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Hotel El Convento, León

Unlikely art: Mary à la Warhol in a former convent
In the heart of León, Nicaragua, the Hotel El Convento is located in what used to be the Convento de San Francisco, dating from the 17th century. Refurbished as a hotel in 2000, the lobby is full of colonial art and antiques--but I was a bit surprised to see this pop-art take on Mary (signed by an A. Pérez). León is a profoundly religious city, dotted with churches and frequent processions. This Warhol-inspired tetraptych: unlikely art.

Punto de Encuentro (Rendezvous Point): The Restaurant in Hotel El Convento
From the dusty street, the Hotel El Convento in León, Nicaragua, beckons with its stately façade and red Spanish-tiled roof. Step inside and you instantly feel at home amidst ornate period furnishings that are surely a far cry from the building’s humble beginnings as the 1639 San Francisco Convent. The elegant Restaurante El Victoriano offers an indoor-outdoor retreat centered on the hotel’s manicured, tropical courtyard—an example of the colonial hacienda style found throughout León. The restaurant is a meeting place for people from all walks of life—aged former Sandinistas who now hold positions of leadership, locals splurging on a fine meal, or foreign students from one of the city’s many Spanish language schools seeking tranquility and an excellent cup of coffee.

Lunch In The Convent Gardens
If you are in Leon, this place is a lot of fun for lunch. If you like architecture, it's a good place for photos (kind of like El Convento in San Juan). Both convents have been adaptively reused as hotels and restaurants in very tasteful ways. It's a fun place to explore the lobby, hallways, and the dining area is traditional and classy. It was extremely slow when we went for lunch, so we had excellent service and the three course meal was delicious. Again, I was traveling through Leon with locals and every recommendation they made was great.

We did not stay here for the night, but the hotel is in a great area, and most of Leon is within walking distance. Nearby, they was an amazing art school where the students were restoring historic paintings which we were able to watch through the open doors.

3era. Avenida NO y 1era. calle NO, Del Parque Central 2 cuadras al Oeste, 1/2 cuadra al Norte, León 21000, Nicaragua
+505 2311 7053