You don’t see much written about Guatemala City since most leisure travelers high-tail it out of the capital to go to more enticing spots. Antigua is less than an hour and a half away, Lake Atitlan is driving distance, then there are market towns and adventure launching spots elsewhere.
Guatemala’s economy has been growing steadily the past five years though and there is a lot of business activity in the capital. So plenty of foreigners are landing here daily to import goods, expand their market, open factories, or oversee international operations. Here are a few of the top hotels to choose from. Most are located very near the airport, clustered in the same “Zona Viva” area, so it won’t take long to get to where you need to go.
Located on a hillside with beautiful gardens, an outdoor pool, and a panoramic view, this is in most respects the best hotel in the city. It is built in colonial style, with lots of arches and courtyards, but is of modern construction and has all the expected amenities. There is an excellent restaurant on site with lots of natural light in the daytime and an impressive mural on one wall. If you’ve ever been in a Quinta Real hotel, you’ll recognize the rooms here. Most have a separate sitting area, a wispy curtain over the bathtub, and lots of columns and arches as decorative accents. Try to book one on the third or fourth floor as these are brighter. Some have a city skyline view and the business level ones have access to a lounge with the best view of all.
Westin Camino Real
The Camino Real then Westin was the original luxury hotel in Guatemala City and though its age means the need for continual upkeep and renovations, it has held its own over more than four decades. The lobby has a mountain of marble and grand floral arrangements to wow you as you enter and shiny marble hallways lead to several good restaurants with waiters who speak English. For those who want a workout, you get use of one of the best fitness centers in town, with a personal trainer on staff. Rooms have all the Westin signature items, like “heavenly beds” and great showerheads. Standards are on the small side though, so use your status to upgrade if you have it.
If you like rum, head one building over to the tasting room for some delicious aged Ron Zacapa and Ron Botran. See more details at the hotel website or book a room through Priceline, with rates starting around $120 double.
Real Guatemala Intercontinental
This chain hotel is a favorite with international business travelers looking to get their IHG loyalty points and have no surprises after arrival. It caters well to both deal-makers and leisure travelers needing to spend a night in the capital because of their flight time. There’s a grand lobby, three restaurants, a bar, and a fitness area
Only 7 of the 247 rooms are suites and they cost about double what the regular rooms do—like $260 as opposed to $125 on on weekends, a similar ratio on weekdays. You’ll have to pay extra for Wi-Fi too if you’re not an IHG Priority Club member. Book direct with IHG Group, at Travelocity, or at Priceline, where rates start at $130.
Radisson Guatemala City
This high-rise hotel has some terrific city lights views from its upper floors and is in a good location right in the heart of things. Rooms are spacious and well-equipped, with ergonomic chairs and easy-to-reach outlets for getting some real work done on the included Wi-Fi. A big loveseat with ottoman lets you watch the huge flat-screen TV with some English channels in real comfort.
La Immaculada Hotel
Antigua has dozens of interesting boutique hotels, but it’s a different story in the all-business capital. The best small hotel is La Immaculada, which features modern decor and furniture with a smattering of design whimsy to go beyond all the chain hotel sameness. The 13 rooms and suites are all named after coffee beans and each has a balcony or terrace. You’ll still get your pampering though, with L’Occitane toiletries, rain showers, music systems, and comforters over fine Egyptian cotton sheets.
You also get a lot of goodies in the rates, like Wi-Fi, coffee prepared by a barista, and breakfast. With rates starting at $105, this is a good choice if you want personal service and a place not decorated for your grandmother’s tastes. See more at the La Immaculada website or book at Expedia.
Article by editor Tim Leffel, photos by Leffel except La Immaculada, courtesy of the hotel. See review of the best luxury hotels throughout Guatemala at our sister site Luxury Latin America.