Casa Encantada

South of Plaza, Antigua, Guatemala Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
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.


  • 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


  • 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
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • 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


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


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


  • 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


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 available by arrangement

Kid Friendly:

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