With the exception of a few large business-class hotels clustered in Guatemala City's Zona Viva, Guatemala has no truly large-scale resorts or hotels. What the country does have is a wealth of intimate and interesting small-to-midsize hotels and resorts. Most of these are quite comfortable and very reasonably priced by most international standards. A few very classy luxury boutique hotels are scattered around the country, and are found with relative abundance in Antigua and around Lake Atitlán. Real budget travelers will find a glut of very acceptable and very inexpensive options all across the country. Warning: Budget-oriented lodgings often feature shared bathrooms and either cold-water showers or showers heated by electrical heat-coil units mounted at the shower head. These are affectionately known as "suicide showers." If your hotel has one, do not try to adjust it while the water is running. Unless specifically noted, all the rooms I've listed in this guide have private bathrooms.
A hotel is sometimes called a posada in Guatemala. As a general rule, a posada is a smaller, more humble, and less luxurious option than a hotel. However, there are some very serious exceptions to this rule, particularly in Antigua, where some of the finest accommodations are called posadas.
In general, prices drop dramatically outside of Guatemala City and the more popular destinations like Antigua, Lake Atitlán, and Tikal. In fact, outside of these destinations, you'll find very few hotel options charging more than Q600 ($80/£40) per night for a double, even for the swankiest room in town.
If you're traveling on a budget and staying in some of the less expensive hotels, one item you're likely to want to bring with you is a towel. Your hotel might not provide one at all, and even if it does, it might be awfully thin.
Note: Air-conditioning is not necessarily a given in many midscale hotels and even some upscale joints. In general, this is not a problem. Cooler nights and a well-placed ceiling fan are often more than enough to keep things pleasant, unless I mention otherwise in the hotel reviews.
Throughout this guide, I've separated hotel listings into several broad categories: Very Expensive, $120 (£60) and up; Expensive, $80 to $120 (£40-£60); Moderate, $45 to $80 (£23-£40); and Inexpensive, under $45 (£23) double. Unless otherwise noted, rates given in this book do not include the 12% IVA and 10% hotel tax. These taxes will add considerably to the cost of your room, so do factor them in.
Frommer's uses a zero- to three-star rating system. This star system is a relative system, and not necessarily on a par with standard industry star-rating systems. A truly special bed-and-breakfast, run with style and aplomb, may get two or three stars, even though the rooms do not have televisions or air-conditioning. Meanwhile, a large resort with a host of modern amenities may receive one or no stars. Every hotel listed is in some way recommended. This guide is selective, and I've done my best to list the best options in each price range and each region, while weeding out the hotels you should not even bother with.
Autohotels -- One type of hotel you may run across, especially in Guatemala City, is an autohotel. Autohotels are not self-service affairs -- except for the most desperate. They are, however, semi-discreet operations used mainly for romantic liaisons. Most autohotels feature rooms with two-car garages with doors or curtains so that nosy spouses or private eyes cannot see the license plates. Autohotels rent out by the hour, and are usually not of very much interest to the average tourist.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.