Carretera a El Salvador (Suburbs)
Although a bit far from the action, the all-suite
Vista Real Guatemala (Km. 8.5 Carretera a El Salvador, tel. 2420-7720, www.vistareal.com, $109–190 d) scores big points for its location on a bluff overlooking the city and its neocolonial architecture featuring Mexican artistic touches.
Its 129 rooms are all comfortable and well furnished with some truly splendid features, including vaulted wooden ceilings and neocolonial archways in some rooms. The Suite Gran Clase rooms are a good value and substantially nicer than the Master Suites, which are only slightly less expensive.
The Suite Presidencial ($799) is one of the nicest rooms in Guatemala. Check the website for special deals. Wireless Internet is offered throughout the property. There is a pleasant, though unheated, garden swimming pool.
Its Restaurante Las Ventanas is one of the city’s most exclusive, with a variety of international dishes served in an elegant dining room overlooking the hotel’s gardens. Its well-stocked Bar Quinta Real is open 5 p.m.–1 a.m. Monday–Saturday.
Well outside of Guatemala City but entirely worth the trip, San Gregorio Hotel & Spa (Carretera a Santa Elena Barillas Km. 29.5, tel. 6634-3666, www.sangregoriospa.com, $120 d) is a modern, eco-chic facility with 10 stylish rooms featuring hardwood floors, flat-screen TVs, Guatemalan textiles, wood accents, and views over Guatemala City valley to Lake Amatitlán and Agua Volcano. There’s an indoor/outdoor swimming pool; the hotel’s eco-chic status is punctuated by the use of solar panels for water heating and rain-water collection for landscape irrigation.
To get here, take the Carretera a El Salvador to a turnoff at Km. 25. You’ll see a Texaco gas station; follow the road to Santa Elena Barillas, another 4.5 kilometers. A sign for San Gregorio indicates the intersection where you’ll make a right-hand turn to the lodge.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com