Otelito Casa Santa Clara (Zona 10, Guatemala City; tel./fax 502/2339-1811; www.otelito.com): With only 12 rooms, this exceedingly hip hotel stands out from all the large, high-rise, business-class monsters that dominate this downtown neighborhood. Each room is slightly different, but a sense of refined, minimalist design is felt in the decor throughout. In addition to the intimate setting and trendy vibe, they also have an excellent in-house fusion restaurant.
Casa Encantada (Antigua; tel. 866/837-8900 in the U.S. and Canada; www.casaencantada-antigua.com): This charming boutique hotel offers compact yet plush and luxurious rooms that rival some of the best in the city. The service is attentive and personable, and the rooftop terrace here is gorgeous.
Hotel Dos Mundos (Panajachel; tel. 502/7762-2078; www.hoteldosmundos.com): The spacious rooms here are one of my top choices in Panajachel. Although the hotel is located right in the center of Calle Santander, the rooms are set back from the street in a quiet garden area, giving you easy access to all the action and peace and quiet at the same time.
Bambú Hotel & Restaurant (Santiago de Atitlán; tel. 502/7721-7332; www.ecobambu.com): The two private lakefront bungalows are the best rooms in the house, and probably the best rooms in all of Santiago de Atitlán, so be sure to try and book one of these. Better still is that they're the same price as those in the larger building, which are set back from the water's edge. Even if you don't get one of the private bungalows, you'll be plenty happy at this excellent hotel.
Villa Sumaya (Santa Cruz La Laguna, Lake Atitlán; tel. 502/5617-1209; www.villasumaya.com): This lakefront boutique hotel is also a yoga and meditation retreat center. The individual cabins are wonderful, and the grounds and gardens are beautiful. If you want an isolated getaway on Lake Atitlán, whether to seek spiritual or physical enlightenment, this is a great choice.
Casa Mañen (Quetzaltenango, Guatemala; tel. 502/7765-0786; www.comeseeit.com): This is my favorite hotel in Quetzaltenango. The rooms are all decorated with a range of local arts and craft works, the service is excellent, and the owners are very knowledgeable about the various local tour options. The large rooftop terrace offers wonderful panoramic views of the city.
Portal de la Fe (Esquipulas; tel. 502/7943-4124): This should be the top choice for anyone coming to Esquipulas to pay their respects to the Black Christ. This newer hotel offers free Wi-Fi throughout, and is a definite step up from the other options around town in the same price range.
Hacienda San Lucas (south of Copán Ruinas, Honduras; tel./fax 504/651-4495; www.haciendasanlucas.com): This converted farm and ranch offers a sense of refinement and creative flare you won't find anywhere else in the Copán area. The hotel is set on a hillside across from and overlooking the Copán archaeological site. In addition, there's a secondary Maya site, Los Sapos, right on the grounds, as well as excellent hiking and horseback-riding trails. As if all this weren't enough, the restaurant is one of the best in Copán.
Catamaran Island Hotel (Fronteras, Río Dulce; tel. 502/5902-0831; www.catamaranisland.com): Whenever I come to the Río Dulce area, I book one of this hotel's private bungalows built out over the water. I love sitting on my private balcony with a book, listening to the river lap against the support posts below me. At night, you'll usually be mingling with hotel guests and some itinerant cruising sailors who tie up at the hotel's dock or anchor just offshore.
Dos Mundos Pacific Resort (Monterrico; tel./fax 502/7848-1407; www.dosmundospacific.com): This new beachfront resort gets my nod as the best and most comfortable of the lot in Guatemala. The individual bungalows are large and plush, the installations top-notch, and the setting lovely.
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.