A Twitter Trip Report Of Calala Island (Bookable With Hyatt Points)

Filed Under: Hotels, Hyatt

In late November we broke the news on how you could redeem World of Hyatt points at a private island resort in Nicaragua that retails for $2,350+ per night. The reason this redemption suddenly became possible is because Hyatt has a partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH), and this hotel belongs to that and was recently added to the Hyatt partnership.

So you can redeem 40,000 World of Hyatt points per night here for an all inclusive stay, and the property has just four private villas. It even includes the domestic flights within Nicaragua, the boat ride to the hotel, the food and drinks, and more.

Obviously demand has been huge, to the point that the hotel is nearly sold out for the entire next year.

Twitter user @utahshane shares his experience with the resort, having just wrapped up a stay. As far as I know he’s one of the first people to have stayed here using Hyatt points. He wrote a trip report in an unconventional format — on Twitter. You can click here to read the entire Twitter thread… just be ready to scroll.

Below I’ll share just a few of the things that he shared that I find most interesting. His observations seem good and level-headed, though obviously different people have different tastes, so I could imagine other people will stay here and have vastly different impressions, both for better and worse.

It seems the biggest negative of this place is the logistics of getting there — first you have to fly to Managua, then you have to take a domestic flight, then you have to take a short drive to the port, and then it’s about a two hour ride on a tiny boat to the resort, including 75-90 minutes down a river, and then 20-30 minutes in the open ocean.

A few other things stood out to me:

  • Apparently the GMs are a South African couple, and are absolutely lovely
  • While the island doesn’t have air conditioning, the guest never felt hot in the bungalow
  • The rooms are very “open,” with no weather seals, so there are some bugs, ants, etc., roaming around
  • Massages are the only thing you’ll pay for on the island, at the cost of $85 per hour
  • While there’s a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu, they’ll prepare you just about anything you like; the dinner menu changed daily, while the other menus didn’t
  • The food was allegedly good, but “nothing to brag about”
  • The color of the water on the website is a bit deceiving, and “water is fairly nice with some blues and greens, but nothing like what you see in Bahamas or other Caribbean islands or even Cancun”

So, would he return?

Probably not. Yes, the value proposition of cpp valuation is high, but the opportunity cost wasn’t there for me for 40K/points/night.

It was a novelty trip to stay on private island, but I can list dozens of places I enjoy better for less points.

I hate comparing vacations. But I would rather go to Bora Bora, Maldives, or Necker 1000x more than go back to Calala.

That doesn’t mean I hated Calala, it was a great memory and a great trip. But they are not even comparable in my mind to those other experiences.

The Motu view at Bora Bora is unbeatable at the IC or SR Bora Bora. The SR Maldives is by far the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed at as far as room and architecture.

And Necker completely stands on its own. I’ve been 3x and still my all-time favorite.

Calala has nothing notable.

Bottom Line

Thanks to Shane for his very interesting take on this trip. I actually found the Twitter trip report format to be pretty cool too.

I think this is probably in line with what I was expecting from this resort.

The logistics of getting there sound complicated, and to some the boat ride may even be a reason not to go. I’d view that part of the trip as an adventure, even if it’s not necessarily that enjoyable.

I’m not surprised to hear that this is a different kind of experience than your typical luxury resort, even on a private island. This will be nothing the St. Regis Maldives, though there most definitely is a novelty to being on an all inclusive island with just four bungalows.

I’m booked to visit in March, and still plan on going.

How does this compare to what you were expecting of Calala Island? Does this report change whether or not you plan on visiting?

Comments
  1. Thanks for this. I canceled my reservation due to the following reasons:

    – Almost 100% of reviews on TA were from Britts, many of whom “won” the stay at a charity auction
    – Nobody I talked to who stays at $3k-5k per night hotels (Brando, Laucala, North Island, etc.) had ever heard of this property
    – In the end, Parrot Cay or Amanyara seem like far superior resorts
    – I don’t value the privacy that much; happy to have a nicer place with 20 rooms

    Looking forward to Lucky’s review!

  2. writing TRs on twitter is the frequent flyer world’s equivalent to filming vertically, please do not do that Lucky.
    for the value proposition, it definitely is a good deal for people who would never even wet-dream about staying in a 2k-per-night resort. For anyone who goes to Bora Bora IC and equivalent on a bi-yearly basis, not too much in this world can make them produce a gasping sesation any more, let alone an enthusiastically ecstatic review. I struggle to even explain the value of miles to some rich clients, who would not even credit their first class flights, so imagine convincing them to redeem points on the best value! This all comes down to the points and how one wishes to use them.

  3. @Raj I believe it was. The author talked about the value of the stay in terms of points per dollar, and then he spoke about the opportunity cost for him of forgoing 40k points per night, and decided the 40k for him was not worth it. Those points would have been used for something else (i.e. Park Hyatt Paris), hence, the cost of using them for this opportunity 🙂

  4. @Daniel Perhaps you are right? But it sounded as if the opportunity cost to use the 40k elsewhere WAS significant…. he stayed here while costing him his (significant) opportunity to better-use his 40k elsewhere.

    Could argue that using 40k in any manner really has a high opportunity cost… because there are many valuable 40k options out there.

  5. No air condition in the tropics sounds crazy to me. Day time may be fine but at night I like to sleep in an air conditioned room not tossing back and forth in my bed counting sheep!

    Taking a small boat in open water sounds like a recipe for seasick. With North Island you take a helicopter and with Brando you take a seaplane which are much more luxurious way to arrive than this complicated arrival process. I cannot imagine anyone paying actual cash for this resort. There are plenty other places that are very nice for $2k+/ night.

  6. Booked for August, but eagerly awaiting your March TR to see if I will cancel beforehand the 90 day deadline.

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