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“the only place to stay in antigua!!! divine”

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The San Rafael Hotel
Ranked #1 of 75 Hotels in Antigua
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 December 2013

We stumbled across this gem whilst in antigua trying to find a place to stay for 4 nights and wow what a find. From the big comfy bed, to amazing courtyard, big bathroom, fireplace, the delicious breakfast. With only 7 rooms it feels like no one else is around. The location is perfect. This is the only place to stay in antigua. Its worth every dollar. In all my travels never loved a place like san rafael!!!!

Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Katherine P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotel S, Gerente at The San Rafael Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 22 January 2014

Dear Guests,

I am very glad you had a nice stay at the Hotel.Your comment is like our reward for doing a good job! thank you very much! We will continue to do our best.

Best Regards,

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227 - 233 of 298 reviews

Reviewed 14 December 2013

I wholeheartedly agree with "travelparker's" assessment below; the San Rafael should be #1 before too much longer. This exquisite hotel is straight out of the pages of Architectural Digest and I am not exaggerating one whit; the attention to detail and good taste are simply mind boggling. The mill work on the doors and cabinets is (high-end) furniture quality; absolutely beautiful. The artwork is a seamless fusion of colonial and Asian antiques and contemporary art; it may sound odd, but it really works. We stayed in two rooms, but our hands-down favorite was "La Merced," or #4 (I believe). It is very spacious and bright, with views onto both the first and second courtyards, as well as skylights in the bedroom and bathroom, with its brick, barrel-vaulted ceiling and stone wall. Julia, the manager and Claudia, her assistant, let us look at all the rooms during a lull and every one of them had a rain-fall shower head, one of my priorities!

The service was simply outstanding; personable, attentive, but not intrusive, and responsive.

Desayuno is a la carte from a short, but varied menu and it was always excellent; I tried three different dishes during our stay and they were all superb. And the Antiguan coffee is to die for; so much so that I asked Claudia if I could buy some to take home and she happily obliged.

All that being said, there was one shortcoming, and it may or may not bother other guests. The hotel is only a few doors off of Calle del Arco, which is a mixed blessing; it makes for a short walk to restaurants, shopping, and sightseeing, but that also makes it close to festivities on Friday and Saturday nights. The town fathers allow loud music from discos and outdoor entertainment to last until 1:00 in the morning, so if you are a light sleeper, be forewarned. I used my Bose noise-cancelling headphones and that seemed to do the trick.

We loved this place and if we ever returned to La Antigua, we would stay here again; I guess that's the best endorsement I could give it.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank 73Duck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotel S, Gerente at The San Rafael Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 22 January 2014

Dear Guests,

It took me a little while to respond for the nice comment you wrote about the Hotel, I have to agree with you that the decoration of the hotel is amazing and was made so that our guests could enjoy it, I am so glad you had a good stay at the hotel and it was a pleasure to meet you both.

Best Regards,

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Reviewed 12 December 2013

I had the opportunity to spend one night at this lovely boutique hotel. The hotel is centrally located and it offers many lovely amentities such a fresh flowers, delicious breakfast, magnificient courtyard and a spacious rooftop where one can enjoy the evening stars. It is truly a gem of a hotel. There is amazing amount of attention to details with regards to lovely furnishings and art work located throughout the hotel. The staff was outstanding. I hope to return again for a longer period of time.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled solo
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1  Thank Rose J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotel S, Gerente at The San Rafael Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2014

Thank you very much for your comment, means a lot to us and give us strength to continue improving. we hope to have you back soon.

Regards

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Reviewed 1 December 2013

I've been to Antigua many times, and even lived here for a month so I'm pretty familiar with the options in town. When I stumbled upon the San Rafael on Trip Advisor, I was really surprised because I'd never heard of it--especially with all of the fantastic reviews. So we decided to give it a try, and could not be more thrilled. This place is so special and fantastic, I predict that it will be the #1 hotel in Antigua in no time.

The hotel opened up about 8 months ago. Prior to it's opening, it was the private residence of a well renowned Guatemalan doctor. And that is what gives the San Rafael it's unique charm--it still feels like a private residence. Each room is decorated differently, giving the hotel its homey feel. The decor is exquisite--I felt like I was staying in a private castle or estate in Europe. 20 foot high ceilings, working fire places, area rugs, hand carved wood furniture, fresh flowers in the room every day, luxurious bedding, incredible finishes in the bathroom--really, I can't believe how much this place offers for the price.

And of course the location can't be beat. It's 1/2 block from the famous Arch in Antigua. That means never having to take a taxi home and easy accessibility throughout the day of touring around. The breakfast included with the price of the room is excellent and filling. You have a choice of 5 - 6 options ranging from fruit and granola to tipico (eggs, beans, cheese, plantains, etc.) so it has something for everyone.

The customer service is also excellent. They bend over backwards to make sure you feel happy and comfortable. For example, I asked for a fan for the room and a hair dryer, and they brought both within minutes. Also, we booked a tour of Pacaya volcano through the hotel and it was a very easy experience. The breakfast service was great, and the cleaning service was also great.

There were two reasons I didn't give the hotel a 5 star rating, and I'm hoping they will fix these soon so I can adjust my rating up. First, the parking situation. The hotel has an agreement with a lot 2 blocks away to park cars from 6pm to 8am for $3/night. But that means from 8am - 6pm you car needs to be parked on a public street, where you have to buy a parking pass from the city for about 10Q/day, which the hotel will arrange for you. So you have to pay double parking fees, and move your car twice a day. I will say, to the hotel's credit, they have worked out a system so that you don't have to personally move your car at 8am each day, but that means some stranger is driving your car around the block twice a day. That made me very uncomfortable, but given our schedule I really didn't have a choice. I hope they can make arrangements with a lot to have full time parking for the clients. There are only 8 rooms, so I can't imagine it being that difficult. If you are not driving, then this is a non-issue.

The second reason I ranked it 4 out of 5 was because of the bed in our first room. We originally booked room 2, the red room. And as I described above, everything was exquisite. The only problem was that the metal frame under the stunningly beautiful bed somehow created a taco-effect with the mattress. My husband and I kept rolling towards each other throughout the night. Since this is a new hotel with new mattresses, I am sure if they put a solid piece of wood in the metal frame that problem will go away.

When I mentioned the problem to the front desk, she immediately offered to move us to room 1, the blue room, because it has a wooden framed bed. We moved, and couldn't be happier. The room is much larger than the red room, and the bed was perfect. It was one of the most comfortable and luxurious sleeping experiences I've ever had. One other cool thing about room 1 is that the shower is dropped a few feet down and sealed, so you can take a bath! At first I was confused, but when I realized it's dual purpose I took an amazing hot bath under the beautiful blue sky (the bathrooms have skylights).

So all in all, this is a fantastic hotel. Even with the parking issue, I would come back here because the hotels many other assets far outweigh that annoyance. Given the attention to detail and customer service this hotel values, I'm sure they'll sort out the bed situation quickly.

Room Tip: Room 1 (the blue room) is really large, had a beautiful wood framed king size bed and has a sunken b...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank travelerparker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotel S, Manager at The San Rafael Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 12 December 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for your comment and specially about the bed, I am glad to let you know that the bed has been fixed, I am also working on a parking space for our guests, however is a bit difficult due to where the hotel is located, I am also glad that you had a great time at the hotel.

I hope to have you as our guest again.

Regards.

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Reviewed 3 November 2013

Without a doubt one of the best places we have been. We share the opinions expressed by previous reviewers. We are a couple from Costa Rica visiting Antigua for the second time for fun and business. We often travel around Central, Sur, and North America and have visited countless hotels, BB, and other sorts of lodging arrangements. Needless to say we have had our share wonderful and dradful experiences. But with no reservation we will say this has been one of the best places we have been, from our room to the service, everything, was first class. We recommend this place without reservation. We enjoyed our room with a real chimney which was lit any time we requested it. Our king bed was extremelly comfortable with first class linnens. Our room was convenient size with high ceiling and wonderful ventilation and light, it openned to a beutiful garden and a fountain, on the style of colonial Spanish houses. The decoration was a beautiful combination of modern and spanish colonial with a small touch of asian for relaxation. You will find freshly cut flower everywhere too. For emphasis, a large painting of the Archangel Gabriel with a cornucopia of flowers will be inmovably bringing you the good news. The bathroom is great too with its modern fixtures and natural skylight. All in all, perhaps what I enjoyed the most was the service. Wonderful gourmet breakfast every morning with fresh tropical fruit salad, squeeze to request orange juice and daily made mermelade. We enjoyed valet parking of our rented car which was brought to the hotel. Every thing was provided happily by all the staff that treated us like royalty. Our most profound gratitud to all of them. One more thing. If you have an opportunity, ask the staff to take you to the roof of the hotel, you will have a wonderful view of the red roofs of Antigua and a unique perspective of the majestic perfect cone Volcan de Agua. Nothing to envy from anywhere else. Enjoy and relax!

Room Tip: We are a bit reluctan to do this since we are sure we are going to come back soon. We do not want th...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Paco R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotel S, Gerente at The San Rafael Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 24 November 2013
Google Translation

Un Saludo cordial para agradecerles sus comentarios que nos llenaron de satisfacción. Saber que nuestros huéspedes se siente a gusto en el hotel, nos motiva a seguir adelante.

Esperamos tenerlos de nuevo pronto.

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Reviewed 26 October 2013

My husband and I have visited some of the most beautiful places in the world---and this gem of a hotel in Antigua would easily make our top 5 list...
As I write this review we are sipping wine in a candlelit courtyard to the sounds of the fountain---did I say a marble and tile fountain? The flawless craftsmanship of the woodwork is stunning. This boutique hotel was newly renovated and the artwork alone is worth staying here. Our room was refreshed daily with roses, calla lilies...and almond scented towels... Chocolates left each eve while we were out. The staff were perfectly attentive ... Not fawning; they noticed our needs and delivered seamlessly: a nut bowl was brought when they noticed our bag of local peanuts... Wine glasses left when they saw our recently purchased bottle--- they were spot on every time.

This review may sound over the moon, but trust me--- you will want to linger here. So come to San Rafael and while you are here, enjoy Antigua!

Room Tip: All fantastic
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Angela R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotel S, Gerente at The San Rafael Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 24 November 2013

Thank you very much for such a nice Hotel review, Our Motto is to make the guests feel like home, we are so glad you had a good time, and we hope to have you again as our guest in a near future.

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Reviewed 12 October 2013

I am so glad The San Rafael was our gate to Antigua. A beauty within a beauty.
The architectural design is a tasteful mix of colonial and contemporary, beautified
by carefully planned details. The spacious rooms are set around a lovely garden
with trees, flowers, and a fountain. The surrounding corridor has comfortable lounge areas to relax, feel blessed, have your breakfast there or just enjoy the delicious coffee they serve. Breakfast is included and consists of different menus to choose from, and all are so good ! Very fresh ingredients. We chose a room with two super comfortable beds: well balanced pillows, some soft some not much and soft luxury bed linens. Our room was tidy and thoroughly clean every day. The bathoom, simply amazing ! As per our request, we were welcomed at night by the warmth of a fire on the chimney as part of the turndown ritual. A lot more can be said about this authentic boutique resort, but as any traveler knows, a resort without a soul has no value at all, no matter how amazing the setting can be. The San Rafael has a soul: their staff. All were friendly in a genuine natural way, beyond the expected trained courtesy. When you meet Julia, the Manager, you will understand why.

Room Tip: We chose the junior suite called "Santa.Catalina" with 2 double beds.It was just perfect.
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Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
1  Thank Monica G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotel S, Manager at The San Rafael Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 23 October 2013

Thank you very much for posting your review, our motto is to make our guest feel like home.
It was a pleasure to meet and we all hope to have you as our guest again.

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Additional Information about The San Rafael Hotel

Address: 2da Calle Poniente No. 7, Antigua 03001, Guatemala
Phone Number:
Region: Guatemala > Sacatepequez Department > Antigua
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 75 Hotels in Antigua
Price Range: £93 - £286 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The San Rafael Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The San Rafael, which opens following a three-year restoration, incorporates the remains of an early structure significantly altered in the nineteenth century. The recent restoration preserves the form of a grand, traditional colonial home with its brick, stone and stucco construction; two courtyards; antique tile roofs; and three water features (including a dramatic wall fountain). Besides the furnished patio where one can enjoy a leisurely breakfast while gazing over the garden, guests will appreciate the elegant and lofty sitting and dining room, the perfect space in which to sip a glass of wine, sit before a roaring fire, or catch up on emails and correspondence. Entering through the gates of the San Rafael, visitors enjoy a sweeping view of the first courtyard with its two fountains and richly varied plantings: Italian cypresses, ficus trees, and the colorful blossoms of native plants. The hotel office and reception are conveniently located off the entry vestibule, where newly arriving guests will be greeted with a welcome beverage, and hotel residents may seek advice on touring the city, securing reservations at Antigua's finest restaurants, or making arrangements for a private excursion. Breakfast is a special occasion here, guests enjoying it while seated around the courtyard or in the dining room. For those fond of coffee or tea upon awakening, and before sitting down to breakfast, complimentary self-serve beverages are available in the courtyard each morning. The breakfast menu includes traditional offerings as well as a rotating array of special dishes. Breakfast is served between the hours of 7:00am and 10:30am weekdays, 11:00am weekends. ... more   less 
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