The "boutique hotel" in Colombia concept
isn't as widespread as it is in other countries in Central and South
America. In part, this is because Colombia's tourist infrastructure/
travel industry isn't as developed as that of it's neighbours. Having
said that, there are some excellent small luxury and
boutique hotels in Colombia - and more and more are
appearing as Colombia starts to receive an increasing number of
discerning international visitors.
Herein follows a personal selection of what
I regard as being the best boutique hotels in Colombia. By "best" I
mean most worth visiting because they're great hotels in great
destinations. Following that is a proposed 2-3 week itinerary to take
in the best of Colombia staying only in small luxury or boutique
hotels. I did used to be a luxury travel consultant remember.....
Deep Blue - re-opening in 2011,
this 14 room luxury boutique hotel has an amazing seaside location on
the Caribbean island of Providencia. Luxury suites (USD $380 double
room) have private infinity edged pools with unforgettable views. If
you can't quite afford that, stay in a deluxe room (USD $230) and enjoy
the hotel's rooftop infinity edged plunge pool or the beautiful deck
and restaurant over the sea. Providencia is an English speaking island,
with beautiful white sand and unspoilt beaches, some lovely hiking
scenery and excellent fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving.
de Indias - the only place in Colombia that does have a wide
selection of boutique hotels is the colonial city of Cartagena, on the
Caribbean coast. Having visited many of these boutique hotels, my pick
of all them would be the 50 room hotel Cartagena de Indias (doubles
from USD $300), the only slh.com (small luxury hotels of the world)
branded hotel in Colombia. The rooftop swimming pool has stunning views
over the old walled city - it's certainly the best of the swimming pool
zones of any hotel I saw in Cartagena.
Ecohabs (poor website, but very
nice small hotel!) - it's more "rustic luxury" than a "boutique" hotel,
none-the-less this is the best small upmarket hotel in the Santa Marta
area, and it's right in the middle of the Tayrona National Park which
is the real highlight of that part of Colombia. Ecohabs consist of
various rustic but luxurious cabanas scattered througout a forested
hillside a short walk from the stunning beaches of Tayrona National
Park. The only drawback is that the sea is almost always too rough to
safely get into the sea.
A boutique hotel
itinerary to Colombia
If I had to design a dream itinerary to
Colombia that took in the country's best destinations but only involved
staying in small upmarket / luxury / boutique hotels, it would almost
certainly look like this:
Fly into Bogota for a two
night stay at either the Charleston
Hotel or the Cite
Hotel or La
Opera hotel (the latter being in the old town - not
necessarily better). Two nights is enough time in Bogota - to get over
the long flight, eat some fine food and visit the stunning gold museum.
From Bogota travel overland for a couple of hours (via the Zipaquira
Salt Cathedral) to the extremely peaceful, beautiful and relaxing town
of Villa de
Leyva, where there's about 10 boutique style
colonial hotels to choose from. Ozzing in charm them all are, perhaps
the highest end choice would be Plazuela
de San Agustin (two to three nights recommended in Villa de
Leyva - avoid the busier weekends if possible).
From Villa de Leyva travel overland to
Bogota airport and catch an afternoon flight to Santa Marta, from where
it's an hour by road to Ecohabs in the Tayrona National Park
(which is already mentioned above). After 3-4 nights at Ecohabs, travel
for fours hours along the coast (shared minibus transfers are easy to
arrange in Colombia, and can be quite luxurious) to Cartagena for
a stay at the small luxury hotel Cartagena
de Indias for 3-4 nights (mentioned above also).
From Cartagena catch a flight to
Island (changing planes in San Andres) for a
4 night stay at the luxury boutique Hotel
Deep Blue. Enjoy the tranquility, beaches and beautiful
unspoilt scenery of this small Caribbean island.
From Providencia fly back to the mainland to
visit either the Coffee
Triangle (see the website of Pequenos Hoteles Con Encanto for
some boutique hotel ideas there, and elsewhere in Colombia), or you
might visit the cities of Medellin
both of which have some interesting boutique hotels in addition to fine
restaurnts and great nightlife.