Stayed at the Clarion when Westin Camino Real was booked weekend of March 28-30.
Overall, this place is a way better deal then the Camino, and with a few tweaks, it would be a five star.
a.Clarion is in the zona viva, where you can walk during the daytime. Note: Don't carry beyond the hotel your Ipad, iPhone, or anything else you wouldn't want to surrender; Guatemala is rated one of the 20 most dangerous cities in the world. Clarion is also surrounded by 24 hour shops and restaurants. Although the Camino Real is just two blocks away, if you are dead tired at the end of the day, walking less than half a block to a restaurant or a 24 hour store, versus the two blocks from the Camino, oddly makes a difference.
b. very helpful and friendly reception and staff (I sent them email with boarding passes, by the time I made it downstairs, they were already printed out).
c. big rooms, many with views. small but serviceable flat screens. unstocked mini fridge that fits big water bottles; good beds.
d. reasonable room service. A+ service; B food, with one qualifier: The $10 breakfast is huge and worth every penny. It will keep you tanked until mid-afternoon. (fresh juice; plate of fresh fruit; scrambled eggs with bacon; toast; pot of coffee). Camino charges twice as much.
e. gym is actually decent sized (three treadmills, separate weight room; located on 17th floor, view of city while you're sweating it out). Camino Real gym is more upscale, but it's in basement and local use it for $10, which is not great when crowded.
f. ATM machine in well guarded lobby.
g. bar and restaurant are reasonable.
h. small store (water, wine, Hershey chocolates, tchotchkes) with funky hours (9-10pm week days, sometimes open weekends).
i. hotel cabs always at the ready outside, and they are spotless and reliable.
j. last but not least: It's $50 a night cheaper than the Camino Real, when you factor in the free Internet ($15 a day at Camino). My room, with taxes and internet (and free welcome drink: beer or vodka, go figure...), was $86 a night. The internet is fantastic and fast; even better, and unlike the Camino, which gouges travelers for everything they touch, the Clarion gives you a one-time password which you do not have to re-set every time you open your Mac or PC.
What would push Clarion up to *****:
a. better a/c: because the Clarion's walls, all 17 floors of them, are mostly windows, it's hot, and a/c is barely functional. Instruct cleaning staff not to turn off a/c during the day when you are out.
b. hardwood floors, while spotless, are hard, and a throwaway pair of slippers would be nice.
c. biz center is not a biz center, it's in a corner of the hotel mini-mart. Hotel needs a dedicated room for biz travelers.
d. room service is inconsistent: waiters who deliver it are wonderful, but ordering is funky: I ordered a chef salad and the guy on the phone told me it did not come with dressing. I asked if they had dressing. He told me they had oil and vinegar. I said fine. When food arrived, there was a soup cup filled with Thousand Island dressing, one part mayo to 100 parts water.
e. restaurant could use a serious facelift. It has this huge waterfall in the back that, somewhat incongruously is set in a gloomy, dark room.
f. no pool, but who has time to use it.
g. keep the store open on weekends and get a dedicated credit card machine so the cashier doesn't have to run your charge over to the front lobby.
If you are looking to relax or you have kids who will live in the pool, go to the Camino or the Barceló Although, with the latter, ask yourself if you want to be in zone nine; it's dicey.The Reforma Avenue, which divides zone ten (Camino Real and Clarion) from zone nine (Barceló) is a bigger deal than it looks on Googlemaps: there is nowhere to walk in zone nine, even in the daytime, while zone ten offers options, and zone nine is dangerous. I witnessed an armed hold-up at the drive through window of the McDonald's down the street from the Barceló when I was coming in from the airport one night.
If you are looking to do business but you don't want to get gouged: Clarion.
If price is no object: The Camino, I guess, but insist on a decent room (tell them you want a pool view) or you will get one with no windows, or one directly above the disco, or one facing the a/c compressors.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Clarion Suites Hotel is located at the heart of the "Zona Viva" the commercial district of Guatemala city, near from the most important Offices, International Banks, Embassies, Organisms, Restaurants, Entertainment Center and the most exclusive Malls. It is the only hotel in Guatemala that has the ALL SUITES concept, with 172 suites of 52 square meters. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Clarion Suites Guatemala City Hotel Guatemala City
- Clarion Hotel Guatemala City
- Clarion Guatemala City
- Guatemala City Clarion
- Clarion Suites Guatemala Guatemala City