The Top Hotels in Colombia
Once crippled by drug traffickers and armed forces, Colombia’s hotel scene now offers postcard-worthy options for every traveler, whether you’re soaking in colonial Cartagena, exploring urban Bogotá, or delving deep into the coffee region.
Cartagena, Cartagena Province, Bolivar, Colombia
Tucked away in Cartagena’s Old Town, Casa de Indias combines colonial architecture with vibrant eclecticism. Though the villa dates to 1693, when it was owned by the then-governor of Cartagena, its purchase in 1979 by the family of famed Colombian figurative artist and sculptor Fernando Botero set the tone for its current iteration. His interior designer daughter Lina Botero redecorated the guesthouse and opened it to travelers in 2013, keeping old-world features like terra cotta–hued stucco walls and black-and-white marble tile floors while adding colorful textiles and pottery, rough-hewn wood furniture, and works by her father to create an artsy lived-in feel. Individually decorated rooms are likewise warm and distinctive, some showcasing original brick walls and all offering iPod docks and flat-screen TVs. The 16-guest maximum capacity helps ensure a quiet atmosphere where you’re free to roam between palm-shaded patios, lounge around the outdoor pool, or take in panoramic city views from the rooftop terrace and hot tub.
Calle del Curato nº38-99, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
Colombian fashion designer Silvia Tcherassi took the design world by storm when she transformed a 250-year-old mansion in the center of Old Town Cartagena into a contemporary refuge that honors both past and present. Mansion Tcherassi’s seven rooms blend fashion-forward decor (think sparkly gold throw blankets) and original features such as restored stone walls and private balconies, but the vibe is much more understated, with ethereal fabrics, soft colors, and natural wood, in the 42 neutral-hued rooms at sister property Tcherassi Hotel & Spa. You can order fresh-caught seafood and icy raspaos (traditional drinks made with fruit and condensed milk) at the restaurant, while carpaccios, pizzas, and ceviches are on the menu on the rooftop lounge; the Italian restaurant at the mansion extends to a cozy patio facing a plunge pool and vertical garden made with thousands of local plants. After a day spent exploring Old Town’s historic buildings, relax with a Chinese medicine–inspired treatment in the spa, or take a dip in one of the property’s four pools.
la No. 36 44, Universidad de Cartagena, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
Occupying three whitewashed colonial buildings sheltered from the bustling streets of Old Town Cartagena, Casa San Agustín sits on the site of a former aqueduct and channels its heritage with a swimming pool that tunnels through its stately remnants. Inside, common spaces feature a mix of Colombian art and artifacts with contemporary wicker furnishings and marble floors. The 20 rooms and 10 suites are cozy and a bit more polished than those found at other historic properties nearby: Units feature 200-year-old wood-beamed ceilings and iron canopy beds topped with Frette linens; some have patios with hot tubs or brick terraces with views of surrounding buildings. But there’s plenty of space to unwind throughout the property, namely a library with original frescoes and a lounge with a long wooden bar and ceiling-high wine cabinet. It’s a good idea to make reservations in advance for dinner at Alma, considered among the city’s best restaurants, where the upscale international cuisine includes fresh ceviche and dry-aged beef cured on-site.
Cra. 5 ##35-81, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
Behind a discreet blue door in Cartagena’s walled historic zone, La Passion maintains its low-key ambiance with just eight rooms and a maximum of 16 guests. The distinctly decorated 19th-century building was designed by French film producer and theater designer Thierry Forte, who owns the property with his Colombian wife, and balances original elements like black-and-white-tile flooring with such antiques as brass gramophones and heavy wooden chests. Brightly painted accent walls, abstract art, and colorful decorative objects keep things from feeling too fusty, as does an indoor garden of tropical flowers, vines, and trees that soars through an interior courtyard. Best of all, the standout rooftop pool and restaurant are typically uncrowded, making the surrounding panoramic city views all the more stunning.
Cra. 8 #3929, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
An Old Town icon, the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara is a smart pick for travelers who appreciate high-tech modern conveniences as much as colonial architecture. The 123 French-influenced rooms and suites are spread between two 17th- and 19th-century wings separated by gardens and courtyards; the former includes parts of a former convent replete with original crypts, confessionals, and secret windows. Accommodations lean on the contemporary side with signature MyBed mattresses, Nespresso machines, and Lanvin toiletries. True to Sofitel form, the property also offers the full range of luxury amenities, from a large outdoor pool and nearly 9,000-square-foot spa with solarium to a sun-drenched poolside bar, 24-hour room service, and three on-site restaurants. Opt for clubby El Coro Lounge to dine on tapas and sip mojitos with a live-music backdrop.
Bogotá, Bogota, Colombia
In Medellín’s buzzy nightlife district, The Charlee has a party-ready aesthetic to match that of its well-heeled patrons. Colorful graffiti-inspired murals decorate the parking garage and stairwells, a living wall festoons an elevator bank, and a lobby partition is made entirely of antique travel chests. The vibe at Tuscan steakhouse Lucia Restaurant has a more sophisticated feel, with wood-clad surfaces that extend to an intimate covered patio. After dinner, make your way to Envy Roof Top, occupying the 17th and 18th floors. The venue regularly hosts live DJs and is a popular spot for dancing into the wee hours; during the day, guests can kick back in the large pool and hot tub and revel in outstanding views across the city. Rooms take a subtler approach with decor that balances soft colors with wood and industrial metal accents, though—oddly enough—some have teppanyaki grills and hydromassage whirlpools for post-party rejuvenation.
Km9, El Caimo - Calarca, Portugalito, Armenia, Quindío, Colombia
With its gently sloping landscapes and towering wax palms—the world’s tallest—Colombia’s coffee region is a place of wild natural beauty. The best place to experience it all: Hacienda Bambusa, a romantic former plantation with views of the soaring Central Andes Range and acres of plantain, pineapple, and manioc fields in all directions. Built in the region’s typical style, the house is made of thick stalks of bamboo sheltered by a traditional clay-tile roof. The eight airy guest rooms have colorful modern decor that emphasizes bright-hued textiles and and bold art and accessories, and open to a shared balcony with hammocks and wicker seating; despite the rural setting, they have satellite TVs and free Wi-Fi, plus air-conditioning and minibars. An outdoor pool beckons from the emerald lawn—the perfect antidote to a day spent exploring the area on hiking trips, bike treks, and wildlife tours that the staff can arrange for you. And in a throwback to the property’s former life, the restaurant serves all meals, centering on fruits and vegetables sourced locally and from the hacienda’s gardens.
Isla de Providencia, Providencia, San Andrés and Providencia, Colombia
The island of Providencia sits more than 700 miles from mainland Colombia in the Caribbean Sea. Given its remote location and the effort required to reach it, few resorts have a presence here, but the intrepid are rewarded with landscapes that are remarkably unspoiled—think soft sandy beaches, excellent diving opportunities, and mountainous parks laced with verdant hiking trails. Deep Blue is a decent place to drop your bags, though guests can expect some hiccups: Service can be inconsistent at the restaurant, which serves tasty fresh seafood, and decor is not especially stylish or modern. Still, rooms are comfortable enough, and the island itself is the real draw, ensuring you won’t be on property for long anyway. Hotel staff can book deep-sea fishing trips and scuba-diving excursions to the world’s third-longest barrier reef, while a free morning shuttle takes you to beaches around the island.