The historical Hotel El Convento in the heart of the magical city of Leon, is a true colonial jewel. The San Francisco Convent was founded in the city of León in 1639 by the Reverend Brother Pedro de Zúñiga. It was the first convent in the city.
On 7th September 1829 a government decree was issued which ended the recognition of religious orders, forcing the Franciscan Brothers to leave Nicaragua. In 1830, it was decreed that convent or monastery buildings should be used as educational establishments or for public benefit.
The first school to be opened under this decree was the Lancastrian School, founded on the site of the convent in 1854 by Doctor Gregorio Juárez. Years later, the building was abandoned as funds for maintenance of the school dried up and it became the home of beggars and the homeless.
The building remained in this state until 1881, when the Instituto Nacional de Occidente was opened. Several European professors worked there, amongst them, Joseph Leonard, a Polish man who introduced Freemasonry to Nicaragua and was a significant influence on the poet Rubén Darío. In 1892 the Instituto Nacional de Occidente moved to another site, leaving the building for the Reverend Mothers of the Assumption. In 1896 there were a lot of disturbances in the city following the reelection of General José Zelaya López. Government troops were billeted in the ex-convent and the buildings suffered serious structural damage.
On 29th April 1898 the area was damaged in an earthquake, forcing the Reverend Mothers of the Assumption to move to the Episcopal Palace, next door to what is today La Asunción School. The site was subsequently occupied by the Instituto Azarías H. Pallais, which was demolished in 1972. And finally during the war in the 1980s bombings destroyed what little was left of the original structure.
In 1995 the Hotel El Convento project began with the purchase of the site. The construction followed a design which sought to respect the architectural and colonial features of the building at the time of the San Francisco convent and the Instituto Nacional de Occidente, as well as incorporating the requirements of a modern hotel. Thanks to photographs and accounts from citizens of León this historic landmark which has housed many important figures from Nicaragua’s history has been saved.
DINING AT HOTEL EL CONVENTO
We take great care over the flavour and presentation of every dish on International cuiside served in our Restaurante El Victoriano to offer you an exquisite dining experience in the very heart of the city.
Restaurante El Victoriano offers a gourmet cuisine to be enjoyed at lunchtime or at dinner in an intimate atmosphere with excellent service.