The Coconut Grove Hotel(s) of Elmina

Jürgen and I live by a set of unspoken mutual agreements. Number 14 states: once we’ve started debating whether to leave a place … be it a restaurant, a movie, a cafe, or a party… we should just immediately leave. And that goes for hotels, too. When we checked into our Elmina hotel, we were immediately displeased. But did we really want to put ourselves through the agony of finding another hotel at the last minute? But as soon as the question was asked, it was answered, thanks to Mutual Agreement #14. So, we spent 30 agonizing minutes searching… and then a full week enjoying the fruits of our decision: a stay at Coconut Grove.

I’m not going to bother naming the other hotel which we fled, because it wasn’t “terrible”; it just wasn’t for us. And the owner was very pleasant when we suggested cancelling our reservation. We really came close to staying, just to save ourselves the immediate headache, but I’m so glad we didn’t. We had a wonderful week in Elmina, thanks largely to the Coconut Grove Bridge Hotel, found right downtown, literally across from Elmina Castle.

Instead of booking online, we went in person to Coconut Grove and inquired about the price. Turns out — this is the way to do it in Ghana! The quoted rate was well below what we saw online, and after seeing the large comfortable room, and considering the ultra-central location, we agreed immediately. Everything about the place was nearly perfect… there was just one (major) problem for two digital nomads: terrible wifi.

But this was a problem with a solution so excellent, it still makes me giddy. We were staying at the Coconut Grove Bridge Hotel. But this is owned by the nearby Coconut Grove Beach Resort. And if you book a room the former, you’re allowed access to the facilities of the latter. The Beach Hotel (in addition to higher prices, a swimming pool, and the beach) has a dedicated working space with blazing internet. So, it was our habit to wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, then take a 5-cedi taxi to the beach hotel, where we spent the rest of our day alternately working and relaxing at the pool.

Even if you have the money to stay at the Beach Hotel, we’d almost recommend the Bridge. The pool and the beach are undeniably nice, but it was a real pleasure to return to the Bridge as dusk was falling, and sit on the terrace overlooking the castle and the river, where colorful ships were constantly returning or departing, kids were jumping from the bridge into the water, and the castle was even more eerily beautiful in the setting sun, with its white exterior and black history. We spent every evening extremely pleased with ourselves, and Mutual Agreement #14. It’s saved us many times in the past, but never quite like this.

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