In Antigua, Guatemala, former colonial capital of Latin America, pastel facades line the cobblestone streets. Behind these facades, almost anything is possible. Doors and archways open into hidden worlds of textiles, gardens, rum, and cuisine. The most striking of these hidden worlds is Hotel Casa Santo Domingo, a luxury hotel built among the ruins of a 16th-century Dominican monastery.
Rolan and I had admiringly meandered through the grounds of Hotel Casa Santo Domingo in years past, and this year we finally experienced it as guests. During our stay, we relaxed in our plush suite, tasted exquisite food, played with parrots, enjoyed blissful spa treatments, viewed contemporary and pre-Columbian art, and wandered among the property’s monastery ruins, left by the 1773 Santa Marta earthquake. Antigua itself is one of my favorite places in the world, but Hotel Casa Santo Domingo is a destination in its own right. If you ever visit Antigua, I can’t recommend Hotel Casa Santo Domingo highly enough.
We checked into Hotel Casa Santo Domingo in the evening after a quick, 90-minute drive from Guatemala City. We were escorted down candlelit stone hallways and through fountain-filled courtyards to reach our room. Our suite was a showcase of the best art and textiles Guatemala has to offer. We were delighted by private gardens, expansive living space, two fireplaces, and fresh flowers.
We then made our way over to property restaurant and local favorite, El Refectorio. Sitting among lush plants, trees, and candles inside the restaurant’s arched stone structures, we prepared ourselves for a feast. Each table was decorated with flags representing guests’ nationalities. Surveying the restaurant, we could see that others had traveled from near and far to luxuriate in this lovely Antigua evening. We dined on a phenomenal meal of traditional Guatemalan dishes with contemporary twists, my favorite being a creamy corn soup.
The next morning, candlelight gave way to sunlight, and we were able to take advantage of the property in all its daytime glory.
We passed by many bubbling fountains, ruins, and citrus trees on our way to breakfast.
Back at El Refectorio, we made room for the hotel’s famous buffet. We piled our plates high with papaya, tortillas, pupusas, and tamales and savored our breakfast in the gentle morning breeze.
We then strolled off to explore more of the expansive property, delighting in the preserved ruins and cascades of fragrant pink flowers. We popped into onsite candle and ceramic shops, and we befriended some macaws. (Lucky birds, to live in such a beautiful place!)
Later in our stay, we took a brief drive to another branch of the property. Santo Domingo Del Cerro, a high-altitude gathering place, showcases an impressive collection of contemporary Guatemalan art, beautiful gardens, and volcanic views. The area also offers an onsite zipline and an acclaimed restaurant, Tenedor del Cerro. At Tenedor del Cerro, we feasted on vegetable-laden pizzas while admiring Guatemala’s dramatic landscapes.
In addition to soaking up the surroundings, cuisine, history, and art, we devoted hours to pure relaxation. Hotel Casa Santo Domingo’s spa, set among verdant gardens, is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. I limited my photos there out of respect for other guests, but you’ve got to see it. I received a calming hot stone massage that used jade stones, nodding to Antigua’s Mayan jade industry. I was given a homemade sweet corn body scrub to use later that was divinely good. After my treatment, Rolan and I lounged about the beautiful spa grounds, drinking sweet herbal tea and listening to the fountains.
Hotel Casa Santo Domingo is centrally located in the heart of Antigua, but inside its doors is a quiet oasis overflowing with opportunities for relaxation and cultural exploration that can captivate you for days. We can’t wait to return in the years to come!
Thank you to Hotel Casa Santo Domingo for sponsoring this post.