I recently attended our Latin America Meeting & Incentive Travel Exchange in Antigua, Guatemala. With my busy travel schedule, I didn’t get the chance to research or do any investigating on what I should expect from the colonial UNESCO World Heritage site, as I usually do. Sometimes those experiences can be the most fun, however, as you often have no expectations.
To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. I was blown away from the moment my driver picked me up at the airport in Guatemala City until the moment I was dropped off again.
My journey started with a pleasant conversation with my driver, during our hour-long drive to Antigua, about the history and vibe of his country. We pulled up to a town at the base of an active volcano with buildings no more than two stories tall — and all hundreds of years old. There are no chain hotels in town: they’re all boutique, candle-lit with fresh flowers everywhere you turn ... you get the idea. This destination has romance.
Our base was Pensativo House Hotel. The owner Andreas Kuestermann was available from dawn to dusk, serving our every need with the passion of a world-class hotelier. I can simply say: Not just at the hotel but also at each function and activity, the food and service throughout the city was exquisite. I would match it up against any ultra-luxury experience I’ve enjoyed. The people we worked with are more than ready to enter the elite status of hospitality.
In addition to romantic travel, both girls’ and guys’ getaways are an option here. There are world-class jade factories, plenty of shopping, challenging golf courses, rum tastings, and zip lining and hiking on the volcanoes (and, yes, the ground does shake).
Although price shouldn’t matter for this type of experience, you will find tremendous value on all fronts. It is not a top-of-the-mind destination when thinking about Spanish colonial experiences, but I can tell you that your clients will come back with the bragging rights of discovering the next hot destination for world jetsetters.