On the Wish List

A Bohemian Beauty: Tribal Hotel, Nicaragua

by Jeralyn Gerba

Night falls on Tribal Hotel's interior courtyard. All photos courtesy of Tribal Hotel.

On the Wish List is a new feature about the hotels and destinations that Fathom editors are adding to their ever-growing agenda. (AKA We Can't Wait.) Sometimes the spots are new, sometimes they're renovations, and sometimes they're just finally on our radar. First up: Tribal Hotel in Granada, NicaraguaEditorial director Jeralyn Gerba (who spent her honeymoon in Nicaragua) got the lowdown from owner Jean-Marc Houmard.


A beautifully decorated bohemian outpost in the sleepy colonial city of Granada, Nicaragua, is the new object of my affection. Opened by Jean-Marc Houmard (of NYC's Indochine and Acme) and business partner Yvan Cussigh, the seven-room Tribal Hotel is low-key and tropical and tastefully in-line with the country's modest vibe. How modest? Rooms are $110-$185 a night.


Houmard learned about Granada through Cussigh, who fell in love with the rustic community on the banks of Lake Nicaragua several years ago. "It's a place where people get around by horse carriages and ox carts. There's very little road infrastructure, making it tougher to access than the towns and cities of, say, Costa Rica." That it's hard to reach made it a more appealing destination for a retreat.


The two friends conceptualized and designed every aspect of the hotel personally. "Every detail — from candle holders to couches to stairwells — was thought of by us," Houmard told me. "We drew the building and designed every piece of furniture." They sourced local blacksmiths, fabricators, and woodworkers to create tables, chairs, handmade tiles, and pool loungers; Houmard brought suitcases of design collectibles, fabrics, pillows, and art from NY and elsewhere to give the hotel a global, lived-in feel. See the slideshow.


Nicaragua is for those who love the sense of discovery. "It's a new destination in a way, because it hasn't been ruined yet by mass tourism. You have to be okay with traveling 45 minutes on a bumpy, unpaved road. Do not expect luxury. Do expect good design and affordable prices. And monkeys and bugs and surprise adventures."


Tribal Hotel is 50 minutes from Augusto C├ęsar Sandino International Airport (MGA) in Managua, and 90 minutes from the beaches of San Juan del Sur and the Costa Rica border.

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.