If you are looking to enjoy the beauty of a bygone era of haciendas lovingly restored with hand crafted items and attention to detail, Antigua is the place you should visit.
For the most part the street fronts give no hint of what lies behind the heavy wooden doors punctuated with metal rivets and set into color-saturated walls. When you step through the door you start to get a sense of what lies beyond. Framed by a second doorway are lush courtyards where water features take center stage and are surrounded by plants that make the home feel like a living, breathing entity.
These incredible buildings have been restored from rubble, to recreate the thoroughly sensory experience that was part of hacienda living. Your ears are soothed by the tumbling water, you breathe deeper with the plants creating green living spaces and your eyes feel a sense of comfort from the ceilings soaring high above you, the massive walls feeling solidly safe around you and the care that is evident in every detail.
Hand carved doors, hand-made ceramic tiles and roof tiles, forged metalwork and custom furniture give you a sense not just of a time in history but of a time today where a town is made up of artisans who have practiced their craft for many generations. Antigua is not just a town but it is a community where people support each other in their livelihoods as opposed to going to the nearest big-box store to buy everything in one sterile environment of no benefit to locals. If I can say one thing that has touched me most about this town, it is that the people have something that we in our developed nations have lost. The art of artisanship. Because when you craft, you put something of yourself into your creation. And when I enter the hotels that have been lovingly restored, I feel a sense of humbleness at the talent it takes to turn raw materials into beautiful masterpieces.