The Marriot is in zone 9. There is a grocery store called EconoSuper on Reforma Blvd. right behind the hotel. Go left out the doors of the hotel. Turn left at the corner and go to the next corner. On that street there is also a Japanese restaurant called Edoya run by a Japanese/American man (I remember his name as Keith) which I'm sure will have food your friend can eat and can be a source of more information. I can also recommend a restaurant called Katok in zona 10. They have a grilled vegetable plate and their black bean soup is really good.
There is a large shopping mall (four floors, food court, movie theater) across Reforma from the grocery store.
The Marriot is also close(walking distance) to the zoo, archeological and historical museums, the children's museum and the Artisan's Market.
There is an English speaking church about three block to the right of the Marriot on 12 Calle (Montufar) at the Plazuela España. Look for the big palm trees. People there can help you a lot. The office is open from 9:00 - 5:00 M-F. Services are 8:15 and 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Sundays.
Guatemala City is a modern city with all the conveniences of home, especially near the Marriot. People wear normal, although more modest than the US, clothes. The neighborhood is used to seeing people adopting babies.
You can take a shuttle to Antigua for $10 and spend a very pleasant day in this old colonial city. Check out the museums at Casa Santo Domingo hotel.
The most dangerous thing you will encounter in the area you are at is the traffic. But be in by dark.
Enjoy your stay.
Favorite thing: Cafe Virtual, an internet place we used briefly, is just one expample of the modernity that you'll experience in Guatemala City's Zone 10. Walking around this part of town, you'll see BMW car dealerships, sushi houses and lots of posh looking people with cell phones and PDAs. Is this the real Guatemala? Well, yes and no. It shows that not all people here growing coffee or weaving huipiles all day and then again, it's not exactly representative of the rest of the country.
If you want to cash traveller´s cheques, simply go to Banco Agromercantil.
What I experienced so far, it is just theoretically possible to get money via ATM though maestro, as there ARE ATMs, but practically they seem to be very hard to find, so take traveller´s cheques with you.
Fondest memory: the only thing I really rememeber about Guatemala City is standing outside a friend's house on a warm, cloudy, misty day, on the road, looking beyond a barbedwire fence that separated me from all of a coffee tree orchard except for a few branches of one tree that hung over the fence into the road. It was a great sight!
A new wave of artistic style and technique is developing today in Guatemala, a blend of the traditional with the modern. This intriguing combination can be seen in new and original styles of jade and silverjewelry, and in the modern fashionable clothing boutiques and stores throughout the city.
There's lots of nice shopping Malls all around with all the latets and best name brands. This is a picture of 'Geminis Shopping Mall'.
Favorite thing: The Metropolitan Cathedral and the churches of La Merced, San Miguel de Capuchinas and Santo Domingo are examples of a transition stiles from the Barroque to the Neoclassic. The Hermitage of El Carmen, which gave name to the valley where the capital is settled, goes back to 1620. This is a picture of the Cathedral..... though there was under construction work in main plaza where fountain is as you can see, when I visited.
Visitar La Plaza de Armas que tiene algunas edificaciones interesantes
Fondest memory: Recuerdo que fue una de las primeras Ciudades Latino-americanas que visité, fuera de mi México, y lo que mejor recuerdo fué el gran parecido, casi identidad con algunas ciudades de la provincia mexicana