Sombra del Agua: San Cristobal’s Best Boutique Hotel

This ancient San Cristobal mansion has been a hotel since 1907, but was recently renovated into one of the city’s best boutique hotel stays.

Sombra del Agua, the hotel’s newest incarnation is both beautiful and visually soothing, with clean white walls, touches of rich color in bed runners and hand-embroidered pillows and cool grey and brown stone floors. Instead of a central lobby the hotel has an enchanting outdoor patio ringed by archways and hammocks strung here and there. During the drier, cooler season of San Cristobal, small fires are lit in the copper fire pits arranged around the patio next to large ceramic pots and lots of colorful foliage.

The hotel sits right in the heart of San Cristobal’s downtown and is easy walking distance to most all of the popular bars, restaurants and attractions. I would definitely reccommend a stay during the dry season to take full advantage of the hotel’s outdoor spaces, but even in the rainy season it has its charm.

The restaurant, which is only open for the morning breakfast buffet, has floor-to-ceiling glass doors that can be opened out into the patio. There is a small bar that sits to one side of the reception area that has beer, cocktails and a small food menu that you can order from during its open hours (1pm-11pm). There is seating inside but the wooden tables and chairs out under the porticos are much more enjoyable (especially because of the massive flat screen TV that dominates the bar).

The rooms in the front of the part of the hotel feel a little more luxurious, while the back corridors a little dark. The rooms have a simple, fresh color scheme, warm wooden furniture and high-quality textiles. Variation between the 79 rooms (soon to be 81) is minimal. All have high-quality beds and linens, bath products, fluffy towels, lockboxes, clothes irons and hairdryers. The differences are mainly in the square footage, whether you want one king-size bed or two doubles, and if you want a window to the street. While the street side rooms have much more natural light, if you like open windows, you will be on eye-level with passersby. No rooms have balconies.

The service at the hotel is laidback but professional, making you feel comfortable asking for information or special requests. The bartender didn’t push me out the moment they closed the bar and the front desk staff did their best to answer all my questions, including responding right away to any calls up to the front desk.

While almost every aspect of my stay delighted me, I think the hotel would be even better if they had a gourmet kitchen and a serious mixologist on staff. The cocktails were pretty poorly done and the breakfast buffet wasn’t tempting with so much good food in San Cristobal. This is the kind of hotel that could become the next it place to hang out with a little food and drink inspiration.

Overall this is one of the best boutique stays in San Cristobal – an excellent location combined with a visually delightful space and quality amenities. Plus, the cost in comparison to rooms of the same level in other boutique hotels in the city (the rooms run from about 69usd to 80usd a night) can’t be beat. I would definitely stay there again. You can check for low rates on Hotels.com, Travelocity or other hotel booking sites.

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