In Anza Atitlán, a new oasis on the famous Lake Atitlán in Guatemala
IImagine wandering through a lush, green landscape in search of the perfect oasis to reconnect with nature and feel like you’ve stumbled upon something straight out of a postcard. That’s exactly how it is to arrive in Anzan Atitlán, one of the most enchanting places on the shores of Lake Atitlán, the deepest lake in Central America, in southwestern Guatemala.
Arriving in Panajachel, one of the largest and busiest cities three hours by bus from Guatemala City that surrounds the lake, I took a public boat for about 30 minutes towards San Marcos la Laguna, another nearby village . I was dropped off at Anzan boutique hotel and greeted by the most breathtaking view of the lake. The colors of the sunrise danced across the crystal clear water creating a spectacular and tranquil sight that enchanted me. The sounds of the birds and the stillness of the moment were unforgettable.
This hidden gem is also known locally as Casa Rosada, which means pink house in Spanish, thanks to its rosy facade. Originally built as a family home in 2006, it is a stunning juxtaposition of contemporary design and surrounded by natural beauty. Its name, Anzan, refers to peaceful mountains in Buddhism, and that is exactly what this serene place embodies. Ringed by majestic volcanoes, Anzan offers a tranquil and soothing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Fast forward to 2023, the year Anzan evolved into a resort for exceptional experiences, offering a blend of relaxation, gourmet cuisine, contemporary art and cultural immersion. Now it’s the latest pick for Room Key, The Daily Beast’s column on exciting new hotels. The hotel’s designs were inspired by Mexican architects Luis Barragán and Ricardo Legorreta, two of the most prominent artists of modern Latin American architecture. Elements that stand out throughout the build include the simple designs and open spaces that allow natural light to flood the area. And we can’t overlook the shade of pink that was one of Barragán’s favorite colors.
The hotel has only four bedrooms and a full loft; Each night costs between 250 and 350 dollars. I stayed in one of the spectacular lake view bedrooms, subtly decorated with minimalist furniture. My favorite spot was hands down the bathroom as it was a huge room very simply furnished with a bathtub in front of a window overlooking the volcanoes and lake. I enjoyed drinking a glass of wine there, listening to relaxing music and reading a book.
At Anzan, guests are encouraged to ditch their electronic devices and be mesmerized by the beauty of the place. Offering a variety of activities, including yoga, meditation, paddle boarding, kayaking, and hiking, the hotel offers vacationers the opportunity to explore within and reconnect with the environment.
The hotel does not have a swimming pool, jacuzzi or even a reception. Unlike other hotels in the San Marcos la Laguna area, which often focus on organizing parties and other lively celebrations, the Anzan strives to help its guests connect with nature and the stunning scenery and appreciate the rich cultural heritage of the lake.
One of the hotel’s most notable offerings is The Anzan Table menu, which offers a culinary journey through Guatemala’s cultural heritage, with dishes made from locally grown, sustainable ingredients such as vegetables like tomatoes, corn, beans and cheeses made by people Guatemala prepared to be the commune. From contemporary culinary techniques to traditional Guatemalan cooking methods, dining at Anzan celebrates local culture.
I had the opportunity to enjoy a delicious gourmet multi-course dinner; three starters, a main course and a delicious dessert. Even though it sounds like a lot of food, I was more satisfied than full because it was made from natural ingredients.
But Anzan isn’t just about relaxation and indulgence – it’s also a place where you can make a difference. In 2004, Anzan founded and supports the non-profit organization Ecolibri. This organization empowers communities around Lake Atitlán, allowing guests to learn more about how people from vulnerable backgrounds live and have the opportunity to collaborate and volunteer to make an impact on the environment and local society. Anzan offers tours for visitors to discover the communities and learn more about how the organization promotes sustainable agriculture, alleviating malnutrition and food insecurity in the region.
For those with an open mind, Anzan on Lake Atitlán is not just a pink house, it can be a transformative experience in a serene setting.
You can stay for one night, a few days or a month-long retreat. It’s the kind of place that sticks with you long after you’ve left, always calling you back into its peaceful embrace.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-anza-atitlan-a-new-oasis-on-guatemalas-famous-lake-atitlan In Anza Atitlán, a new oasis on the famous Lake Atitlán in Guatemala