At a Glance
Once a private home, Casa Palopó is a vibrantly-colored boutique hotel overlooking the clear blue waters of Lake Atitlán. Guests at this Relais & Chateaux property enjoy delicious meals amidst breathtaking natural scenery.
The homey effect at Casa Palopó is immediate and remarkable: It’s rare to feel so relaxed and comfortable so soon after arriving in a new place. But here, warm hospitality and bright interiors make it feel as if you are staying at your cool distant relatives’ private sanctuary. It makes sense then, that the intimate boutique hotel in the mountains above Lake Atitlán was originally a private home.
Owner (and Guatemala native) Claudia Bosch is passionate about preserving Guatemalan culture and craftsmanship. She fell in love with the property when she first stayed here as a guest back in 2010, purchasing it soon after, and imbuing the space with local flavor. Expect hand-woven textiles, local artisan paintings and ceramic pieces and glassware decorating the entire property.
Casa Palopó comprises 9 suites and 6 rooms (which do not shy away from bold colors), each with its own terrace overlooking either lush gardens or the lake. A three-suite villa tucked a little further uphill from the main house can also be rented by the room or as a buy-out, offering 180-degree views of Atitlán and your own private pool. All guests have access to an Instagram-worthy infinity pool, its blue tiles matching the lake below.
Guests take their meals at the hotel’s restaurant, which has indoor seating as well as terrace dining. As is typical of Relais & Chateaux properties, the food is mouthwateringly delicious, with a varied menu that allows guests to dine at the same place for multiple days without the meals getting boring. Locals from Guatemala City often fly in via helicopter just to enjoy a meal here.
Top experiences include kayaking, boating to the traditional village of San Juan La Laguna across the lake, and undergoing a Shaman blessing. But guests should also save time for lounging poolside and enjoying an afternoon with a book on the terrace (which looks out to four different volcanoes). Come nightfall, hanging tea candles provide a warm glow under the canopy of stars.
Who Should Stay
Couples, friends and families with older children who enjoy natural beauty and are looking for relaxation would find it hard to leave Casa Palopó. The main draws are the scenic views and access to Guatemalan culture, but you’ll want to stay for the dining and friendly hospitality.
It is a three-hour car ride on the highway through the mountains to get to Casa Palopó from Guatemala City. Note that this journey, while scenic, is not for the easily car sick. For those hoping to bypass the car ride, a helipad on property means Guatemala City is only a half-hour flight away (with views of the region and volcanoes that are seldom seen).
Written by Jenna Levandowski