Entrance Calle Calzada GranadaHotel Darío is not big or flashy or trendy. But this gorgeous boutique hotel, in a 1902 mansion in the heart of Granada, is one of Nicaragua’s best places to stay. It only has 31 rooms surrounding its two courtyards, so it feels intimate and cozy. Rooms are very attractive and well-equipped though, meeting modern needs while still feeling evocative of a slower-moving time when craftsmen were in charge of building things right.

We’ve had a review of Hotel El Darío on Luxury Latin America since the Nicaragua section first went up. Every few years we do an updated revision, but this is one of those timeless properties that doesn’t really need to keep changing. At some point electronic safes went in. The TVs went flat-screen. The complimentary Wi-fi got upgraded. The things that make this place a highlight on the accommodation list though are its bones and its sense of place. Check out this video tour to see what I mean.

If you’re a light sleeper you probably want to go for one of the darker rooms facing the back courtyard rather than the brighter ones facing the noisy street—where many of the city’s liveliest bars and restaurants spill onto the pedestrian boulevard. Otherwise there’s little to complain about here: staffers speak English, the restaurant prices are reasonable, the coffee is great, and the staffers are friendly. Housekeeping oddly doesn’t replenish drinking water after the first day, but there is a convenience store across the street if you’re not traveling with a purifier.

Until a large, full-service luxury hotel comes along in Granada, which could take a while, this lovely historic hotel is the best place to stay in Nicaragua’s favorite tourist and expatriate city.

See our full review of Boutique Hotel Dario.