Casa Encantada

South of Plaza, Antigua, Guatemala Book from Book from £76 per night

Tranquil guesthouse with a plunge pool and impeccable service, just south of Antigua's central plaza
The former Spanish colonial capital, abandoned after a series of devastating earthquakes and now revived as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, beguiles even the most jaded traveller with its pretty cobbled streets and its 17th-century churches and convents. Combined with a breathtaking setting, a relaxed ambiance and some of the best shopping and dining in Central America, you can't fail to be charmed.

And there are few more hospitable or tranquil places to base yourself than Casa Encantada. A traditional iron and timber front door opens onto to a lush garden courtyard with a fountain-fed plunge pool. Alongside is a welcoming living room and just 10 bedrooms, including a kingsize rooftop suite. All have wrought-iron beds, Guatemalan textiles and top-quality furnishings. You can breakfast on the rooftop terrace amid majestic volcanoes, then return at the close of day to flickering candles and a glass of Chilean white. It's an enchanting and thoroughly comfortable guesthouse.

Highs

  • Rooftop bar and breakfast terrace with wonderful views
  • Discreet professional service
  • Central enough for all sights to be an easy walk away; quiet enough to be a tranquil haven

Lows

  • Not the most characterful of places to stay in fascinating Antigua
  • No restaurant, although light snacks for lunch and dinner can be provided on request
  • Bathrooms only have showers

Best time to go

Antigua has a very pleasant climate year round as it is 1,500 metres above sea level - cooler temperatures and fresh air provide some respite in the rainy season; in high season expect warmer days with mild evenings, and little humidity. You'll need to book well in advance for Semana Santa (Easter week) and the Christmas and New Year peak seasons.

Our top tips

Sample the Antiguan languid lifestyle: wander cobbled streets, meander in and out of coffee bars, restaurants and shops, visit art galleries, buy cigars, and browse bookshops

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 10
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • Over 5s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Plunge Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Rooftop Suite

Rooms

After a 16 hour journey from London we collapsed into the queensize wrought-iron four-poster of Room 5 with relish. We found plump goosedown pillows, fine Italian linen, a minibar and bottled water, a safe, a TV, and an ample, custom-made wardrobe. Double-paned windows and shutters ensured a well-earned and lengthy slumber. On waking we noticed white walls, tiled floors, framed ceremonial huipiles and ethnic textile cushions - each room displaying variety on this theme.

All rooms, except the rooftop suite and the twin, are on the ground floor; rooms 6 and 7 are reached through the living room by stepping on stones across the lily pond, which is candlelit at night. Most have queensize wrought-iron beds; rooms 3 and 4 stretch to kingsize beds. Bathrooms are ensuite throughout, with walk-in showers finished in natural stone tiles, fluffy bathrobes and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries. Room 1 has the biggest bathroom.

The rooftop suite boasts a four-poster, kingsize, wrought-iron bed, a traditional colonial fireplace and a large bathroom with a walk-in shower and a tub on a stone platform. Leading from the terrace, it has magnificent views of city rooftops and surrounding mountains.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Plunge pool
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • Tv

Eating

If you can stir your stumps, it's worth getting up early to watch the sunrise over Antigua from the delightful roof terrace. At any time of day the views of one of the world's most perfectly conical volcanoes and the surrounding hills are spectacular. You can also glimpse the cathedral amidst the rooftops and rotundas.

Breakfast is served on this terrace, overlooking the central courtyard and plunge pool, amongst bougainvillea blossoms, hortensias and camellias in pots. Choose between the Desayuno Tipico (eggs as you wish, refried beans, tortillas, fried plantains, cheese and sour cream), the Desayuno de Pancakes (with maple syrup) or the Desayuno Continental. There are healthier options like a fruit platter or granola and yoghurt as well. Local touches include small terracotta condiment bowls and local textile napkins.

The guesthouse made up some sandwiches for our day trip; light dinners can be provided in the evenings with a little notice. The small rooftop bar is open between 2-9pm and is the perfect place to enjoy an evening cocktail before going out to dinner.

The staff can advise and make dinner reservations for you at any number of good restaurants in the old town, and there are countless delis, cafés and bars for day-time pitstops.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take an architectural tour around fascinating and charming colonial Antigua, once a great Spanish Empire city, with its earthquake-damaged and restored buildings. Don't miss the half-ruined Cathedral of San José and the Palacio de los Capitanes on the Plaza Central, the colonial mansion Casa Popenoe, and beautiful churches such as La Merced, with its intricate mustard yellow facade. There are also ruined convents to explore, including the ornate Santa Clara, the impressive Las Capuchinas and the iconic arch at Santa Catalina

  • Climb Pacaya - the most accessible active volcano in Guatemala is 2 hours away. Book early morning or afternoon tours for stunning close-up views

  • Take the opportunity to learn Spanish - Antigua has dozens of language schools to choose from, and there's a vibrant student community

  • Go shopping - Antigua's market is open daily (best on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturday mornings) and is good for local colour and flowers. Nearby shops sell Mayan textiles, crafts, folk art, home accessories, antiques and furniture

  • Explore the popular Antigua dance scene - clubs open from 7pm (the best nights are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays) and alcohol is sold until 1am. Some bars are themed, some produce excellent cocktails, and all are friendly

  • Casa Encantada can arrange walking tours, and tours of local villages e.g. San Antonio which is renowned for its weaving process, or to nearby flower and coffee plantations

  • Arrange your onward travel - Antigua is the primary base for Guatemalan adventures and many travel agencies offer deals on onward travel and excursions

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Art classes
  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Language courses
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Rafting
  • Shopping / markets
  • Tennis
  • Traditional cultures
  • Yoga

Kids

The steep steps up to the open terrace mean the hotel is not particularly suitable for toddlers, so only over 5s are accepted. In the low season please ask as exceptions can be made.

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 8 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
9/10
Food
9/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

The location was really good in the centre of Antigua. Sitting on the terrace in the hotel enjoying lovely breakfast was lovely, and the staff were very helpful. However the town has lots of traffic and pollution and overwhelming smell of exhaust pipes fumes.That was something we did not expect.

8/10,

This was a lovely, cosy place in a good location with willing staff (sometimes a little laid back and occasionally a language barrier, but always very friendly) and it offered excellent value for money. It's not total luxury, but had lots of traditional Guatemalan charm and we really enjoyed having delicious breakfasts on its wonderful roof terrace. Overall it was a great base for exploring Antigua, at a great price.

9/10,

Good breakfast and very kind service. Room is pretty but small.

8/10,

What a nice stay we had. Casa Encantada is away from the town center but an easy walk. It is very quiet and peaceful. There are about 10 rooms and a nice sitting area which we used. The staff were helpful and made us fresh coffee whenever we asked. Breakfast was included with a choice of taking it on the roof patio or in our room at Encantada. We did the latter and it was wonderful. Cooked to order eggs, breads, fruit, and Guatemalan dishes.This was not in some windowless breakfast room, but on a beautiful open veranda.
I could go on, but you get the idea. We would definitely stay again.
Thanks i-escape for vetting properties like this.

10/10,

This was a delightful hotel. Everything was perfect - the room, the service, breakfast on the sunny terrace. It was also exceptionally good value. I would recommend this hotel and would stay there again if we return to Antigua.

10/10,

We really loved our stay in Antigua at Casa Encantada. Great location - close to the town centre and all the sites. Staff were friendly and service fantastic, very helpful. We loved our delicious traditional 'Chapin' breakfasts on the stunning roof terrace. Our room was very comfortable, a huge bed, clean bathroom, safe and secure. It was a fab start to our trip and great value for money.

10/10,

Can't say enough good things about this hotel. Beautiful room, friendly helpful staff, great location, safe and secure, great breakfast. Value-wise I would only say that we found it particularly good as we were in a triple room but it really was lovely.

10/10,

Great place to stay in Antigua. Small & comfortable hotel that make you feel at home. Very comfortable beds, nice bathroom with all amenities & hot shower. Delicious and gorgeous breakfast every day. Friendly staff (mainly the women). We recommend this place.

8/10,

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Rates for Casa Encantada