Sleep like royalty in a centuries-old palace, or walk the halls of one of Antigua’s former convents in Guatemala‘s Unesco-protected city.
A small city surrounded by volcanoes in south Guatemala, Antigua is often overshadowed by its younger brother, Guatemala City. Antigua is famous, however, for its historic city center dotted with Spanish colonial buildings, some dating back to the 1500s. Many are now museums, cafés and hotels, just like the few we’ve listed here.
Part museum, part 17th-century convent and part hotel, this lodging is one of a kind. No, you won’t have to live like a monk or a nun – in fact, the rooms are anything but austere. Each of the 132 suites is decorated with unique touches such as handwoven textiles and Guatemalan art. The hotel is just a few steps from Antigua’s top must-sees like the El Carmen artisanal market and the Santa Catalina arch, the town’s iconic gateway built hundreds of years ago.
The Palacio de Doña Leonor, just a block from Antigua’s main square, is truly a palace. The boutique hotel is a converted 16th-century mansion filled with period furniture, hand-carved and painted ceilings and antique crystal chandeliers. Go out through the Palacio’s solid oak doors and you’ll find yourself at the Catedral de San José, a centuries-old church partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1733.
This former convent, also in the city center, is a cozy option with just 25 rooms, original floors and hand-carved doors with images of Antigua’s famous people and places. Head out to the patio to take in the greenery, dip your toes in the outdoor pool or order sautéed shrimp with pibil sauce or chicken in lime butter from the terrace restaurant. From here, take in the views of nearby sites like the baroque La Merced Church and the Cerro de la Cruz.
The Dutch-style Good Hotel makes the most of its space, offering locally crafted furnishings, walk-in rain showers and private terraces with every room. It’s close to a number of nearby cafés and eateries, even collaborating with L’Osteria Saúl, a local spot that serves up fresh fare like smoothies, salmon burgers and crepes, to keep you fed all day long.
One of the first luxury hotels in Antigua, Mesón Panza Verde has been housing guests in style for decades. Its name Panza Verde – or “Green Belly” – comes from an old nickname for Antigua’s residents, who had to eat local herbs to survive after the 1733 earthquake. Each of the inn’s 12 rooms and suites is decorated with antique touches like writing desks and Moroccan-style fireplaces, while Panza Verde also hosts an art gallery, yoga studio and live music by local artists.
Colonial and contemporary aesthetics collide at the San Rafael Hotel, wedged halfway between the Santa Catalina arch and Antigua’s main square. Each of the hotel’s seven rooms is ornately decorated with textiles, ceramic tiles and brick-laid fireplaces. Look out the French doors of your suite for a view of the courtyard’s 34-foot-long (10m) grotto, or watch as locals pass by on the cobblestone streets below.
This inn occupies an original Spanish casona, whose seven suites offer a sense of privacy, just a few blocks from Antigua’s historic downtown. Posada del Angel comes together in the central patio, where you can mingle with fellow travelers, swim laps in the pool or head up to the terrace and indulge in Guatemalan breakfasts with freshly-squeezed tropical juices.
Step through the wrought-iron door at the Casa Encantada, or “Enchanted House”, and you’ll be transported to a whole new world. The 10 suites’ four-poster beds, exposed-beam ceilings and Italian linens are what dreams are made of. Book the rooftop suite for the best cathedral views in town. The adjacent rooftop terrace serves breakfast for all, brewing piping hot Guatemalan coffee every morning.
This 16th-century structure has been one of Antigua’s premier hotels for more than 60 years, hosting guests in colonial-design rooms with ceramic tiles, wrought-iron chandeliers and traditional art. The open-air restaurant serves Guatemalan dishes like soup made from the local squash (güicoy) and pepián de pollo(chicken served with a rich, tomato-based sauce). Your dinner comes with a view of the stunning Volcán de Agua, while a step outside the hotel puts you in front of the San José el Viejo church.