The week before last, I made a quick trip to Antigua, Guatemala and Suchitoto, El Salvador with Stephen Greenwood for Gadling. Once I made it out of the snowed-in East Coast, it was a lovely trip. You'll be able to check out the fruits of our labor on the ground over at Gadling in early spring.
One afternoon in Suchitoto, we followed the advice of Robert Broz, our gregarious host at the dirt-cheap and wonderfully homey El Gringo Hostel, to stop by Los Almendros, the town's top hotel, for a coffee. The courtyard at Los Almendros is really something, he told us, and the proprietor, a French man named Pascal Lebailly, is very friendly. The courtyard is indeed quite enchanting, an ideal place to drop by for an espresso or a richly flavorful fresh fruit juice.
Los Almendros is an hacienda, meticulously renovated by a local Salvadorean architect. The patio is leafy and welcoming, surrounded on four sides by an open hallway. There are just eight rooms and two apartment suites on hand. The décor is colonial with inventive modern pieces—an old door used as a table top here; contemporary paintings there. Rooms are tasteful and understated. They've got flat-panel televisions and air conditioning, though it is their low-tech simplicity that stands out.
The best part is the nightly rates, which are a steal. Doubles begin at $85 per night, while suites start at $110 and top out at $135. Rates for these beautiful rooms are among the most affordable I've come across anywhere for a boutique hotel at this aesthetic level. I told the proprietor, the delightful Pascal, that his hotel's room would go for $500 in many other destinations. His simple answer: "I know."
Also of note is the hotel's salon, a beautiful high-ceilinged room filled with photographs of various European royals and coffee table books. I fantasized about reading a book here late at night, or possibly playing a few card games over a grappa nightcap.
Though the hotel is cozily nestled among residential properties, the apartment suites at the back of the property feature nice views of Lake Suchitlan below.
All photographs by Stephen Greenwood.