Antigua Guatemala is one of the memorable places I’ve been in all my travels. There is something otherworldly to it and its not just in one part, it’s the entire city that inspires admiration and wonder. It is not surprising therefore that so many of the hotels in this charming city can astound and transport one to another world too. One such place is Casa Santo Domingo. This is an all in one historic monastery, museum and hotel right in the heart of precious and blissful Antigua.
The hotel is built upon the ruins of an ancient monastery called Santo Domingo and wonderfully incorporates the vestiges of this distinctive period and architecture into the 128 guest rooms, restaurants, outdoor gardens, facilities and social spaces. The architecture is from the colonial period of baroque influence in Central America. Much of the original stonework, tiled roofs and rick thick wooded ceilings are intact and kept in wonderful shape. There are many statues, paintings, tapestries and other treasures from this time period on display in the hotel too.
The staff in every part of the hotel were wonderfully receptive and they keep everything spotless and service of the highest standards. One gets the sense from the staff’s careful attention of the valuable and hallowed nature of the building as a monument to heritage and a place for relaxation. The atmosphere is probably what has changed very little from the original days of the property. The gardens are serene, the halls mystically quiet and the open air corridors and social spaces give one nature’s beloved embrace.
The rooms are quite spacious and offer a mix of modern amenities amidst centuries old art and design. The furniture of the rooms matches the deep earth tones of the timeworn woods and stone and special features like fireplaces and balconies add to the glamour. The grounds have many attractive features like old stone fountains, the ruins of the central chapel, an artesian candle making facility and a world class gym.
The main restaurant is El Refectorio and in its wonderfully cool and candlelit atmosphere one can enjoy local and international delicacies for breakfast lunch and dinner. El Tenedor de Cerro is anther great option too. Yaxtun Spa is a great place to unwind especially after excursions out into the city and here one can enjoy a whole range of pampering delights. Best of all about this hotel is that it is a true five star experience in a magical location that comes at a fraction of the cost of what one would pay for this standard of luxury and beauty elsewhere. That is not to say the hotel is cheap by any means, just that it offers and incredible value for all the benefits it brings.