Prolongacion Blvd. Los Proceres Km. 9, Zona 15, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Nestled on a hillside overlooking Guatemala City, the Vista Real offers an alternative to the capital's urban hotels. Previously a member of respected Quinta Real Hotels in Mexico, it is now a Guatemalan property that remains the top choice in town.
Located fifteen minutes from Zona Viva's tourist center, this tranquil resort appeals to many senses. The décor is a combination of modern, regional and colonial with Moorish influences. Its stunning circular–shaped lobby's high domed ceiling and stately white pillars surround the sitting areas. Lamps with intricately painted indigenous village scenes adorn pottery vases. A five–foot floral arrangement showcases birds–of–paradise, hibiscus and other native flowers. Soft buttery hues complement melon–colored walls.
Off this main lobby you pass through an arch to reach the sit–down receptionists' desks. You may or may not receive the advertised champagne and moist cloth pampering upon arrival as it seems a bit "hit or miss" with this tradition. A bronze statue of St. Michael, the archangel, greets you as you leave the lobby. Chirping birds, trickling waterfalls and carp–filled pools flow amidst gardens by a covered stone bridge leading to the suites. Inside, ubiquitous white arches with lengthy dark hallways are lit with Guatemalan paintings, framed woven textiles, and hovering stone angels observing from above.
Suites are designated as Master Suites, Honeymoon Suites, Grand Class Suites, Business Class Suites, Governor Suites, and a single multi–level Presidential Suite. Avoid the Master Suites, which are located on the first and second floors. They seem a bit drab without many of the amenities in the larger offerings. Book suites from the third floor or higher. Business Class Suites are on the renovated fourth floor. They are comfortable and well–appointed. Secretarial services in English and Spanish, computers, printers, and fax are provided. Salons are available for conferences. A dedicated Business Class dining room is offered for quiet meals and drinks on the fourth floor.
Most rooms have a separate sitting area, free wireless internet, minibar, and entertainment center. White scalloped arches adorn walls above the beds. "Luxury" beds provide a double pillow mattress, comforter with duvet, and feather pillows.
Bathrooms have marble counters, Vista Real toiletries, and combo tubs. As with other hotels designed by the Quinta Real chain, white ruffled curtains are slightly pulled aside with a partial view of a rectangular–shaped tile design over the bathtub. Guest services include 24–hour medical assistance, gift shop, a nanny for children (if pre–arranged), room service, transportation to–and–from the airport (be sure you have a confirmed reservation) and shuttles to the Zona Viva or "lively zone". Special packages are available for weddings, adoptions, honeymoons, and anniversaries.
A crescent–shaped swimming pool is surrounded by grass. In contrast to the Westin's heated pool, the water here can be chilly. A whirlpool, spa services such as massages and facials, a gym room with sauna, and walks along garden pathways offer diversions. Located on the entry–level floor, La Ventana Restaurant's formal dining room is spacious with heavily draped floor to ceiling windows. International and regional cuisine is offered along with an extensive wine list. Las Terrazas Restaurant serves a buffet breakfast with dozens of choices, plus a chef prepares individual orders of omelettes and waffles.
If you don't mind rubbing elbows, the Vista Real bar is cozy with its wooden benches and tables. Try to grab the window seats as they look out on the waterfalls and pools cascading down a grassy knoll. Martinis are a specialty. The Vista Real Hotel is a fine choice for those who desire an escape from the city center. For most, the lovely grounds and larger rooms will make up for the distance from downtown and the airport. You won't find the heated pool and renovated gym of the Westin Guatemala City, but with regional art and crafts displayed throughout, the Vista Real has a much stronger sense of place.
Web Address: www.vistareal.com
Total Number of Rooms: 123
Published rates: $130 to $900
Review and photos by Timothy Scott