Antigua’s newest resort hotel is the Camino Real Antigua (7a Calle Poniente #3B, www.caminoreal.com.gt, $135–210 d). The chain hotel has cozy rooms with high, wood-beamed ceilings and some of the most delicious beds I’ve ever slept on, as well as all the amenities you would expect.
The Villa Antigua (9a Calle Poniente, Carretera a Ciudad Vieja, tel. 7879-4444, www.villaantigua.com, $145–280 d) has 139 rooms and 45 suites, all of which are spacious and equipped with chimney, cable TV, and wonderful garden and volcano views. It has a swimming pool, restaurant, and all the usual amenities found at a large resort. It is the oldest of Antigua’s resorts and ironically the one with the least colonial charm because of its more modern architecture.
Part of the excellent Villas de Guatemala chain, Villa Colonial (Alameda del Calvario #28, tel. 7832-2039 hotel or 2334-1818 reservations, www.villasdeguatemala.com, $104–134 d) has 50 rooms housed in colonial buildings charmingly built to imitate a colonial Spanish town, complete with cobblestone streets, a town square garden, and fountain-style swimming pool. Rooms are tastefully decorated with Guatemalan fabrics and include cable TV in addition to the usual resort amenities. There are standard rooms and larger junior suites with a separate living room.
A Condé Nast Traveler Gold List property, Porta Hotel Antigua (8a Calle Poniente #1, tel. 7832-2801, www.portahotels.com, $150–225) has 77 sumptuous rooms with chimney, colorful walls with faux finishes, Guatemalan decor and charming stained hardwood floors in its standard and deluxe rooms and suites. It features a restaurant serving excellent Guatemalan and international dishes overlooking the swimming pool set amid tropical gardens, as well as a fully stocked, quaint wooden bar. Candles provide atmosphere at night and a colonial fountain graces the entrance to the hotel. The service is excellent, as is the courteous and friendly staff.
Another property that has put Antigua on the map of the world’s finest accommodations is the exquisite Hotel Casa Santo Domingo (3a Calle Oriente #28, tel. 7832-0140, www.casasantodomingo.com.gt, $200–550 d), built in the ruins of an old Dominican monastery. Its 125 rooms have all the comforts you could wish for and effortlessly merge colonial charm with modern comfort. Some rooms have a chimney and there are some newer rooms with chic glass and wooden showers. Other amenities include a charming swimming pool and the city’s best museum and wonderful colonial ruins at your doorstep. The restaurant here is also highly recommended.
Antigua has an astounding assortment of boutique properties offering comfort and privacy in an atmosphere of elegance and style. Spending a night in one of Antigua’s boutique properties is the real deal and can feel like waking up in a museum chock-full of interesting knickknacks and artwork.
President Clinton chose Posada del Ángel (4a Avenida Sur #24A, tel. 7832-5303 Antigua or 305/677-2382 U.S., www.posadadelangel.com, $165–240 d) for his 1999 visit to Antigua for a summit meeting with Central American leaders. If you’d like to follow in his footsteps, stay in the exquisite Rose Suite, the largest of the lodge’s five, with a private balcony offering gorgeous volcano views and fine antiques. Each of the suites is different but all are truly charming and include wood-burning fireplace, cable TV, and fresh flowers. Rates include a delicious breakfast served in the dining room looking out to the hotel’s small lap pool.
A luxurious private inn, Quinta Maconda (5a Avenida Norte #11, tel. 5309-1423 Antigua or 866/621-4032 U.S., www.quintamaconda.com, $130–165 d) has four comfortable bedrooms, all with private bath, tastefully decorated with rare textiles, colonial antiques, and primitive art that are the collection of long-term Antigua resident and world traveler John Heaton. Rates include breakfast served in a pleasant garden patio or in a formal dining room oozing with character and charm. Lunch and dinner are available upon request. There is wireless Internet throughout the house and gracious hosts Catherine and John arrange fabulous custom-tailored travel to explore any and all aspects of Guatemala’s unique offerings in comfort and style, drawing on years of experience and first-hand knowledge.
Mesón Panza Verde (5a Avenida Sur #19, tel. 7832-2925, www.panzaverde.com, $75–200) exudes a distinct European atmosphere with an eclectic array of decor that includes Persian rugs, wrought-iron works, chandeliers, fresh flowers, Guatemalan textiles and wooden furniture, and tile or hardwood floors. There are nine suites, including the splendid Grand Suite, and three double rooms. There are wonderful private patios in some of the rooms and one of Antigua’s finest restaurants is in the lobby.
The 10 cozy, white-walled, wood beam–ceilinged rooms at Casa Encantada (9a Calle Poniente #1, tel. 7832-9715 Antigua or 866/837-8900 U.S., www.casaencantada-antigua.com, $75–225 d) are a more modern take on European decor with Guatemalan flair. Stylish accents include framed Guatemalan huipiles, oriental rugs, wrought-iron beds, feather and down comforters, and fine Italian linens. There is a rooftop bar perfect for enjoying the sunset over the colonial city streets. All rates include a scrumptious full breakfast, also served on the rooftop patio.
Like its sister hotel in Guatemala City, Vista Real (3a Calle Oriente #16A, tel. 7832-9715/16, www.vistareal.com, $150–225 d including breakfast) offers colonial style with distinction, excellent service, and attention to detail. Each of the five luxurious suites features four-poster beds, artwork, chimney, telephone, a private patio, and large bathroom decorated with Spanish tiles. The hotel’s restaurant, El Restaurant de las Mil Flores, serves fine Internationsl cuisine amid restored colonial ruins.
One of Antigua’s most elegant properties, Posada de los Leones (Las Gravileas #1, tel. 7832-7371, www.lionsinnantigua.com, $165–250 d) is set amid, coffee trees, and tropical gardens. Its six spacious, absolutely gorgeous rooms feature high ceilings, hardwood floors, and a delightful array of classy European and Guatemalan decorative touches. On the house’s second floor is Antigua’s loveliest terrace overlooking tropical gardens, the surrounding coffee plantation, and the volcanoes off in the distance. You can enjoy drinks on the terrace in addition to a lap pool, a comfortable living room, and library. There is wireless Internet throughout the house, which is sometimes the haunt of international celebrities.
Nearby is the phenomenal Un Paseo Por La Antigua (Calle de los Duelos, Las Gravileas #7 and 8, tel. 7832-3354, www.unpaseoporlaantigua.com, $135 d with breakfast), run by a friendly French couple that have lived in Guatemala for many years. With the experience gleaned from running Petén’s La Lancha (subsequently acquired by Francis Ford Coppola), they’ve managed to successfully create a unique, tastefully executed hideaway. Each of the five rooms is eclectically decorated with a different theme. There’s a lovely rooftop patio where you can enjoy your meals with outrageous volcano views. Set in a quiet residential neighborhood, you might find yourself sleeping in well past your normal wake-up time.
If you’re looking to combine your stay with an excellent spa experience, Casa Madeleine (Calle del Espíritu Santo #69, tel. 7832-9348, www.casamadeleine.com, $95–205 d) is the place for you. Its six comfortable rooms feature wrought-iron beds and lamps and are decorated in different hues with Guatemalan bedspreads and artwork. Complete spa packages are available and services include massages, reflexology, aromatherapy, mud therapy, pedicures, manicures, and deep facial treatments. Room rates include a full breakfast you are welcome to enjoy in the comfort of your own room at no extra charge.
Casa Quinta (5a Avenida Sur #45, tel. 7832-6181, www.hotelcasaquinta.com, $125–180 d) was brought to my attention by a reader with discriminating taste. The rooms gracefully meld modern comforts with wonderfully dilapidated antiques and traditional furniture. View all of the rooms online and pick your favorite.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com