“There are few places in the world with such intense dedication to craft, beauty, and history.”
Enter Antigua, a UNESCO world heritage site 25 miles outside of Guatemala City. Often mistaken for the country in the Caribbean, this Spanish colonial town is the grand dame to Guatemaltecans and for good reason.
The thriving food scene, new hotels, and incredible weather are just a few of its charms. As a hotel brand designer, it’s my go to destination to reconnect with inspiration, culture, and design.
Here, I’ll share my favorite inspiration spots in this creative paradise.
The Good Hotel
Where to Stay
The stunning Meson Panza Verde Hotel
Antigua is a lush, architectural wonderland and its no wonder hotels are so special here. Meson Panza Verde has mastered the balance of character and charm that brings out that rare magic from a space.
El Convento, once a convent, is a great example of how Antigua does a mix of old world charm and luxury.
The Good Hotel is a new kid on the block with a minimalist modern look and a well-curated shop of local design goods. The best part is that they reinvest their profits and provide impact programs for the community.
Where To Eat
Quiltro (above and right)
The Guatemalan culinary scene is quickly evolving, lead by a new crop of innovative creatives and chefs.
Santo Spirito is in one word, extraordinary. This restaurant is done by a well-traveled husband and wife duo. When it comes to design, simplicity and functionality is their north star. They are inspired from the local crafts and the minimalism of Japanese and Nordic culture. With a strong tie to art, they also feature local artists like Kurtis Brand, with pieces hanging along the walls. I daydream of transporting this place to my neighborhood in NYC.
Kombu, a ramen shop using traditional Guatemalan ingredients including handmade noodles made with local flour.
Seasoned chef Rodrigo Salvo (Mugaritz and Noma) is changing the Guatemalan food scene with his restaurant Quiltro. Opt for the tasting menu and prepare for sensory dishes that could be straight out of Chef Table.
Swing by Antigua’s new food hall, La Esquina, which has 6 kitchens and design inspired by Guatemalan markets, get your instagram ready.
Where to Snack
This adorable tiny juice and coffee shop is a place to get your antioxidants, Amancer Juice Bar. Pop by Dona Maria Gordillo for traditional dulce that they’ve been serving the same treats since the 1800’s. Where you’ll also feel like you time warped to a different century. Grab a coffee and sit in the garden of Guatelaria, a concept store with a sweet shop in front, home goods, apparel and cafe.
Where To Drink
Adra Hostel, set in a classic colonial house, this upscale trendy hostel has all my design guilty pleasures, print mixing tiles, woven chairs, neon lights and nubby hammocks. In Guatemala, the drink of choice is rum or Zacapa. This is not your spring break rum but the crème de la crème of Guatemalan rum. The flagship space, Casa De Ron is the place to sip on this golden nectar. Craft beer is somewhat new to Guatemala and growing in popularity. Antigua Brewery is the place to sample different varieties, all made locally. Take note of the cute pours in the shape of Guatemalan relics and the rooftop with volcano views.
Guatemala is a country known for its textiles. There’s one textile store I always go to, El Telar. It houses some of the most incredible fabrics and hammocks. Expect to find everything to furnish the home, from table clothes, runners, to pillows.
Stela 9, also an airbnb and café, has a well-styled store with a women’s collection that’ll feel like your always on vacation. All made of from local weavers.
Casa de Artes doubles as a museum, go to see the collection of masks, vintage jewelry, and antique artisan crafts.