Zonas 11 and 13 (Airport)
A number of inexpensive hotels all offering similar services are centered in a middle-class neighborhood near the airport. All offer free transport to and from the terminal as well as breakfast, though this varies from continental minimalist to a full-on Guatemalan feast.
Dos Lunas Guest House (21 Calle 10-92 Zona 13, Aurora II, tel. 2334-5264, www.hoteldoslunas.com) has nine basic rooms, all with shared bath, for $12 per person including a breakfast of eggs and toast. Reservations are necessary, as it’s usually booked.
Hostal Los Lagos (8a Avenida 15-85 Zona 13, tel. 2334-5311, www.loslagoshostal.com) has cheerful rooms with colorful paintings and several beds each. You can share a room and a bathroom for as little as $15 or share a room with private bathroom for $20. A double room with one bed and private bathroom costs $35. All rates include a complete breakfast of eggs, beans, cereal, toast, juice, and coffee or tea. You’ll find Internet, cable TV, laundry, and baggage storage as well as two sitting rooms with bamboo furniture.
Hostal Los Volcanes (16 Calle 8-00, Colonia Aurora I, Zona 13, tel. 2261-3040, www.hostallosvolcanes.com) has seven rooms with private or shared bathroom. Rates start at $10 per person in a dormitory bed. There are private shared-bath singles for $20. A room with private bathroom, large bed and cable TV costs $25/$40 a single/double. The pleasant house in which the hostel is based has a pleasant garden patio with a colonial fountain, a balcony with volcano views, a living room with cable TV, VCR, games, a library, Internet, and free drinking water. It also provides rides to the bus terminals.
A notch above the rest of the lodgings in the airport neighborhood is
Hostal Villa Toscana (16 Calle 8-20, Aurora I, Zona 13, tel. 2261-2854, www.hostalvillatoscana.com, $49–61 d), a bed-and-breakfast where there are large, well-decorated rooms with private bathroom, wireless Internet, and even a suite with a balcony and volcano views.
Hotel Casablanca (15 Calle “C” 7-35, Aurora I, Zona 13, tel. 2261-3116, www.hotelcasablancainn.com, $35–50 d) is another good choice with pleasant, simply decorated rooms with big beds, reading lamps, and shared or private bathroom. There is wireless Internet throughout and a pleasant patio bar.
The 183-room Crowne Plaza (Avenida Las Américas 9-08 Zona 13, tel. 2422-5000 or 800/835-4654 toll-free U.S., www.cpguatemala.com.gt, $105–150 d) features rooms with the chain’s Sleep Advantage, including deliciously comfortable beds, fine duvets, and your choice of seven different pillows. The seventh floor is designated as a “Quiet Zone,” with TVs that reach only a certain volume and a relaxation kit with aromatherapy products. The ninth floor is an all-suite executive floor. The staff assures me you can drink the tap water and everything, including the hotel food, is certified to the highest standards of hygiene. It has a business center with wireless Internet, a huge gym with excellent city views from the top floor, a sports bar with video poker and slot machines, and a heated pool with whirlpool tub. The Los Volcanes restaurant, on the ground floor, serves international and local dishes à la carte or buffet style. There’s a piano player at night. Video Lotería Monte Carlo (video gambling, 1 p.m.–3 a.m. daily) is also based on the ground floor, featuring video poker and slot machines. Proceeds benefit the environmental foundation Monte Carlo Verde.
Formerly the city’s Hyatt Regency, the Grand Tikal Futura (Calzada Roosevelt 22-43 Zona 11, tel. 2440-1234, $190–600 d) still maintains the same high-quality standards and has comfortable, well-furnished rooms varying from standard rooms to stunning Diplomatic Suites. All have splendid views of the city and surrounding mountains. Restaurants include elegant La Molienda, serving international and Guatemalan dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the excellent Asia Grill and Wok serving lunch and dinner in a tropically inspired, casual atmosphere. There is a lobby bar, a fitness center with health-food bar, and a covered swimming pool with poolside service and city views.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com