During our first hours in Panajachel, we had almost run over Santa Claus and had been served a terrible lunch, and I had fallen and scraped up my nose and knees. We needed a room to clean up in and relax. We couldn’t find the guesthouse that had been recommended to us, so we followed signs to the Hotel Monterrey. It had a large parking area, which was not gated but seemed secure. This was a good start.
Libby checked us in while I sat in the car licking my wounds. She came out with a big grin on her face. We had a room, and at about US$40 a night, we weren’t going over budget. A kid came out to help us with our luggage, which, after our shopping stop in Chichi, had become an unmanageable mass of chaos. As soon as I got through the lobby, I knew what Libby had been grinning about. The view was spectacular. Past the hotel’s flowering gardens was Lake Atitlàn with cloud-topped volcanoes towering over it. It was getting on to be late afternoon, the flowers were glowing, and the lake was shimmering. It was beautiful.
The hotel is set up basically motel style with a two-story strip of rooms facing the lake. The building is blue and white, with a blue and white awning and blue chairs outside the rooms from which to take in the view. There is a very comforting, old-fashioned feel to the place.
The kid finally managed to drag the last of our stuff into the room. We kicked back in our small space and relaxed on our twin beds. The mattresses were sort of overstuffed and wobbly. I relaxed myself right off the bed and onto the floor, landing on my wounded knees but managing to keep my nose out of danger.
The furnishing was basic, with a closet, nightstand, and desk/dresser. The bathroom was also small, functional, and clean. The water pressure was decent. To get hot water, we had to go to the front desk and have someone turn on the water heater. There were few people staying in the hotel. When the place is busy, the water heater is always on. The room was clean, quiet, and comfortable once we learned how to balance on the beds.
The grounds, covered in grass and flowering shrubs, go all the way to the lake. There are little palapa umbrellas for shade and a rickety dock on the water. The hotel also has a restaurant open about 2 hours per meal. We never timed it right to eat there.
We loved this hotel for the view and the old-fashioned charm. The rooms were okay and the staff was friendly but sometimes difficult to find. We understand this hotel might not be around for long. It has been sold or is for sale, so changes might soon be coming. What a shame.