Granada, was founded in 1524 by the conquistador Francisco Hernández de Córdoba. It is the oldest colonial city in mainland America, and Hotel Alhambra is the oldest hotel in the city.
In 1898, an Italian by the name Don Hercules Ferretti took a two-story colonial-style house and opened Granada’s first hotel. Don Herculiche, as he was known, dressed in a white shirt and wore a black tie. He could always be found at the bar located off the main entrance hall, personally attending to his clientele. As was the fashion, he measured every ounce of alcohol before giving it to Arnoldo or Icabalceta, the waiters, to be served to the hotel guests. With his thick glasses he watched in satisfaction as parishioners drunk, making sure no one left without paying for what was consumed.
The hotel continued as a small colonial house until March 23, 1953, when eleven farmers and businessmen from Granada came together to form the Alhambra refounding society. Their newly founded corporation “Granada Hotels” took over Hotel Alhambra and closed it while it underwent extensive remodeling. In January 1956 the renovations were completed and the hotel now had 57 rooms, 17 of them being suites. It opened in time to host the actors of the Mexican film Rapture in the sun, which was shot mostly in the Isletas of Granada.
In 2004, to help accommodate the boom in tourism being experienced in Granada, another remodeling took place. At the completion of this renovation, Hotel Alhambra unveiled a new colonial style façade, a luxurious lobby, and two conference rooms to accommodate the rising demand from businesses.
Throughout the years, Hotel Alhambra has had the opportunity to host many prominent guests:
- Bianca Jagger, famous Nicaraguan, and first wife of Mick Jagger, lead singer for the Rolling Stones,, visited the hotel in February of 2013.
- Japanese Imperial Highnesses, Prince Hitachi (younger brother of Emperor Akihito) and Princess Hitachi stayed at the hotel on October 4, 2005.
- President Enrique Bolaños Geyer, President of Nicaragua, visited the hotel on December 8, 2004 for the inauguration of the renovation of the facade, lobby, and conference rooms.
- The presidents of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Dr. Abel Pacheco and Enrique Bolaños Geyer (2002-06), held their sessions at the hotel on June 19, 2002.
- Dr. René Schick (1909-1966), President of Nicaragua (1963-1966) resided earlier at the hotel while acting as judge of the Court of Appeals of Granada and professor of Law at the local university.
- Curuppumullage Jinarajadasa (1875-1953), Indian philosopher who taught at world conferences. He was a small man with glasses, thin, dark, with a shaved head and a white tunic dress.
- Ruben Dario (1867-1916), renowned Nicaraguan poet and “Prince of the Castilian Language”, visited the hotel in early 1908. He was in the entourage of Nicaraguan President (1893-1909) José Santos Zelaya, who was heading to Brimont valley, on the border of Costa Rica, to meet with his Costa Rican counterpart Víquez Cleto González.
- José Bohr (1901-1994), Argentinean singer, Hollywood actor, and prolific film director.
- Don Juan Deshon (1884-1975), a pioneer of baseball in Nicaragua, came from Chinandega, with his team “Titan” in 1915 and stayed at the hotel. After playing the Granada team “America”, visitors were treated to lunch at the hotel.
We are grateful to the many individuals who came together to enhance the beauty of our hotel and city. The Alhambra refounding society consisted of Don Gabriel Lacayo Lacayo, merchant and farmer; Don Francisco Anzoategui, trade factor; Dr. Ernesto Chamorro Pasos, lawyer and farmer; Dr. Gabriel Pasos Wolff, lawyer and farmer; Don Roberto Horvilleur, farmer and industrialist; Dionisio Chamorro, farmer; Dr. Manuel Sandino Ramirez, lawyer and farmer; Don Humberto Chamorro Chamorro, farmer; Don Mario Favilli, architect; Don Camilo Mejia, merchant and farmer; and Don Miguel Bermudez Alvarez, businessman and industrialist.