CASA PALOPÓ – Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Guatemala’s only Relais & Chateaux hotel, this 15-bedroom hideaway overlooks Lake Atitlan, 3 hours drive from Antigua. Formerly a family home, there are 6 original suites in the main building, and entering these is like stepping into a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel – think brightly painted walls adorned with artwork that was curated especially for the hotel, and lots of local flavour. In September 2018, 6 new suites were added to the main building, and these are more contemporary in style whilst still employing the warmth and texture so typical of Guatemalan interiors. Located in the upper part of the property, 150 steps from the main building is Villa Palopó. This consists of 3 spacious suites which are furnished with modern paintings and textiles. Perfect for a group of friends or family, guests taking all of the rooms at the villa have the exclusive use of its superb infinity pool. Casa Palopó’s tranquil setting is the perfect choice for those looking to relax and unwind with the option of exploring this beautiful highland region of Guatemala.

Quick Facts & Info

Number of Rooms: 15 in total: 12 suites in the Main Hotel and 3 suites in the Villa

Room Categories: Main Hotel: 1 Master Suite, 2 Suites, 3 Junior Suites, 5 Deluxe, & 1 Superior. Villa Palopó: 1 Grand Master Suite, 1 Master Suite & 1 Suite.

Room Descriptions: Click here

Booking Options: All activities and meals are additional

Rates: From $188 + 32% taxes in Low Season / $315 +32% taxes in Normal Season

Minimum Stay: 3-night minimum stay during high season (Easter & New Year) April 13 – April 21 / Dec. 2019 – January 1 2020

Dates of Operation: Year round

Membership: Relais & Châteaux

Amenities: Spa consists of a massage room, small gym with a cycle machine, 2 swimming pools (one in the villa), yoga classes (upon request), Dyson hairdryers and L’Occitane products in rooms. Complimentary welcome drink and 10 minute foot massage on arrival. Complimentary wifi throughout property.

Gastronomy: 6.8 Palopó Restaurant has cosily lit interiors with intimate clusters of tables and a fantastic open terrace boasting spectacular lake views. Its menu features Guatemalan-inspired dishes with an international twist using ingredients sourced from local farms around the lake.

Opening Times:

Breakfast: 7:00 am – 12:00 pm
Lunch: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Dinner: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Sample Menus:





(click on each of the below for more information)

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“Just saying the mellifluous name of Palopó will start to put you in a good mood. When you look out from your room at the rustic seven-room house, or from one of two suites in the owner’s house, and watch how the cloud cover hangs over the lake’s trio of brooding shoreline volcanoes, your mood goes through the roof.”

John Oseid for Forbes


Lake Atitlan: Ringed by three imposing volcanoes, Toliman, Atitlan and San Pedro, and surrounded by cool pine forests, Lake Atitlan is considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. A huge crater lake which sits at 5,125 ft above sea level, Atitlan’s ever changing appearance shifts between vibrant hues of azure, aqua marine and emerald, and is also recognised as the deepest lake in Central America.

Home to hundreds of species of plants and birds, Lake Atitlan is a source of livelihood for hundreds of thousands of descendants of the ancient Mayan people. A dozen Mayan towns line its shores and each one boasts a rich indigenous heritage which can be identified through the traditional dress worn by its inhabitants. The highlands of Guatemala are famous for being one of the most colourful regions of the country. This is in part thanks to the bright and intricately woven textiles that are used to make the traditional blouses or “huipiles” worn by the women.

Casa Palopó’s privileged position perched above the lake just outside the town of Santa Catarina Palopó, allows guests to enjoy spectacular vistas right from the comfort of their own terrace.  One could easily spend a few days simply relaxing and soaking up the rays by one of the two pools yet there is also an array of adventurous and cultural activities on offer.


There are no direct flights from the UK to Guatemala, but it is possible to reach Guatemala City (GUA) in one day from the UK. The most popular connections are via Madrid or the USA and the total journey duration is approximately 15.5 – 17 hours long.

Flights tend to arrive late in the evening, and most travellers decide to transfer straight to the colonial town of Antigua, 1 hour’s drive away from GUA depending on traffic, to overnight or spend a couple of days exploring. From Antigua it is 3 hours drive to Casa Palopó. There is also the option to go by helicopter which takes less than 30 minutes from GUA (prices here).


Couples and Honeymooners: Casa Palopó has been described by Forbes’ Magazine as an “off the beaten path gem” and one of the “World’s most secluded Honeymoon destinations”. It boasts a wonderfully intimate atmosphere; its sumptuous rooms have private terraces, and even in the hotel’s common areas there are cosy nooks to snuggle up in. Our favourite room is Santa Catarina (Master Suite) but for more privacy the Villa would be perfect also.

Families: Casa Palopó welcomes children over 10 years old. The best room combinations for families would be San Antonio (Master Suite) and San Pablo (Junior Suite) which are both located on the first level of the main building. Or, San Lucas (Deluxe) and San Juan (Deluxe) which are located on the first and lower level of the main building. For families looking for more privacy and space the villa would be ideal as you also have use of the large sitting room when taking it exclusively.

It’s important to note that there are lots of steps at Casa Palopó, so it is not suitable for anyone with serious mobility issues.


Adventure seekers will enjoy hiking up San Pedro Volcano, as well as mountain biking around the lake shore, kayaking on the lake and boat trips to local villages. Culture vultures can get involved with local projects as well as visit a number of artisan markets and textile workshops.

For those interested in getting involved with local community projects, “Pintado Santa Catarina” is a fantastic initiative, where visitors can spend a day, week or month painting the facades of the town’s buildings with typical Mayan colours and designs.


Guatemala is a year round destination; it has a wet season (May to October) and a dry season (November to December) but do remember that even in the so called wet season, it does not rain all day, every day – the summer in the UK is a popular time for weddings and Guatemala and its Central American neighbours are popular honeymoon destinations as a result.


You can “adopt a house”  in the nearby village, Santa Catarina Palopó, which involves painting a local house in designs chosen by the family that lives there and inspired by Guatemalan textile designs. See full details about the different ways to get involved (from visiting to picking up a paintbrush) at the Pintando el Cambio website. You can also see updates on their instagram feed – the aim is to paint all 800 houses in the village, so far they have done 300.


The owner of Casa Palopó, Claudia Bosch, is opening a new hotel in 2020. The 17-room villa located on the edge of Antigua has front-row views of the volcano and an on-site helipad. More details coming soon.

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