After a day of hard-fought exploration in bustling Bogotá, it's nice to settle into one of the city's locally-owned boutique hotels for some quiet reflection. These can be found mainly in the north of Bogotá, plus the La Candalaria neighborhood. Here are our picks for the best in the city. Note: those with mobility issues may want to avoid the hilly La Candelaria neighborhood and stick to the more upscale northern accommodations. Also, be warned that almost all converted colonial buildings in the city have thin walls and can be chilly at night.
The B3 is well-known for its unusual facade, a horizontal garden of flowerbeds and shrubs. Inside, you’ll find 128 stylish rooms with a clean, modern look and hardwood floors. Beds come with soft comforters. Bathrooms have perfectly-functioning walk-in showers. Many of these rooms afford city views. A complimentary buffet breakfast is included in the price. Small-sized rooms are available at discount rates.
El Tres, the restaurant in the hotel, offers modern tapas dishes of organic meats and seafood, presented in chic surroundings. Handcrafted cocktails are available in the upscale lounge, complete with live DJ accompaniment.
The hotel has a nice location in northern Bogotá’s trendy Virrey neighborhood (near the Zona Rosa nightlife area).
- Where: Cra 15 #88-36, Virrey
- Contact: Tel: 1-593 4490; www.hotelesb3.com
The B.O.G. features 55 elegant rooms, each with queen bed and 500-thread-count sheets. The wall-length windows feature acoustic isolation. Mod cons include mini bar, iPhone dock and digital TV. Colombia’s most precious jewels – gold and emeralds – feature prominently in the décor of this hotel.
The rooftop swimming pool offers sweeping views of sprawling Bogotá from the 9th floor. Another feature is the Emerald Spa, a wellness center located in the hotel that relaxes guests with steam baths and serenity treatments, many featuring beautification products from upscale boutiques in Paris. A small gym is also available for use.
The hotel is located in the north of the city, a couple blocks from the Zona Rosa, making it a convenient place for a night out on the town.
- Where: Cra 11 #86-74, Zona Rosa
- Contact: 1-639-9999; www.boghotel.com
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Casa Platypus is a long-time backpacker favorite located in a charming old colonial home complete with interior balconies and wooden balustrades. It features 17 rooms situated around a central tiled courtyard filled with hammocks – perfect for lazing the day away.
The rooms are on the small side but come with modern amenities, including cable TV and air-con. Tasteful renovations have improved the look and feel of the guesthouse. It's a great option for budget travelers looking to coordinate trips and stay in walking distance to the best attractions in the city. The English-speaking staff is friendly and very good at helping to coordinate travel plans.
A complimentary continental breakfast of fruit, eggs, bread, coffee and fresh juice is served each morning. For fun, the hotel also offers the occasional meal night, when guests can enjoy classic Colombian fare including tamales. It’s one of the best budget boutiques in the area, and a great choice if you want to experience colonial heritage at budget rates.
- Where: Cra. 3 #12F-28, La Candelaria
- Contact: Tel: 1-281 1801; www.casaplatypusbogota.com
Fatima Suites is another budget boutique located in bustling La Candelaria. Like Platypus, it's an old colonial property with 13 rooms situated around a central courtyard. Each room has hardwood floors, whitewashed walls, and comfy beds.
The rooms are sparse on purpose and don't include TVs (although there is Wi-Fi throughout). It lends the entire building a monastic quality that makes Fatima a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of La Candelaria outside.
Head to the bright dining area and you’ll smell the scent of fresh herbs, which come from the mini garden kept by the friendly owners. It’s the perfect aroma in which to enjoy your morning tinto (Colombian black coffee with sugar). Tasteful works from local artists adorn the walls, lending the place a bright, creative vibe.
The English-speaking staff at Fatima are helpful if you need to book a tour or get information about the city.
- Where: Cra 4 #12c14, La Candelaria
- Contact: Tel: 1-2437811; www.fatimahostels.com
Hotel Hill House
This larger boutique hotel impresses with its modern brick exterior. Inside it boasts 17 suites all tastefully decorated, with hardwood floors and white linens, designed in a modernist style. The standard suites include flat-screen TVs, safe box, coffee machine, and minibar.
The hotel offers a complimentary buffet breakfast, and other services include a gym, 24-hour room service, parking and a welcome drink. The in-house La Farfolla restaurant specializes in Italian and Mediterranean dishes.
Hill House is located in Usaquén, a pretty enclave north of Bogota’s Zona Rosa. Centered around a charming plaza fronted by a colonial church, Usaquén is filled with trendy cafes and upscale restaurants. Most importantly, it is home to Bogotá’s most famous flea market, the Mercado de las Pulgas.
The Sunday market is a great outdoor bazaar featuring artisanal woodwork, handicrafts, jewelry, clothes and more. Hotel Hill House sits right at the junction of Carrera 6 and Calle 120, close to the market action.
- Where: Calle 120a #6-54, Usaquén
- Contact: Tel: 1-213 3434; www.hotelhillhouse.com.co
This charming hotel, a converted multi-story colonial home, is located in the hills above La Candelaria. It sells itself as “the first Pre-Columbian” themed hotel in the city.
The steep road that leads to the hotel requires a set of strong legs and lungs. Once you have made it inside, however, you'll be greeted with tasteful artwork and design of Bogotá's most famous indigenous group, the Muisca. High ceilings and comfortable beds feature in the hotel's 14 rooms. There’s a patio café, a cozy bar area, and a winding staircase that leads to a stunning lookout point affording panoramic views of the city.
Guests who want to delve deeper into the Muisca culture can opt to partake in an “ancestral experience” – spiritual cleansings, ancestral consultations, and word circles. Muisca authorities perform these ceremonies and experiences right at the hotel. The cleansing, for example, utilizes mambe or coca leaves in the ceremony.
- Where: Calle 10 #0-25/29, La Candelaria
- Contact: Tel:1-281 0644; www.hotelmuisca.com
Casa Gaitán Cortés
Pass through a stone and glass exterior of Casa Gaitán and you’ll enter a lobby that’s an assault on the senses, a combination of the old and the new. It’s filled with throwback furniture, pop art, and hanging plants.
Each of the 9 rooms has a minibar, TV and Wi-Fi. The standard rooms are modern and tastefully furnished, with a bit of 1960s flair that defines the rest of the hotel. The suites are long and spacious, with arched ceilings capped with a perforated screen that lends the room an almost intergalactic quality. The hotel was the brainchild of former Bogotá mayor and architect Jorge Gaitán Cortés.
Casa Gaitán is located in barrio Chapinero Alto, near Zona G, one of Bogotá’s most prominent dining areas. Within just a couple city blocks you’ll find some of the city’s nicest and most eclectic restaurants.
- Where: Calle 69 #4-97, Chapinero Alto
- Contact: Tel: 1-745 2871; www.casagaitancortes.com