2da. Calle Poniente No. 7, La Antigua, Guatemala
Not the biggest or flashiest place to stay, this luxury bed and breakfast instead delivers gorgeous rooms and an enchanting setting in the heart of the historic center.
Opened in March of 2013 a short few blocks from the famous Santa Catalina Arch of Antigua, this attractive seven–room boutique hotel is the result of three years of restoration work. San Rafael Hotel is the kind of place people rave about after their return, saying, $We found this great little hotel in a terrific location?$
There are just seven rooms here, so this is not a big luxury hotel defined by its list of services. Staffers will do their best to make sure you?re enjoying yourself long after the welcome drink is served and will answer any questions you may have. The layout is such that it never feels crowded or cramped. The rooms surround two large courtyards with paving stones and fountains, filled with cypress trees, ficus trees, and blooming local plants. You look out on this peaceful scene while enjoying breakfast on a patio facing the gardens.
The construction feels solid and grounded, with stucco over brick and large stone columns and accents. The roofs are covered with traditional tile, including the coverings over the walkways.
A multi–purpose lounge area is the main gathering space and it has a strong sense of place. With a fire roaring in cool months, it?s an enticing room for whiling away the evenings with a glass of wine or local rum. Another sitting area is on the edge of one of the courtyards, open to the year–round spring–like climate. The Wi–Fi is included and you can log on in all public areas or in each of the rooms.
Accommodations here are similar in size and amenities, but each room has a distinct look. Apart from one smallish room that?s best for singles, all are spacious and well–appointed for couples. Most of them are junior suites, with a large king bed and a sitting area with space for lounging. Expect high beamed ceilings, chandeliers, and Oriental rugs over tile floors. All make use of Guatemalan fabrics combined with handmade wood furniture and artistic accents. Baths employ rain showers and quality toiletries, but with decorative tile in the shower stall and sculpted stone or marble sinks. Each room has a fireplace and ample closet space.
The top choice is the Santa Rosa King Premiere Suite. This one features solid carved wood columns and high windows that look out on a private patio with plants and a 34–foot water feature.
There are plenty of pampering touches here, such as robes, down duvets, and nightly turndown service. Flat–screen TVs with HDMI connection and complimentary bottled water are also included. For early risers, there?s another nice addition: complimentary self–serve coffee and tea in the courtyard each morning.
The front desk staffers speak several languages and have a steady stream of visitors from the USA, Canada, and Europe. There aren?t a lot of extras here in terms of facilities, but for many visitors that?s just fine. For those who plan on strolling Antigua on foot and trying different restaurants anyway, San Rafael offers luxury rooms at an attractive price.
Web address: TheSanRafaelHotel.com
Total number of rooms: 7
Published rates: $115 - $222 including breakfast but not 22% taxes
Review and photos by Timothy Scott.