The Filadelfia (with an F) Resort & Spa
The Filadelfia Coffee Resort and Spa http://www.rdaltoncoffee.com/5_1_hotel.htmlwas the best choice we could have made for our recent brief stops in Antigua, Guatemala.
We wanted some flexibility as we intended spending most of our holiday out at Lake Atitlan at Casa Palopo. Thanks to Jim Sanchez at LL, we were able to split the three night package, thereby allowing us a respite of one night in and two nights out on the drive to and from Santa Catarina Palopo.
Filadelfia gives feeling of a small hotel; even though it has twenty rooms/suites (many of the older B&Bs and small inns in Antigua only have three or four rooms). It is constructed adjacent to the functioning coffee processing plant of R. Dalton and Company and is situated at the foot of one of the mountain sides used for coffee cultivation.
Although Filadelfia is touted as a Five Star hotel (and very well may be by Guatemalan standards), it is more comparable to a Four Star hotel by North American & European standards. Also, the use of the term SPA, might be a slight stretch (which apparently refers to the detached fitness building with modest equipment and two small rooms with massage tables).
The hotel is a short distance outside of Antigua. We considered this a PLUS, since it is only about a 10 - 15 minute tuk-tuk ride into the center of town, which tends to get a little crowded at times. It is also situated on a spacious tract of well groomed privately owned and securely walled property (requiring the passage of two guarded and gates).
What nice little luxuries are offered by the hotel.like 1,200 sq ft of space in the suite and the indulgence of relaxing and sleeping each evening atop Pratesi Rivolta Carmignani Egyptian Cotton sheets (if only we could afford these wonderful Italian made sheets for our bedroom back home). How nice to have a working fireplace and someone to come and build a fire, simply by calling the front desk. How nice to have motorized privacy shutters covering the entrance/exit to you private terrace or patio (when the shutter are closed it is totally dark in your space, regarding of exterior light conditions).
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel (it is included with your room), but save your evening dining experiences for several of the interesting restaurants in the center of Antigua such as Nicolas http://www.nicolas.com.gt/ and La Fonda de la Calle Real (very vegetarian friendly and there are three locations in Antigua and we liked the one at (5a Avenida Norte N.5)......heck, you might even want a few hits on a HOOKAH at Gaia to wrap your evening..we stuck with Turkish Coffee, but the sweet aromas wafting from the hookahs could have been substances other than blended tobacco!
Consider The Mezcal Bar or Bo's Tequila Bar, it goes by both names and is located in the back of Caf No S. Almost anyone in Antigua can tell you how to find this place, just by asking for No S. Its fun for an hour or two sipping some tequila or mezcal and watching and listening to the Spanish school students making less and less sense in either language after indulging in a few rounds of drinks with new friends.
We had originally considered staying at the Casa Santo Domingo..a beautifully restored and historic propertybut, for us, it proved to be too big, too crowded, too commercial, and crawling with too many groups and outside tourist wandering about the common areas!
Yet, a visit to the hotel is a must. see the exhibition at the Art Museum (which occupies the same grounds), entitled Pre-Columbian Art and Modern Glass Art and Beauty in Earthenware, Stone and Glass. The exhibition is thoughtfully curated, and is a comparative relationship between an archaeological collection and one of modern glass..intriguing!
We are also appreciative recommendation from bonniejoy03, another VIP Community member, who suggested we use the services of Elizabeth Bell for a walking tour of Antigua. Elizabeth proved to be a true gem in every sense and added so much to the understanding of the good and bad times in the history of the city. She has waged a 40+ year campaign to keep as much of Antiguas history in tact as possible, without monetary support from the government.
Unlike some observations we have noticed at other Internet travel site postings, we found the Filadelfia staff extremely friendly (especially Gabby and Sofia at the front desk), quiet efficient and most willing to assist in making any arrangements. Our massages were scheduled and given at the times and in the manners we requested. Our tours and transportation were always on time.usually several minutes early to the appointed time, in fact.
While staying at or visiting the Filadelfia, consider signing up for the coffee tour.interesting and educational as well. Challenge yourself to the zip lines on the Canyon Express.especially the last two adrenalin pumping cables across the deepest part of the canyon.
Hop on one of the imported Texas mules at the Filadelfia stables and wander up the paths for some impressive views of downtown Antigua and the surrounding volcanoes.
How much did we really like the Filadelfia....enough to bid on and win another Mystery Auction on LuxuryLink.com (containing clues about the Filadelfia). Wehavealready booked another five day visit before the end of this Summer!