Welcome to Casa Carmel! At Casa Carmel we pride ourselves on offering a genuine Guatemalan experience. Located in the historic district of GUATEMALA City’s downtown, guests will experience the warmth of a family-run business while enjoying the architecture of a traditional, colonial house. Casa Carmel is perfect for guests who want to relax and enjoy some quiet moments of privacy while staying in downtown GUATEMALA.
Along with the four rooms, which are all located on the second floor, guests can sit by the fireplace in the living room, get some fresh air in the garden patio, or relax by the fountain while reading (or writing) a good book. Breakfast in the dining room looks out into the private garden patio, giving guests a private oasis in the middle of downtown.
With only four rooms, we can afford to give each of our guests our full attention, so please don’t hesitate to ask for help with arranging a reservation, be it to stay with us or to extend your trip to many of the other beautiful sights our country has to offer.
Enjoy the rest of the site and if you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! We hope to see you in Guatemala soon!
Casa Carmel Family
HISTORY (as told by Sophie Portocarrero, who is also the designer)
The house was built in the 1930s by architects Jose Minondo y Cordon, who were famous for their work with floors and for designing furniture to match the houses they built. It was commissioned by Carlos Herrera Dorion, my great grandfather. The original bathroom tiles were brought in from Germany, but Dorion never actually lived in the house, choosing to rent it out instead.
In 1969 it was rented out to a United Fruit Company worker. Once he retired and moved out, my grandfather rents it out to an Austrian couple, who in turn use it as a bed and breakfast of their own.
In 1979 the house is taken back by my parents, Carlos and Melanie Portocarrero (hence the name Casa CarMel), who remodel the house first. For three and a half years, it serves as a library and classroom for ophthalmology students of the San Carlos University.
In 1983, my father opens his Ophthalmology clinic in the house, renting out the second floor to other doctors and the garage to a ceramic artist, Carlos Chaclan.
In 1994, the idea comes about to create a bed and breakfast so the second floor is taken back and the remodeling begins. Each room on the second floor is redone and a bathroom is added to each one. Slowly but surely, Casa Carmel begins to take shape.
In 2004, I return to Guatemala after graduating with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Purdue University and an advanced degree in Interior Design from the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago.
With the redesign finished, Casa Carmel finally opens it’s doors, over 10 years after the idea of a bed and breakfast first struck my parents.
My father still has his clinic in the back part of the house and Carlos Chaclan, the ceramics artist—who has now become very well known in and out of Guatemala—still has his studio in the garage.