Without hesitation, we would return to both Antigua and the Casa Santo Domingo. At 5,100 feet, Antigua is a lovely, cool place to enjoy. We walked for hours past colorful buildings along cobblestone streets, backdropped by enormous volcanos, occasionally peaking inside courtyards for garden views. We were not hassled by street vendors anywhere we went. After visiting Lake Atitlan and Chichicastenango, we actually ended up buying our purses, tote bags, place mats and fabrics right in the market in Antigua! And none of us could resist the remarkable mounted jade quetzal art at the Jades S.A. Factory and Archaeology Museum. Exquisite.
Imagine strolling at dusk through numerous courtyards of plants, trees, ruins, grottos, and, newer structures following the architectural theme of the ruins, while listening to choirs and angelic music. This is the essence of the Casa Santo Domingo. The developers realized an incredible vision to combine the ruins of a several-hundred-year-old convent with an elegant hotel. It works. Never before have we seen such an accomplishment anywhere in the world. It is what we expected to experience at the Santa Clara in Cartagena and did not. Our group of three couples stayed in different suites that were large, attractive and comfortable. Our only complaint was that there were no windows or fans for air movement. We only had unscreened balcony doors to open. As well, for more quiet, it would be wise to choose rooms away from main public areas.
With regard to restaurants, Fodor’s 2006 Belize-Guatemala guidebook got it completely wrong. The author panned the Casa Santo Domingo restaurant where we enjoyed excellent dinners three different evenings. When we followed Fodor’s advice, the food at their top restaurant pick for Antigua was mediocre to awful (six of us ordered four different dinners.)
Our excellent and informative Antigua walking tour was conducted by Elizabeth Bell. It is refreshing to meet a tour operator who has “Lived” the country for several decades and is as focused on improving the lives of everyday Guatemalans as she is on making a living. Mario, one of the tour company’s drivers and a wealth of knowledge, escorted us to Panajachel on Lake Atitlan (Not to be missed) and a last minute inclusion to the bustling indigenous town of Chichicastenango.
On our next trip, we will leave more space in our luggage for the rich colored hand-woven fabrics…and, of course, jade.
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- Also Known As:
- Casa Santo Domingo Hotel Antigua
- Casa Santo Domingo Antigua Guatemala