Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for a chocolate spa and museum in Granada, Nicaragua.
Most of us have daydreamed about visiting a chocolate factory at some point in our childhood (or maybe even more recently). A place where you can see how chocolate is made, eat copious amounts, and even cover yourself with it. Well, what if I told you that there is a grown-up version of this magical chocolate land?
Mansion de Chocolate is a chocolate-themed hotel with a spa, museum, pool club, and chocolate-making workshops. Located in the city center of Granada, Nicaragua, Mansion de Chocolate is a choco lovers delight. I spent a full day there and it was one of the most fun indoor activities I did during my Central America backpacking trip.
Want to know what a day at the Choco Spa and Choco Museum looks like? Here it is.
9 am: Welcome
You will want to arrive bright and early for your big day of indulgence. I was warmly welcomed by the staff at the reception desk at 9 am, where they confirmed my treatment appointments for the day. If you haven’t already made a reservation, you can browse one of the treatment menus and register for one of the four Bean-to-Bar workshops held each day.
For my big day, I chose the Azteca package which included Choco Therapy, Choco Mani, and Choco Pedi. There are five different package options for chocolate treatments with combinations of facial, manicure, pedicure, therapy (body scrub) and reflexology. If being dipped in chocolate isn’t your thing, then there are plenty of other classic spa treatments.
9:30 am: Choco Therapy
Choco Therapy is a full body scrub and exfoliation with chocolate. As far as sweet dreams go – this is the jackpot! I met with my masseur and was escorted into our individual treatment rooms. Much like a traditional massage, you are provided an opportunity to disrobe in private.
After you have settled, the masseuse returns with a bowl of warm chocolate to be used as a body scrub. The chocolate is 100% organic and prepared on site. You can even taste it beforehand. The masseuse provides a light massage while rubbing it into your skin. After one side is covered, you are left to soak in the cacao goodness for ten minutes. After this, it is repeated for the other side of your body. It is optional how much you want to be covered and the masseuse will check before applying.
I found this to be an utterly unique experience. While laying in the treatment room, fully coated in chocolate, I couldn’t help but giggle to myself about how surreal the situation was. The entire process takes one hour. Following that, you can hop into one of the Choco Spa showers and rinse yourself off.
10:30 am: Choco Museum and Shop
While in between appointments, why not wander around the mansion and grounds. Tony, the concierge, will be more than happy to show you all the facilities, including the Choco Museum and Shop. He took me here to give an overview of the history of cacao in Nicaragua, a few samples of chocolate (from light to dark) as well as chocolate tea, liquors, and wine.
11:00 am: Choco Workshop
The “Beans to Bar” workshop is more than just a chocolate-making class. It is a mini-lesson in history, agriculture, cooking, and how to have fun. I had Jose as our instructor and enjoyed trading travel stories as well as playful banter during our workshop.
During the class, guests make three different chocolate drinks. Starting with dried cacao beans, we roasted them and then cracked the shells, revealing the nibs. Using mortar and pestle bowels, we ground the nibs until they were a refined into a shiny paste. With the addition of a few typical kitchen ingredients, we whipped up the traditional chocolate drinks of the Aztecs, Mayans, and Spanish. It was interesting to hear the history and tastes the difference between each.
As edible chocolate requires tempering, a more time-consuming process, we skipped a few steps in order to make our bars. Presented with the pre-made batter, guests are able to choose from a variety of nuts and spices to add into their chocolate before setting. I picked cashews. Once the batter is mixed and poured into the trays, it just needs to cool in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before you can take your bar away with you.
1:00pm: Pool Time
After a full morning of rich indulgence, you may need to take a breather. The Cacao Pool Club is the perfect place to cool down with a dip in the swimming pool or a drink at the bar. I enjoyed a $2 USD daiquiri (drink special of the day) while chilling out by the pool and enjoying the complimentary WiFi.
There are plenty of meal and snack options available too if you are feeling peckish after your treatments.
3:00 pm: Choco Mani-Pedi
The next extravagant experience is the Choco Mani-Pedi. The difference between this and a traditional Mani-Pedi is the cacao paste that is used as a skin exfoliate. Like the Choco Therapy, the batter is applied to your hands and feet, then left to soak. The end result leaves your skin feeling silky smooth and smelling delicious.
The other benefit of having a Choco Mani-Pedi is the amount of attention and time that you receive. With most standard manicures and pedicures, it usually takes anywhere from forty to sixty minutes for both treatments. As this is a treat, it’s not something that should be rushed. Which is why I appreciated the two-hour treatment at Choco Spa.
This unique place is like any others that I hadn’t encountered during my travels. At the end of my decadent day, I left feeling rejuvenated, pampered and refreshed.
Mansion de Chocolate
Mansion de Chocolate is also a chocolate-themed hotel in the heart of Granada. Each morning, hotel guests are treated to an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. All facilities and activities, including the breakfast buffet, are open to the public for day visits.
Location: Calle Atravesada (corner of Calle El Arsenal), Granada, Nicaragua
I was a complimentary guest of Hotel Mansion de Chocolate, however, my opinion is my own and will always remain unbiased in order to provide the best recommendations to my readers.
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