a few pros and more cons--particulary given the price. Here's some specifics:

PROS
1. The beach is lovely--wide sandy beach with shallow water safe for the kids and great surf and boogey boarding. Plus it was completely empty of any other guests, touts, bugs, or other annoyances. This was the highlight for sure.
2. One afternoon, there was a very nice sunset bonfire and dance by the resorts entertainment group.

CONS
1. The place is shabby. My 7 year old son and I played the large outdoor chess game near the main pool: the tiles on the chessboard were broken; the chess pieces were broken, and there were dangerous metal objects and rubbish and debris nearby that barefoot children were vulnerable too.
2. More shabbiness: the beach chair mats were faded, stained, ripped--I'd say 80%. Not that inviting.
3. The grounds--while peaceful and lush with vegetation--were not well groomed or well maintained. Yet more shabbiness.
4. The "free" games included in the all-inclusive price were mysteriously not available: management told us darts were broken; archery arrows were missing; chess board broken, and the number of boogey boards was never enough to match who wanted to use them. But, voila, the games that cost $5/hour extra were miraculously all available--billiards and bicycles. We did complain to management that all the "free" games were broken and unavailable, and he did give us free use of the billard table. But we noticed he did that just for us who complained. They quietly and eagerly collected $5/hour from everyone else.
5. The nightly entertainment was pathetic--much worse than Decameron. Not all that well organized.
6. The food was OK--what you expect from big buffets. The Ocean Restaraunt outside patio eating areas were always dirty--falling leaves, dirt on the floors, wrappers, paper etc. The wait staff was not uniformly friendly either.
7. When we checked in, they placed us in Area 500--the furthest point away. Yet the place seemed only half-full and they never had a good explanation as to why we couldn't stay closer to the pool area (even though we had booked 3 months in advance with Barcelo directly and had special requests for this logged at time of booking).
8. The kioks and shops at the resort were often closed when they were supposed to be open, and the retail staff was mostly indifferent--never friendly. Not clear if they were independent merchants or part of the resort operation.
9. The restaurant advertised that lunch was served, but in fact the only lunch is bad hamburgers and hotdogs at the pool snack bar.

Overall Nicaragua was wonderful and we wished we had simply stayed in Granada and enjoyed the amazing diversity of people, places, and wildlife. If you're looking for an all-inclusive, this is the only game in town in Nicaragua. So if all-inclusive and the beach is your primary destination, check out Panama or Costa Rica instead.

That's our view anyhow.

Tim

  • Stayed: March 2007, travelled with family
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15  Thank Worldview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Barcelo Montelimar

Address: Carretera a Masachapa, Km. 65, San Rafael del Sur 01262, Nicaragua
Phone Number:
Region: Nicaragua > Managua Department > San Rafael del Sur
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in San Rafael del Sur
Price Range: ₹ 10,472 - ₹ 21,778 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Barcelo Montelimar 3.5*
Number of rooms: 293
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Barcelo Montelimar Beach Hotel, an All-Inclusivesystem Hotel with 88 double rooms, 203 bungalow and 2suites, is located in the Central Pacific Coast of Nicaragua,65 km from downtown Managua, 75 km from the AugustoCesar Sandino International Airport, and only 500 metersfrom its private airport.Barcelo Montelimar Beach is located nearby areas ofgreat tourist interest, some of the most noteworthy, are:the Masaya Volcano National Park (65 km), the Colonialtowns of Granada (80 km) and Leon (58km), Los MaribiosVolcanic Range, lagoons, lakes, mountains, and othernatural attractions.The Barcelo Montelimar Beach, the beach hotel byexcellence; is the only hotel in Nicaragua that offers theAll-Inclusive system. It is the ideal place to relax body andmind, in contact with nature. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Barcelo Montelimar Beach Hotel Montelimar
Montelimar Beach
Montelimar Barcelo

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