Last Christmas we spent Christmas in Guatemala and I have to tell you, it was one of the best travel decisions we ever made. We stayed in Antigua for a few days and then headed over to Lake Atitlan. When looking for hotels in Antigua Guatemala, I found the Casa Santo Domingo hotel, which looked like a pretty unique hotel considering it used to be a church and convent. The Casa Santo Domingo is a (very popular) historic gem in Antigua, and is only a few blocks from the city center. Not only is the Casa Santo Domingo a gorgeous hotel but a museum, botanical garden and home to many cultural artifacts.
My husband booked us a one bedroom suite that came with a fireplace, he figured since it was Christmas why not splurge a little bit more. We arrived late at night and walking through this hotel I immediately thought we were walking through an ancient castle. Little white lights were strung on the trees, candles were burning and there were poinsettia plants decorating the hallways. When the bell man lead us to our room I felt like I was in the movie Indiana Jones or The Mummy and that we were staying on an excavating site for hidden ancient ruins. And well, we kind of were!
The grounds here were breathtaking, the hallways all have exposed brick and there were statues and fountains scattered throughout the entire property. I am not even sure I saw everything on the property, there was something new to discover everyday.
There was even a statue in our room, and as my son tried to fall asleep the first night he said “that statue is kind of creeping me out”. Our one bedroom suite had a sitting area with a couch that pulled out to a bed, as well as a table with four chairs, and a small coffee maker. The bathroom was large and decorated with old Spanish tiles. Our room was a little dark but in a very cozy and comfortable sort of way. It was a perfect way to spend Christmas, snuggled up with one another by the fire.
We had Christmas Eve dinner at the main restaurant (El Refectorio del Prior) and it was like dining in an enchanted garden, I will never forget how beautiful it was. The entire restaurant glowed from all the white lights strung in the trees, candles on all the tables and floor lanterns placed all around the restaurant. The main dining room is long and narrow with large dome openings cut out of the brick that lead to outside seating with tables set for larger parties. It truly felt like dining in a castle. It was magical. I tried to take pictures, but unfortunately it was too dark, which is okay, because I will never forget that Christmas Eve dinner and how beautiful it was, I have a very vidid picture stamped forever in my mind.
The pool was also so unique because of it’s surroundings, a mix of old world meets new world. We spent our Christmas morning jumping in and out of the pool and hot tub. Since the temperatures were a bit chilly in Guatemala in December this was perfectly refreshing and relaxing. The breakfast each morning was very filling and had a lot of options which included the traditional breakfast of eggs, gallo pinto and plantains, an omelet station, fruit and a variety of pastries. In the afternoon they would set out a small table with coffee and tea.
I’ve never spent Christmas in another country,it felt a little strange to be so far from family and friends but it also felt really nice to spend the holiday with just the four of us, our own private little Christmas. And I have to say, we could not have picked a more ideal place to spend Christmas in Central America.
The Casa Santo Domingo is truly an historic work of art that oozes class, culture and charm. It is absolutely one of the most unique hotels I have ever stayed at and I would highly recommend this hotel for families, large groups, and couples. Not only is it family friendly but very romantic as well, which can sometimes be very hard to do. Truly a hidden gem in the middle of Antigua, Guatemala! The luxurious Antigua rentals are also considered hidden gems amongst those looking for truly unique and spectacular vacations.
There were several gorgeous parrots on the property.
Even our Elf on the Shelf followed us to Guatemala! The kids kept worrying about Santa not knowing that they were in Guatemala. They were very concerned if they would be getting any presents on Christmas morning. I mean, we didn’t even have a tree! But, Santa found the Fellmans in Guatemala and did indeed leave some presents by the fireplace. The Elf on the Shelf must have helped Santa locate us, he is magic;)