Cartagena Travel Guide: 6 Top Hotels in Colombia’s Sexiest City – Cartagena, Colombia

This post is part 1 of 7 in the series Cartagena Travel Guide

We didn’t know it at the time, but our very first destination in Colombia turned out to be Colombia’s sexiest city. Cartagena has drawn us back again and again with its languid Caribbean vibe, intense history and gorgeous restored Colonial architecture in a sprawling historic center which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984. Cartagena is also home to most of the best hotels in Colombia, from budget to boutique. All that choice can be overwhelming, but we’re here to help. After spending more than a month exploring Cartagena we’ve put together this hotel guide so you can make the right choices about sleeping in Colombia’s sexiest city.


Restored Colonial architecture like this is part of the reason Cartagena, Colombia was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hotels in Cartagena

Here are our stand-out stays after spending more than a month in Cartagena.

Cartagena is full of hotels crafted in the renovated remains of very, very old buildings. Casa Pestagua, in a mansion built in the 17th century, is not the fanciest or slickest of them but it is the most authentic, full of antiques, elaborate frescoes and original carved wooden ceilings. There are only eleven guest rooms, all of which are set around a double interior courtyard and garden with a reflecting fountain, a recently renovated al fresco restaurant, an outdoor bar, small spa and a large swimming pool shaded by a massive mango tree. The free 15 minute foot massage is a brilliant touch in a city that requires so much walking on cobblestones.

Casa Pestagua Hotel - Cartagena, Colombia

One of the antique-filled rooms at spacious, serene and authentic Hotel Casa Pestagua in Cartagena, Colombia.

We have never felt as welcome as we did when we checked into Hotel LM thanks to a flawlessly hospitable staff (Spanish only) and a private home feeling. Room #2 is the winner with a small patio that is the perfect photographic vantage point for capturing Cartagena’s famous Colonial architecture spooling out along the street below.


The view of gorgeous Colonial architecture from the balcony of room #2 at Hotel LM in Cartagena, Colombia.

Though the decor was not our style (a bit like a prom dress exploded in every room), we did appreciate the lovely daily breakfast and the dehumidifiers in each room. And the suite at Tcherassi Hotel & Spa, created by Colombian fashion designer Silvia Tcherassi, is a stunner with multiple levels of space, private patios and even a private plunge pool. In the works now is a brand new project around the corner from the hotel which will add 42 rooms, two restaurants and a boutique. Those additional elements are currently set to open in 2016.

Tcherassi Hotel & Spa - Cartagena, Colombia

The decor at Tcherassi Hotel & Spa in Cartagena wasn’t our style but the hotel has much else to recommend it.

No hotel in Cartagena does a better job of combining architectural heritage with modern design than Casa Pombo. Five incredibly large, thoroughly sleek and modern apartments have been accommodated within the walls of one of the oldest buildings in Cartagena. Parts of the foundation date back to 1533 and teams of restorers spent months carefully revealing and preserving original frescoes and other treasures. There’s no sign for Casa Pombo and the atmosphere is private and casual, like being at home only much, much swankier. The entry way features one of the most breathtaking decorative lobby pools we’ve ever seen.

Casa Pombo - Cartagena, Colombia

Casa Pombo in Cartagena, Colombia where foundations that date back to 1533 meet sleek, modern design.

Best on a budget

Hotel Villa Colonial in the Getsemani neighborhood of Cartagena (not to be confused with its nearby, slightly pricier sister the Casa Villa Colonial) does not have dorm rooms but its prices for clean, comfortable private rooms (doubles or  triples) with A/C are the same or even cheaper than area hostels and there’s a kitchen for guest use. The helpful host, Martha, has a delightful “Glenda the Good Witch” personality and optimism that’s free of charge.

Plaza trinidad -  Getsemani Cartagena, Colombia

Plaza Trinidad is the heart and soul of the Getsemani neighborhood of Cartagena and just a few steps away from Hotel Villa Colonial, a true budget find.

Worthy splurge

Hotel Casa San Agustin opened in 2012 after a 15 month renovation which turned 14 luxury apartments in three adjoining 17th Century buildings into one stunning boutique hotel. Frette sheets, remarkably fast Wi-Fi, iPads, gourmet mini-bars, lovingly restored architecture (including original frescoes and tiles and remnants of a 400 year old aqueduct that now forms part of the hotel’s commanding ground floor pool), elegant furnishings, marble bathrooms that redefine the word spacious, fresh-cut flowers, streaming sunlight, impeccable staff…you get the picture. Since you’re splurging anyway, go for one of the premium rooms which have private jetted plunge pools on spacious private patios.

Room - Hotel Casa San Agustin - Cartagena, Colombia

The lap of luxury in a guest room at Hotel Casa San Agustin in Cartagena.

Pool - Hotel Casa San Agustin - Cartagena, Colombia

The commanding pool, built around massive original walls, at Hotel Casa San Agustin in Cartagena.


There are solid rumors that a Four Seasons will be opening in Cartagena soon…


We had high hopes for a recently opened hostel called The Roof. Then we checked in and got locked inside the hostel when the staff mysteriously disappeared leaving us stranded and discovered that the shared bathroom was pretty much always out of toilet paper and often occupied by a staff member who liked to bring his tablet in which him…

Cartagena, Colombia

Beauty is everywhere you look in the historic center of Cartagena.

To get the full Cartagena Travel Guide, check out our top places to eat and drink in Cartagena and our top things to do and see in Cartagena.

For clued-in, up-to-the-minute information about hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs and events in Cartagena, check out Ti Cartagena.

Read more about travel in Colombia


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One comment on “Cartagena Travel Guide: 6 Top Hotels in Colombia’s Sexiest City – Cartagena, Colombia

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