Casa Santo Domingo

Casa Santo Domingo is a luxurious hotel and cultural complex located in the heart of Antigua, Guatemala. The complex is built around the ruins of a 16th-century Dominican monastery, which was destroyed in a series of earthquakes in the 18th century.

Guest Reviews:

Our local guide took us to Casa Santo Domingo on our tour and it was a true highlight. The hotel is a spectacular location, wonderfully restored, and super clean. On every wall, at every turn, there is art to checkout. The food at the hotel is great, and the staff was friendly when we interacted with them. Do go to the back to check out the old cemetery and the chapel (and checkout the Last Supper painting where Jesus and disciples ate tortillas!). They also had parrots for you to take pictures with.” -Mina Rag

Casa Santo Domingo Hotel Antigua Guatemala
Entrance Fee:
Q40.00(about $5 USD) per person for adults, and Q20.00 (about $2.50 USD) for children under 12
Opening Hours:
Daily 9 am to 6 pm
Days Closed:
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Iglesia y Convento Santo Domingo, as the name suggests, was founded by evangelists from the Dominican Order. In 1929, led by Friar Domingo de Betanzos, the Dominicans were invited to Guatemala, accompanied by Conquistador Pedro De Alvarado, four years after he had conquered the country.  As a result, they were given large swaths of land, including the land in Santiago, now Antigua, where the new monastery would be erected.

The large monastery, adorned with beautiful colonial art, gardens, fountains, as well as an ample water supply, housed more than 80 friars. The church, which was completed in 1666, held ten bells in its towers. It was a magnificent complex, one whose occupants were focused on both religious practices as well as academics, teaching at El Colegio de Santo Tomas de Aquino, later known as the University of San Carlos.

As with most stories of the historic buildings here in Antigua, earthquakes and neglect would both play a significant role in Santo Domingo’s decline. It’s presumed that the earthquake of 1773 destroyed much of the monastery and church, leaving it uninhabitable and abandoned. And over time, residents of the city would pick over its remains, using it for building materials for other projects.

In 1970, American Archaeologist and Mayanist scholar, Dr. Edwin M. Shook, and his wife Virginia, acquired the property. Shook is best known for his archeological work and research related to Tikal, and many other significant Mayan sites throughout Mesoamerica. Over the course of 19 years, the Shooks carefully cleared the rubble and debri, and turned the property into an impressive private residence, before selling it in 1989 to the company that manages it today.

The sprawling complex now comprises a hotel, restaurant, spa, art galleries, a cultural center, chocolate shop, and museums. The hotel offers opulent accommodations adorned with Guatemalan textiles and art, often retaining original monastery features. The cultural hub hosts art exhibitions, private events, and is used as a center for performances. The museum delves into Antigua and Guatemala’s history, colonial era, Mayan civilization, and natural history. Casa Santo Domingo, established by forward-thinking entrepreneurs, transformed a ruined monastery, then a private residence, into a cultural attraction and tourist mecca, for all to enjoy.

Please note that many of the entrance fees for landmarks, parks, and museums are subsidized by the government for Guatemalan citizens. You may notice a price difference for foreigners.