ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA - A once sleepy, seven-room hacienda sits in the heart of a six-acre garden, overlooking the lush, volcano-laden landscape that surrounds the historic, colorful town of Antigua, Guatemala. On June 10th, the estate will open its doors to inspirited travelers when it makes its debuts as Villa Bokéh -- the little sister to a small hotel with a mighty footprint, Lake Atitlan’s legendary Casa Palopó.
Operated by local hospitality pioneers, Grupo Alta, and designed by Paliare Studio, visitors will experience an alluring blend of sophisticated, storied architecture, Guatemalan colonial design, and modern details. Common areas and guest rooms will entrance visitors with Guatemala’s irresistible textile culture, from the tapestries to the linens to accent wallpapers that harmoniously coexist in celebration of this ancient national tradition. All textile related decor is curated by textile expert, collector, and independent retailer, Violeta Gutierrez Caxaj.
With room to accommodate just seven reservations per night, guests of the intimate and exclusive Villa Bokéh will choose from rooms and suites boasting private balconies, enclosed gardens with fire pits, and volcano vistas, all spaciously distributed throughout the first and second stories of the estate. A private art collection provides the finishing touch to each room with exquisite, oversized black and white portrait photography, remarkable sculptures, and elegant paintings -- all sourced locally to support and shine a light on the country’s artisans who are the heart and foundation of Guatemala’s beautifully bewitching Mayan culture.
An onsite restaurant will offer upscale cuisine with a feels-like-home twist. The kitchen will be open to guests throughout the day with snacks and fresh juices available for grazing in between the creative lunch and dinner menus of Grupo Alta executive chef, Alvaro Perera. A stroll through the grounds puts every element of nature at the guests’ disposition with a serene lagoon, hidden gardens, and charming plazas that serve as picture perfect spots to enjoy coffee brewed fresh from the Guatemalan highlands - or a craft cocktail - and a good book. Dramatic views of the majestic Volcán de Agua complement each experience.
A quaint city surrounded by volcanoes in southern Guatemala. Antigua is renowned for its Spanish colonial buildings, many of them restored following a 1773 earthquake that ended the city’s 200-year reign as Guatemala’s colonial capital. Notable architectural examples include the baroque La Merced church, an integral part of the city’s famous Semana Santa, a holy week with parades and rituals. Its streets are dotted with boutique hotels, including Grupo Alta’s Villa las Pilas, a three-bedroom Spanish-style home available for private bookings.
Villa Bokéh redefines the Antigua experience, inviting guests to bask in the natural beauty of the area in a way that’s never been offered before - with all the sights and sounds and colors of Antigua just minutes away.
“Our vision over the years, with Casa Palopó and now with Villa Bokéh, has been to offer our globe’s most curious travelers a window into the soul of Guatemala - a country brimming with natural wonders, mysticism, and one of the world’s most beautiful, friendly and resilient populations,” said Claudia Bosch, president of Grupo Alta. “As a company, our ethos is to create hospitality concepts that are inspired by and supportive of our local communities. Villa Bokéh adds one more reason for travelers to choose Guatemala as they take to the skies again in pursuit of enriching, purposeful experiences.”
Villa Bokéh is the second hotel for Guatemalan hospitality group, Grupo Alta, and a sister property to Lake Atitlan’s award-winning Casa Palopó, the first and only Relais & Chateaux hotel in Guatemala. Villa Bokeh will join Casa Palopó in that distinction as the country’s second Relais & Chateaux property. The properties are separated by a picturesque, 3.5 hour drive, or a scenic, 20-minute helicopter ride over the lush Guatemalan hills.
Earlier this year, Casa Palopó made headlines when it launched its “Palopó Activo” program, in which 10% of the guests’ nightly rate is given back to them in vouchers to shop from local artisans, ensuring the return of tourism directly benefits the community’s most vulnerable members who were hardest hit by the pandemic. Villa Bokéh will implement a similar program, not only educating its guests about the magic of Guatemalan craftsmanship, but ensuring an avenue that upholds it.
The opening of Villa Bokéh is slated for June 10, 2021.