San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Contempo: Chic boutique outside Managua

The word “chic” and Managua aren’t exactly synonymous. No disrespect to Nicaragua’s spread-out capital city, but, as with most Central American capitals, chic isn’t exactly the descriptor that comes to mind.

But Hotel Contempo, on the outskirts of bustling Managua, embodies chic. From its inconspicuous location in a quiet neighborhood to its stylish interior of gleaming white tiles, opaque pillars, high ceilings and plush decor, Contempo looks more like a contemporary art museum than an 18-room boutique hotel.

“Contempo was designed to be a small hotel that offers a unique and elegant location for visitors to Nicaragua,” said Paolo Romero, Contempo’s marketing manager. “The idea was to provide tourists a luxurious stay during their first night in Managua after traveling, as well as during their last night here before leaving the country. It gives tourists a lasting impression of the high quality of locations that are available in Nicaragua.”

As for lasting impressions, Contempo is the type of place you don’t forget. The glass entryway and front doors provide a glimpse into the opulent lobby featuring sleek, inviting furniture, as well as a creamy marble-top bar with leatherback stools, a grand piano and a flat-screen television. Off the lobby sits Azul Restaurant, overlooking a small fish-filled pool and a panoramic view of the hotel’s sculpted, minimalist layout.

Contempo 2

Azul Restaurant. Courtesy of Hotel Contempo

To the left of the entryway are the guest rooms, the undeniable jewels of Contempo. Each has its own distinctive layout and design and is named after a different traditional Nicaraguan city, landscape or slice of folklore.

“Each room gives a different perspective on the history and culture of Nicaragua,” Romero said. “Rooms named after landscapes have artwork from those regions. The ones named after leaders and royalty are designed with a more regal feel. The layout and design of each room was carefully crafted during construction.”

Contempo opened in 2009, funded and designed by Guatemalan owners. In addition to offering luxury accommodations in the capital, the hotel hosts a variety of events, such as concerts, formal dinners, business conferences, cocktail parties, automotive shows, baby showers and weddings. Romero said weddings at Contempo are particularly in vogue, and some months the hotel hosts a wedding every weekend.

“We are a small hotel, so the entire wedding party rents out the rooms,” Romero said. “There is a rehearsal dinner at the restaurant on Friday, wedding on Saturday and reception here that night.”

While the interior is lavish, most weddings are held outside in the immaculate back patio, alongside the narrow pool and Jacuzzi. The fenced-in patio provides a beach-like escape from the city streets; comfortable lawn chairs line the pool with umbrellas for shade and poolside service for a day of relaxation.

Contempo 3

Mango room. Courtesy of Hotel Contempo

As for meals, Paris-trained chef David Dafonte mixes French recipes with Nicaraguan and Latin flavors at Contempo’s Azul Restaurant. From steaks and seafood to vegetarian dishes and traditional gallo pinto, the restaurant offers something to satisfy every palate.

Packing a wealth of visual appeal and elegance into a small property, Hotel Contempo manages to be posh yet quaint and cozy at the same time – a truly unique option for discerning travelers in Managua.

Going There

Hotel Contempo is 11 kilometers south of downtown Managua, off the main highway to Masaya and Granada, in Residencial Las Praderas.

Rates vary by season, but are generally around $125 double occupancy.

For information and reservations, call (505) 2264-9160, email or visit

Comments are closed.