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Hotel Museo Spa Casa Santo Domingo
Ranked #4 of 75 Hotels in Antigua
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 26 July 2008

Hotel Casa Santo Domingo was fabulous!! I don't know why the reviews are not so good, maybe they are folks who are used to different things. The gardens, the museums, the staff and the room I had were all lovely. The pool was heated and the hot tubs (jacuzzis) were nice. I had a view of a lovely garden from my balcony and the bed/linens were great! The bathroom had an amazing sinking/soaking tub which was fabulous!!!!!!!! And, I only had a standard room! I did go in high season and did only stay for 1 night, but it was so worth every penny ($200)!!! I booked it directly by calling them as the online reservation request didn't seem to get addressed immediately. Once my reservation was in the system, though, the email worked just fine. They have a business center that will change your traveler's checks even though the hotel does not accept them. Room service was prompt for my breakfast and my room was clean upon my arrival. I can't complain about anything! The place is so breathtakingly beautiful and enchanting, you just can't go wrong if you're looking for little luxury while out in the rough for a while.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled on business
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2  Thank lasfloras
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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760 - 766 of 1,391 reviews

Reviewed 8 July 2008

We loved this hotel. The grounds are extremely beautiful and peaceful. The food was delicious, the service great. Everyone was very friendly and worked hard to make us feel comfortable. The only issue we had was that we felt the concierge could have been a bit more knowledgeable. We definitely felt safe, and I would think the security guys with the walkie talkies would make others feel even safer! If there was any watching over, we felt it was for our benefit. Remember that Guatemala is a lesser developed country, and some level of discomfort is not going to be avoided. I would highly recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed: August 2005
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Thank gotthetravelinbug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2008

I stayed her for two nights and thought it was a lovely hotel. There is a lot of security, buts its for our safety, and I found that as long as I was polite to the staff, they were polite and helpful in return. The room I felt was average, but comfortable and very clean. The pool was a nice little surprise and always guarded, I liked that it was heated in the evening and I lived for that sauna after walking around all day. The grounds are spectacular, thats all there is to it. the only problem I has was that it was so far from the main square and really far from the market. But for that extra bit of privacy, and all the space I guess its worth it.

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled with friends
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Thank lynbello
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2008

If the Casa Santo Domingo were a three or even four-star hotel, my rating would have been considerably higher. However, five-star hotels imply excellence in areas where the CSD does not deliver the goods. We stayed here for over a week, so everything noted below happened on a consistent basis.

Positive:
1. Beautiful setting within monastery walls, replete with flora and fauna, parrots and lovely patio areas off each block of rooms. Nighttime is over the top: staff lights hundreds of candles; upon returning to our room, the 17th century statue outside was lit was a long taper candle.
2. Good pool area and adequate exercise room with vigilant attendants, ample towels, and water cooler.
3. Good restaurant and – surprise! – good food for a hotel. The $14 breakfast buffet is a treat, and most of the entrées are delicious.
4. Prompt room service: Except for one night when we waited 50 minutes for a perfunctory delivery of club sandwiches, room service was prompt and accurate in delivering our requests.
5. Rooms: Generally good, but see below. The best part was the wood-burning fireplace and small balcony.
6. Security: Other posters complain about the guys in suits and walkie-talkies who roam the hotel. Be glad they are there; they are a main reason that you can leave your laptop in full view in your room when you go shopping for the day. They are discreet as possible in Guatemala and make this hotel a lot more secure than some others.

Negatives:
1. Check-in:
We waited 25 minutes on line to check in with just one party ahead of us. Management knew that people were waiting it did a lot of scurrying around, but nothing that was aimed at getting guests registered and tucked into their rooms. Having stayed at the Red Roof Inn, the Ritz and everything in between, all I can say is that Bill Marriott would be appalled.
Second, after 25 minutes of waiting, I finally asked an employee to check us in. His sole concern appeared to be getting my credit card to swipe accurately. He gave us one key and called over a bellboy. He did not explain location of the room, amenities, or offer a second key. We were left to discover the exercise room, morning newspapers, and afternoon tea on our own.
2. Rooms: Our room was okay but not 5-star by any stretch. Lighting was dim in the bedroom; carpeting was worn; and the television set – a 20-inch model – had faulty volume control. The maids cleaned but never vacuumed; when one of the 20-watt bulbs went out in the bathroom, it was never replaced.
3. Hotel Amenities: As noted above, we were on our own. The hotel would do well to advertise its own freebies such as free morning newspaper and free afternoon tea, and the location of the ice machine all of which we discovered by chance.
4. Wi-Fi: The CSD’s wireless Internet service is erratic at best and at $15 per day gets a thumbs-down. We pre-paid for a week of service and on two days we had to have maintenance men come to the room to re-set it. They finally told me that standard rooms have Ethernet, not wireless connections, and this was part of the problem.
5. Hidden Charges: Our itemized bill included a Q7.65 daily charge for “Mosaico Cultural.” I was told it was “optional” and that it constituted a voluntary contribution to the CSD’s patronage of Antigua’s cultural patrimony. It was a pittance and we paid it, but know that this is routinely charged to your bill unless you specifically request its removal. While I am happy to help keep Antigua beautiful, this is tantamount to the Safeway cashier unilaterally adding a dollar to your supermarket bill for her favorite non-profit (not to mention the fact that you are inadvertently lowering the CSD’s taxes, since Guatemalan businesses receive a tax break for funding non-profit foundations. Although this added up to a grand total of eight dollars, it was the assumption rather than the money that proved irksome.
6. The CSD’s Identity Crisis: The CSD is a wedding caterer pretending also to be a hotel. It is clear that their profit stream largely derives not from the individual guests but from the wedding held on its grounds, which run 24/7 from Thursday through Sunday. What this means is that you feel like an interloper in the hotel where you’re paying good money to stay. The wedding guests (sorry, guests) are often noisy, drunk and oblivious to the fact that it’s 2 am and you’re trying to sleep. Surprisingly, the walls at this place are also paper-thin. One night we were treated to a two-hour running monologue of what the guests had done before and after the wedding. Good hotels learn how to handle individual guests and wedding parties; some do this very well, and the CSD should take a page from them. Otherwise, individual guests are getting the short end of the stick.

Net-net: The CSD has the potential to be a fine hotel. With the exception of its snooty reception staff, employees work hard to make guests happy. However, the CSD should train its employees to think and act pro-actively. Our most salient impression of this hotel was that its staff is well-trained to perform specific tasks but they are completely at a loss to take the initiative and perform that one extra little service, such as emptying a full ashtray, lending a hand at check-in, or offering a drink five minutes after pool closing time. In addition, the very best hotels manage to convey the impression that their sole mission is to make you happy. Unfortunately, the impression we received from the CSD was that its sole mission is to make money.

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled on business
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12  Thank Kenneth A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2008

I attended an international medical conference along with my wife and our 2 teenage children. The hotel grounds are serene and beautiful. The staff have no concept whatsoever of North American service. No one speaks English. We had the misfortune of needing the concierge's help to track down our lost luggage. They never came through.
You are constantly being watched by the hotel workers who stand around with walkie-talkies. Unfortunately, we were falsely accused of making a crack in the plastic casing of an elliptical exercise machine. Their fitness room has 2 treadmills and 1 elliptical. They wanted us to pay for damages. They came up with a figure and then wanted to haggle over payment just like you would in the local market. Their claim was bogus and it was unjustifiable. For them it presented an opportunity to extort money. We were targeted and harassed by the staff/guards who stood around in the courtyard outside our room and monitored our every move. It was an intimidation tactic. My wife felt scared to go out of the room. This sort of thing should not happen in a so called 5 star hotel. It didn't seem to matter to them that the hotel's reputation may be damaged. My medical society lodged a formal complaint with the hotel. I have yet to hear. It may be a nice hotel but the hotel people mentality is corrupt and third world. We were glad to leave.

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled on business
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8  Thank RH_MD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
IrisGomez, Manager at Hotel Museo Spa Casa Santo Domingo, responded to this reviewResponded 3 August 2009

We regretted having to make this charge but, as you might remember, we proceeded after carefully looking at the security video and confirming your kids responsibility. Also, the charge made corresponds only to the cost of the damaged piece.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2008

I just returned from a 4 night stay at the hotel. The grounds are beautiful. The hotel is very tranquil and peaceful. The property is very large with several museums so be prepared to walk. The standard room was large. The bathroom was also large. The sleeping rooms are not air conditioned so be prepared to sleep with the window open. The restaurant was excellent. The service was very good. The staff speaks a little english. I would give it at 4 due to no air conditioning in the sleeping rooms.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled on business
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2  Thank PammieTX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2008

After we saw the pretty grounds, we encountered poor service, incompetence at the concierge and main desk. But far worse, we feared for our safety and were somewhat intimidated by the secutity guards with walkie-talkie all over the grounds, litterally watching your every move. Who ever gave 5 star to this hotel was sorely mistaken. We were relieved to leave.

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled with family
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2  Thank HannahToronto_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Museo Spa Casa Santo Domingo

Address: 3a Calle Oriente No 28 A, Antigua 03001, Guatemala
Region: Guatemala > Sacatepequez Department > Antigua
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Antigua
#2 Business Hotel in Antigua
#3 Spa Hotel in Antigua
#4 Luxury Hotel in Antigua
#9 Romantic Hotel in Antigua
Price Range: £99 - £905 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Museo Spa Casa Santo Domingo 4*
Number of rooms: 128
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Also Known As:
Casa Santo Domingo Hotel Antigua
Casa Santo Domingo Antigua Guatemala

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