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“A 16th century convent-hotel with some 16th century discomforts”

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Hotel Museo Spa Casa Santo Domingo
Ranked #4 of 75 Hotels in Antigua
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 25 July 2006

We stayed in this hotel for 3 days. The museums, ruins & gardens are as good as everyone says, in fact, they were some of the best we saw in Antigua.
Unfortunately, this hotel was uncomfortable. Although our room was pleasant, there was no air conditioning which was very much needed. After a shower, the bathroom became sauna-like & the tiny window in there was useless. There was no air conditioning in the breakfast area either which was very hot & much worse in the buffet area containing heating appliances. Even the staff there were suffering. We spent each breakfast perspiring & chasing flies from our plates as the "windows" (the original building's arches) were not covered.
Also, some staff seemed to lack professionalism. The problem wasn't the errors they kept making but how they handled them. Reception was the worst & they were not very friendly when the errors were pointed out to them either. The errors/confusion were mostly over our booking, our breakfast entitlement (that was a saga each day) & receiving another room's account which was unceremoniously slipped under our door.
Other bad points were the way staff would barge into our room using their keys after hardly knocking, white ants invading our bathroom, the badly cracked washbasin & mould around the bath (this is a 5-star hotel). A bigger bad point was the very poor lighting, particularly in the bathroom.
The hotel itself is a fine building but some things appeared a bit contrived or pretentious (religious robes worn by staff, music played ad nauseum throughout the grounds, rose petals everywhere, namedropping of previous "famous" guests). This all depends on one's personal tastes but diverting some of their efforts (& cash) to improve basic guest comforts would have been preferable.
This hotel is around 15 minutes away from the main plaza. The walk there & back is very pleasant although the streets can be very dark & isolated at night with the occasional policeman patrolling the area. This was not a concern for us but it may be for nervous nellies.
It's possible to just visit the hotel's grounds for a fee without having to stay which I think is a better option. After visiting a friend at the the Porta Antigua Hotel we decided we'll be staying there when we visit Antigua next time as that hotel obviously has guest comfort as its first priority.

  • Stayed: June 2006, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank PabloSmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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817 - 823 of 1,468 reviews

Reviewed 21 June 2006

This is one of those hotels that have details - every nook and cranny gives you some detail. Staff are very nice and polite. Grounds are outstanding. Rooms are lovely. Food and service good. The only bad part is that Antigua is worth visiting and you do not want to leave this great hotel.

  • Stayed: June 2006, travelled on business
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5  Thank Happy_on_the_road
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 June 2006

This hotel is hands down the best place to stay in Antigua. The service is outstanding and the rooms are lovely -- do request a one with a balcony overlooking the courtyard. A truly relaxing, tranquil place to stay. And the setting is so unique!

*The only downside to staying at the Hotel Santo Domingo is the fact that it is not too close to the downtown area, where most of the action and language schools are scattered. (It's about ten minutes walking.)

Stayed: June 2006
5  Thank AIReMOE2607
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Los Angeles
13
Reviewed 8 June 2006

We found this to be one of the best hotel experiences anywhere (let alone Guatemala). The grounds are truly extraordinary, set in a historic monestary. The service was excellent too. The concierge assisted us ably and happily. Our first room was a little dark, and the manager gladly showed us other options and we ended up in the spectacular presidential suite with wrap around balconies and views of the volcanos. The breakfast buffet was delicious, and the chef proudly explained to me how he made some of the native dishes. There is culture, beauty, nature, a pool, and just outside the door is Antigua. Not a polished tourist city, but a real city with some rough and interesting edges, and a rich history. The architecture and design of the city are unique. Highly recommended for the slightly adventurous who want a romantic getaway but not in any cliche manner.

  • Stayed: July 2005
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3  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2006

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.

  • Stayed: May 2006
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18  Thank thecoffeeestateinn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 February 2006

As you will see in the photos itis lovely. what an amazing artcollection. the city itself is so sweet and gorgeous.
Now, the hotel... Room had no window and noair. Was next to the aviary so we heard birdfights all night as we attempted sleep. They would not serve us a cocktail by the pool. we had to sit in the dark monestary bar to have wine after lunch. Stay away from room 204. They lock the doors at 11pm so you have to stand outside and ring , and ring,and ring if you want to get in.
If the hotel wasnt so lovely it would have been hell.. stay at panza verde!
checkout the photos for great grounds, flowers ,and artwork!!

9  Thank WorldAtSea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 December 2005

Casa Santo Domingo, in Antigua, Guatemala, was the highlight of my stay in Guatemala. An old Franciscan monastery; it is filled with religious artefacts and paintings, making it quite unique as a hotel because it is a museum as well. The rich collection that Casa Santo Domingo houses is quite important, complete and very old. The rooms are absolutely wonderful, with vaulted ceilings, wooden beams, beautiful chimneys, and patios that open out onto luscious tropical courtyards. Walking around the hotel was a real delight. Because one goes past bubbling fountains, flowered patios, stone-paved courtyards, beautiful arched corridors, and walls of religious paintings and niches crammed with relics, to finally step out onto the cobble-stoned streets of lovely white-washed colonial Antigua. Making it a perfect stay in this charming part of Guatemala. I highly recommend it.

8  Thank 99Maria
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:
#1 Family Hotel in Antigua
#2 Spa Hotel in Antigua
#2 Business Hotel in Antigua
#4 Luxury Hotel in Antigua
#9 Romantic Hotel in Antigua
Price Range: £82 - £1,051 (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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