In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
Walking through the city of
Guatemala, is like taking a trip back through history. Ancient
churches, old convents, the ruins of government buildings destroyed by
earthquakes, cobblestone streets, and gardens all give you the sense of the
beauty that was here centuries ago.
Today, these historical
buildings have been modernized into restaurants, hotels and shops.
One of the most beautiful
of these is Casa Santo Domingo
5 Star Hotel Casa Santo
In its earliest days, Casa Santo Domingo was one of the grandest convents of
then-known America. Those who lived in this sanctuary were the
followers of the order of Santo Domingo de Guzmán.
Today, the hotel is an
important monument, preserving the treasures from the baroque era of
The walkway up from the entrance
The manicured gardens showcase the renovated
convent, which now provides hotel rooms for tourists.
This building was partially destroyed in the
1773 Santa Marta earthquake.
The building opened up as a hotel in 1989,
and this hotel/museum has 128 rooms.
Another walkway around
The ancient walls, brick
archways and tile corridors display the beauty of this place.
Santo Domingo is a 10
minute walk to the central Cathedral in town, and another minute or two to the
famous Santa Catalina Arch.
Menu at El Refectorio Restaurant
There are a couple of full restaurants and a
bar in Santo Domingo, serving up creative food offerings. This restaurant is El
The menu lists a watermelon salad with
shrimp, cherries, avocado, and green apple along with pineapple vinaigrette and
smoked pineapple foam. This dish goes for 120Quetzales, or about $16USD.
Another unusual dish is lightly seared tuna
with a bit of jalapeno chili, leeks, parsley oil, and an avocado/arugula foam
and mole sauce. All of this food artistry is priced at 90Quetzales or about
One section of the
Here you can see the very
thick walls of the monastery archways. This is only one section of the dining
area and as you can see further into the photo, there is outdoor seating
We visited Santo Domingo
during the Catholic Church's Lenten season and as you can see, the table runners
are purple, the traditional color of Lent.
The bar and lounge
In the bar and lounge one
can sip on a cocktail or soda and enjoy the stonework of the ancient walls. No
matter where one goes in this Casa, history is artfully displayed.
Outside sitting areas
The grounds of this old
convent are sprawling and there are many places to sit and enjoy the view. One
might want to read a book or have a conversation with a companion or new friend.
Everywhere is manicured by maintenance crews.
Rooms inside the hotel are
rustic or one could choose a suite with Guatemalan art on the walls. Modern
conveniences such as flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and mini-fridges are provided.
Most rooms have fireplaces and some have hot tubs and living rooms.
Expansive swimming pool
Sight seeing through the
town of Antigua is rewarding, with all the photo opportunities available, the
cafes serving splendid coffees,
a diversity of cuisines like Italian, Mexican, Guatemalan, and
But then one can return to
Casa Santo Domingo and float or swim in their large pool in splendid
A tropical parrot
Walking around the hotel and the surrounding
ruins can take you some time because it is so large and captivating. While
wandering, you'll see a dozen parrots kept here on perches amid the lush
The main fountain of the
Can you imagine living in
such luxury as a spiritual disciple of Santo Domingo de Guzmán?
I don't know if there are
plans to reconstruct this fountain and make it functioning again, but this must
have been tranquil and mesmerizing in the days when it was flowing.
Ancient fountain inside
Speaking of fountains...
These remind me of the Holy
Water fountains found in churches, where one can take the water on your
fingertips and bless yourself as you pass by.
Notice the beautiful stone
and brickwork of the walls, and how thick these walls are.
This fountain is at the end
of a hallway of hotel rooms.
A mix of Maya and
These stone animals and
heads that you will find along this pathway must be from the Mayan times and
were probably dug up during the excavation of the ruins of the monastery.
A museum is to the right of
A local Maya worker
A young woman sells tickets to the museums on
the grounds of the convent. Many of the ruins are available to see by just
walking around, but if you would like more information and to see different
artifacts, you can purchase a ticket to enter the museum.
Graveyard for members of
There were a couple of
places for graveyards and crypts, displaying the bones of those who lived in
Perhaps one would find more
information about these burial places when visiting the museum... for instance,
were they sealed up? These are constructed as if to give members of the convent
a way to view the bones of the deceased. Did they have glass fronts? Who,
exactly, were chosen to be buried here?
A better view
A humble reminder to the members of the
convent that "Dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return" lest someone get
themselves worked up to be high and mighty.
A large gathering place
We weren't clear as to what
this space was used for in the olden days, but we thought it would be perfect
for a small acoustic band, a violinist or pianist.
What a venue!
weaving and selling their wares
Continuing around the
walkways you will find an area where several local Mayans are weaving and have
set up some of their wares to sell to the tourists who visit the hotel and
Notice the old stonework on
This place is a mixture of
history, dreams, visions, and dedication to a spiritual life all being thrust
into the present day. If you come to Antigua, Guatemala, you must make a visit
to Casa Santo Domingo.
Hotel Casa Santo Domingo
3a Calle Oriente 28 A, Antigua Guatemala Phone:
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and information about Antigua,
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About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.