Our Theory on Cartagena

by | April 2, 2024

Nestled along the Caribbean coast of Colombia lies the enchanting city of Cartagena, a destination steeped in history, culture, and charm. Known for its colorful colonial architecture, vibrant streets, and rich heritage, Cartagena beckons travelers from around the globe to explore its wonders. Amidst its cobblestone streets and bougainvillea-draped balconies, Cartagena boasts a diverse selection of boutique hotels set within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town that offer the perfect blend of luxury, comfort, and hospitality. Here, we delve into our three favorite hotels for an unforgettable stay inside the walled city.

Casa de Alba

Casa de Alba’s painstakingly restored colonial mansion exudes 17th century charm while seamlessly incorporating modern amenities to cater to the discerning traveler. The former residence of Sir Francis Drake, each of the hotel’s rooms and suites is adorned with exquisite furnishings, handcrafted artwork, and intricate details that pay homage to Cartagena’s rich heritage. We stayed in the Duplex Suite with plenty of room for 4 with one king bed and two double beds. The double beds are in the loft area accessed by a set of spiral stairs. Be aware though, we don’t recommend this particular room for little ones under the age of 5 due to the open nature of the stairs and risk for falling.

Casa de Alba boasts two pools. The larger pool is located on the ground floor and is surrounded by lush greenery. The second and smaller pool is located on the hotel’s rooftop terrace, offering breathtaking views of the city’s skyline and the Caribbean Sea beyond. While the rooftop pool had the views, we preferred larger pool with its completely serene ambiance and emerald colors that were the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle outside the property walls.

Casa de Alba has only 7 rooms so it never felt crowded or busy. Though fully booked, we hardly saw another guest. It felt like we had the entire place to ourselves, which we didn’t mind at all. Breakfast each morning is a simple affair with local fruits, eggs any-way-you-like and toast. Our tip…grab breakfast on the balcony overlooking the streets below!

Casa San Agustin

Situated in the heart of the walled-city, Casa San Agustin invites guests to immerse themselves in the city’s vibrant culture and architectural splendor. With 20 rooms and 11 suites, this property has a noticeable different feel with a thrum of guests moving around the hotel. This is the one of only two Virtuoso properties in Cartagena and booking through us gets you a host of extra perks: daily full breakfast for two per room · upgrade on arrival, early check-in & late check-out, whenever possible · $100 hotel credit to be utilized during stay.

Casa San Agustin’s meticulously appointed accommodations exude warmth and sophistication, with each room and suite offering a blend of colonial-inspired décor and modern amenities. Families take note here, there are no interconnecting rooms and no rooms that sleep more than 3 guests. From handcrafted wooden furnishings to plush bedding and locally sourced artwork, every detail has been thoughtfully curated in keeping with the city’s 17th century roots.

Breakfast at the on-site restaurant, Alma, is exclusive to guests of Casa San Agustin and offers a full menu of options with everything from traditional American pancakes and waffles to local eats like arepas and everything in between. Alma opens to the public for both lunch and dinner serving up flavors of Colombia and the Caribbean.

Within the center of Casa San Agustin is a uniquely-shaped pool that passes through one of the original walls and is surrounding by tropical foliage giving the space a feeling that is both historic and exotic. For those looking for more active pursuits, there are bicycles available to lend to explore the cobblestone streets.

Casa Pestagua

Steeped in history, Casa Pestagua stands as a testament to Cartagena’s rich colonial heritage. Originally constructed in the 17th century as the residence of the Count of Pestagua, this opulent mansion has been carefully restored to its former glory, offering guests a glimpse into the city’s storied past. From intricately carved wooden furnishings to ornate chandeliers and marble bathrooms, each room and suite is a masterpiece of design, blending period features with modern comforts.

In each room we were welcomed with a basket of local fruits along side a hand-written thank you note and, as a sweet touch, personalized calling cards should you meet a new friend during your time in Cartagena. Casa Pestagua’s 11 suites and 5 rooms are large, even at the entry category, but similar to Casa San Agustin, rooms sleep no more than 3 guests. Interconnecting rooms are not available and we were placed across the courtyard from our girls’ room…something for families with small children to be mindful of.

The hotel’s sprawling courtyard, the largest of the three, is adorned with lush gardens and sparkling fountains, provides a serene retreat from the bustling streets outside. While you’re here, relax by the inviting pool surrounded by towering palms and blooming flowers, indulge in a pampering spa treatment to rejuvenate the body and soul or break a sweat in the on-site gym. The overall feel of the hotel is quiet during the morning and afternoon hours, but lively at night, particular on the weekends. Expect live bands in the evenings in courtyard, bringing some of the energy of the streets into the courtyard.

Breakfast is served in the courtyard at AniMare and is exclusively for guests of Casa Pestagua. Later in the day, AniMare opens to the public for lunch and dinner featuring flavors and ancestral techniques of the coasts of the Caribbean and Pacific of Colombia. There’s also a daily complimentary happy hour here served in Bar AniMare which is the perfectly timed to cool off before dinner.

One of favorite features about Cartagena is the colonial exteriors and wooden carriage doors that give nothing away about the luxury that lies within. Each of these properties feels like a hidden oasis once you are welcomed into its halls. With a unique blend of colonial charm, modern comforts, and impeccable service found at all three, you can’t go wrong, no matter which one you choose. Trouble deciding? Let us help. Knowing which properties is the best match to our clients in part of what we do!

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