Boutique Hotels in Colombia

by Mary Freeman

If you are looking for a boutique hotel in Colombia, Cartagena is the place to go. Nearly all of the country's small, design hotels are located in the walled-in city. Personalized service, a penchant for rooftop pools and terraces, and a heavy emphasis on design characterize many of Colombia's boutique hotels. History buffs beware: most of the hotels are remnants from Spanish colonialism and are hundreds of years old.

Historical Buildings

The Charleston Santa Teresa has gone through many changes since it was first constructed in the 17th century. It has been a convent, barracks, a jail, an all-girls school, pasta factory, police department, and finally today, a luxury boutique hotel. The rooms at the Cartagena hotel are split between two wings: one built during Colonial times, the other built at the turn of the 20th century. Not only is La Merced housed in a refurbished 18th-century home, it is directly across from historical sites like the Heredia Theater and the Santa Teresa Convent. The hotel offers guests bikes, and also has partnerships with many of the local tour companies. Colonial leader Antonio Jose de Ayos once lived in the building now known as the La Casa del Arzobispado hotel. The colonial architecture that is prevalent throughout Cartagena is quite evident in the hotel's design, even after its 2002 restoration. The hotel has a small restaurant located in the courtyard and a 15-person Turkish bath.

Personalized Service

Tcherassi Hotel and Spa gets its name from its owner, fashion designer Silvia Tcherassi. With only seven rooms and over 30 staff members, the 18th-century hotel offers very personalized service. The hotel's Italian restaurant overlooks a vertical garden, which is home to over 3,000 local plants. Casa Quero takes personalized service seriously; the hotel allows guests to preselect their welcome drink, what kind of fruits and what color flowers there should be in the room, and even what scent the room should be. In addition, they offer cooking classes in their kitchen, arrange tours, and have customized packages for weddings, anniversaries, honeymoons and romantic getaways.

Design

An absence of time or place defines La Passion's design aesthetic. The hotel has imported furnishings from around the world and the architecture and décor come from various times throughout history. This adults-only hotel also prohibits pets. Once a colonial mansion, Casa Pestagua retains its 16th-century grandeur with statues and frescos throughout the hotel. Antique décor, from Colonial, Republic and Art Deco eras, are featured in the Casa Pestagua's 11 rooms. The main focal point of Casa Pestagua is its large, centrally located patio, which is home to eight palm trees and a water fountain. Open-air cabins, palm-thatched roofs and Mediterranean tile create a heavily nature-centric aesthetic throughout Playa Koralia. Brightly colored tile mosiacs and images of Frida Kahlo remind you that you are in Colombia. Palm tree forests surround this beachside hotel adding to its nature-loving appeal.

Water Sports

Hotel 3 Banderas' décor is tropical with warm reds, oranges and yellows and cool blues as well as lush, green tropical foliage. To get to the hotel, you have to ride a traditional, wooden chalupa from Cartagena to the Isla Tierra Bomba, where the hotel is located. Hotel Quadrifolio's eight suites are simple in design, featuring sleek, modern furnishings and muted neutral colors. Guests are free to use the hotel's 38-foot, 18-passenger speedboat.

About the Author

Mary Freeman is a freelance writer. She has held several editorial positions at the print publication, "The Otter Realm." She traveled throughout Europe, which ultimately resulted in an impromptu move to London, where she stayed for eight months. This life experience inspired her to pursue travel writing. Freeman received a degree in human communication from California State University.