Nekupe Sporting Resort & Retreat —  Tiny Nicaraguan Resort with a Billion Dollar Mission

 Nekupe Resort, outdoor dining, FF&E procurement, Bray Whaler

A tiny eight room ultra-luxury resort lies at the heart of an ambitious social initiative to help Nicaragua’s poorest citizens.

The new Nekupe Sporting Resort & Retreat is a stunning eight-room sanctuary in the shadow of the Mombacho volcano, an hour and a half south of Managua.

Unlike the coastal surfing resorts, Nekupe (which means “heaven,” in the local language of Chorotega) is designed to immerse travelers in Nicaragua’s lesser-known inland activities: horseback riding through lakes and mountains, clay shooting, and sand boarding down an active volcano. It also hopes to teach visitors about the resort owners’ development goals for the area —including improving local employment opportunities, sustainable farming, and environmental stewardship. The owners have reforested 1,300 acres around their property, which had been destroyed by slash-and-burn agriculture, and designated the land as a nature reserve to conserve and regenerate local flora and fauna.

“By any measure, resort owners, Alfredo and Theresa Pellas have already transformed their home country of Nicaragua. With the help of more than 1,000 nongovernmental organizations in the U.S. and beyond, their American Nicaraguan Foundation has served 265.5 million meals; built 19,936 homes; improved the health of 2,000 severely malnourished children; provided access to clean water for 81,000 Nicaraguans; and built or improved 128 schools, 55 community centers, 13 medical clinics, and 8 computer labs. For a country that was turned upside down by political revolutions and natural disasters in the late 20th century, ANF has provided a vital economic jump-start.

In 2016 alone, ANF allocated $5.8 million in cash and $90 million worth of in-kind goods toward helping Nicaragua’s poorest communities. In its 25 years of existence, ANF’s total impact has exceeded $1.8 billion.  Now the foundation is seeking a new, innovative way to reach potential donors: through its  small, extremely luxurious resort that follows the goals of the nonprofit and offers an eco-friendly, ultra-exclusive experience.” (Ekstein, Nikki, Bloomberg News, 4-26-17)

Nekupe was designed by Siefert Murphy of Dallas, TX to be the Pellas’ personal vacation home, but during construction, it evolved its own philanthropic mission.

Nekupe REsort Guest Suite, FF&E Procurement, Bray WhalerNekupe Resort, outdoor dining, FF&E procurement, Bray Whaler“It became part of the sustainable farming narrative when the owners decided to reforest their 1,300 acres by planting more than 14,000 endemic teak, mahogany, and fruit trees. (The area had been blighted after years of destructive agriculture.) Now it’s designated as a nature reserve, with hopes that habitat restoration will bring back local populations of wild boar, iguanas, monkeys, and native birds. Turning Nekupe into a hotel also created a significant source of local employment: 100 percent of the 143-person staff is Nicaraguan, with 80 percent coming from the immediate community of Nandaime. With just eight rooms, they form a staff-to-guest ratio of 9 to 1.
Rooms, which start at $750 per night (and come with meals), include four suites in the main house, each with spacious proportions and sumptuous furnishings: tufted leather headboards, dark-stained wood walls, gabled ceilings, and wall-to-wall windows. And four standalone villas are each themed after local trees, using either the wood, fruit, or scent of indigenous species such as the madroño and jicaro.

“We wanted our clients to have very high-end luxurious accommodations that blend in with nature,” said Pellas, adding that “every move we made during construction, we made with respect to nature and the trees.” But Pellas believes that subtle exposure to ANF’s missions—be it interactions with the staff, an afternoon picking endemic crops in the property greenhouse, or a visit to the local school—will give travelers a deeper connection to the country they’re visiting. He’s creating a series of programs, showcased in beautifully branded materials in each room, that allow guests to visit or volunteer with a series of ANF-funded projects.” (Bloomberg News 4-26-17).

Nekupe Resort, newly forested 1,300-acre reserveBray Whaler was deeply honored to be part of this one-of-a-kind resort at the center of a dynamic conservation and community-building mission.

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