Just a few weeks removed from perhaps the most traveled summer of my life, I've had some time to reflect on all of the destinations I've graced since June from Guatemala to Colombia to Cancun to Ecuador.
And I decided the best resort I stayed at during that glorious four-month stretch was by far Casa Palopo, Lake Atitlan.
I thought I visited Guatemala once before, but after my second and most recent visit to this growingly popular Central American destination, I realized that I had seen nothing during my first trip.
Of course I saw the streets of Antigua and the hustle and bustle of Guatemala City when I first visited the country three years ago. But my first trip didn’t include a resort that had its own helipad on property nor did I sip on fine wine from a Jacuzzi overlooking a gorgeous lake and three volcanoes -- until my second trip when I met Casa Palopo, Lake Atitlan.
Located 90 miles from Guatemala City, Casa Palopo is a gorgeous, modern chic villa resort on the hills surrounding Santa Catarina Palopó village, on the shores of Lake Atitlan.
There are only nine rooms here. Seven of the rooms are located in one building while a two-bedroom villa is located in the hills. The rooms all come with either a patio or a balcony, depending on whether the room is located on the first floor or not. The sliding doors to the terrace or balcony actually lock from the outside, so be sure to tell VIPs not to completely shut the doors or they could be locked in. Having said that, this happened to me and all it took was a simple call for help before someone came quickly.
I stayed in room no. 3. Every one of the seven first-floor rooms are excellent and separate themselves with subtle differences. For example, room no. 2 had polished hard wood floors while my room was tile. Perhaps our favroite feature of room no. 3 was a beautiful painting above the king-sized bed. At first glance, it’s a simple, modest painting of a woman holding flowers. But after I asked around, I learned it was the original "Sueños de Izote," the first ever painting by renowned Guatemalan artist, Maria Dolores Castellanos, and is probably worth a pretty penny.
Every room is given a hot water pillow during turndown service. It’s resembled and feels somewhat like a whoopee cushion, but its basically a rubber bag that holds scalding hot water to warm your mattress in the event that it gets really cool at night, something quite common in the lake area of Guatemala.
The remaining two rooms are located in Villa Palopo, which is located high above the first floor of the hotel and deep into the hills. Villa Palopo is a villa in every sense of the word. It is very tastefully designed with a very chic overtone. There’s marble everywhere, lots of blacks and whites and very simple, yet effective decoration. The highlight of the villa however is the full length, lap pool that offers full 180-degree views of Lake Atitlan as well as three dormant volcanoes. Note: The weather is very difficult to predict here. If it is hazy, you will not be able to see any of the mountains or volcanoes. There is also a Jacuzzi located just next to the pool and a covered up sitting area where VIPs can enjoy some cocktails, rain or shine.
There’s a helipad on property. I rarely see this at any luxury resort throughout the world. The helipad is literally a few shorts stairs bellow Villa Palopo. Note: Booking a helicopter ride one week in advance will ensure your VIPs' transfer, but rides can be booked 24 hours in advance, depending on availability.