With travel rebounding, hotels and resorts are tailoring packages to a new ultra-private travel theme – the resort buyout. And for the ultimate private vacation experience where better to head than Guatemala’s only Relais & Châteaux property? Located around 90 miles from Guatemala City on the edge of Santa Catarina Palopó, one of 12 Mayan towns on the shore of Lake Atitlán, Casa Palopó enjoys stunning views over the lake and beyond to distant volcanoes.
Described as “the closest thing to Eden on Earth,” and, being surrounded by some of nature’s most beautiful wonders Lake Atitlán certainly lives up to its reputation as a paradisiacal escape.
Lakeside Residence Turned Boutique Hotel
Leveraging its unique configuration to offer guests a more private experience, travelers can currently book the entire property – including the main building and three-suite villa, which comes with its own infinity pool – for $5,555 per night, plus taxes. Another wing of the hotel ‘La Casita,’ accessible via a small staircase near the reception that leads to three deluxe rooms sleeping six guests total, is also being sold.
When booking La Casita, the library (traditionally a common area between suites where guests can borrow books and enjoy a cozy nook for reading) is converted into a private living and dining room for the exclusive use of that party, offering a great option for multi-generational families or guests traveling in small groups or “pods”.
Surrounded by three volcanos and dozens of villages, there is plenty to do at Lake Atitlán. Active and outdoorsy types can hike up nearby Indian Nose – one of the most epic sunrise viewpoints in Guatemala – before spending an afternoon paddleboarding on the lake. Culturally minded travelers will enjoy the thriving craft markets where they can shop for colorful textiles, jewelry, and other handmade goods, to take home.
And while the hotel can arrange scenic tours by either boat or helicopter, Casa Palopó’s extensive outdoor areas offer a wealth of new private experiences, highlights of which include a Guatemalan teatime with delicacies prepared by new executive chef Alvaro Pereira served under a canopy, and an Instagram-worthy pop-up glamping tent for guests in search of a unique place to relax – or perhaps make a special proposal.
New “Community Credit” Program
With today’s travel climate affecting tourism-reliant communities worldwide, a ‘new normal’ calls for a new approach. Alongside advanced cleaning protocols, in preparation for reopening earlier this month, Casa Palopó went a step further to ensure the concerns and safety of their local indigenous community were also being met – thanks to a new Community Credit program, which reimagines the traditional resort credit model to encourage guest spending outside of the hotel.
From each nightly rate, 10% is being given back in vouchers that guests can spend on items made and sold locally by the Kaqchikel Maya, who, in turn, are then able to redeem the vouchers back at the hotel for cash. To further support the community, Casa Palopó is also encouraging guests to stay on property, where artisans are being invited to host pop-up demonstrations. Experiences so far include an interactive weaving demonstration by women from the Santa Catarina cultural center.
Based on double occupancy, nightly rates at Casa Palopó start at $197 for a guestroom and $738 for La Casita, plus taxes and fees. For bookings and inquiries email [email protected] or visit casapalopo.com.