Cartagena is as legendary for its superb hotels as it is for its bougainvillea-draped colonial buildings. There’s a wealth of family-friendly lodgings from which to choose, from beachfront resorts to intimate boutique hotels in the heart of the historic quarter.

As Colombia’s top tourist destination, Cartagena boasts a range of lodgings for every budget. The historic center, including the adjacent neighborhood of Getsamani, offers many adorable, high-end boutique hotels in restored colonial mansions. Being pampered at one of these gems—many of which have rooftop pools—is a highlight of any visit. Plus there’s no shortage of larger hotels, including beachfront resort-style properties with swimming pools outside Cartagena's historic "Walled City." With so much competition, many hotels go the extra mile for families, but here are our recommendations for the best.

And before you embark on your family adventure, be sure to check out this article offering advice on traveling in Colombia with children. 

Bantú Hotel by Faranda Boutique

Patio entrance at the Bantú Hotel (photo courtesy of Bantú Hotel)

The Bantú Hotel, located on Parque Fernández de Madrid, is a boutique dream in the heart of the historic quarter. Children will love the three live toucans that fly and hop around, often begging for breakfast fruits. Kids can also enjoy the rooftop plunge pool, which affords views over Cartagena’s historic center. The restored colonial mansion features exposed bricks and beams, and its 27 rooms—on three levels around three tree-lined inner patios—are done up in elegant contemporary décor and tropical pastels. It has a small restaurant, but the plaza outside has several great eateries that will encourage you to enjoy Cartagena alfresco by night.

Calle de la Tablada 7-62, Cartagena

Hotel NH Cartagena Urban Royal

View of Plaza de los Coches from the NH Cartagena Urban Royal

You can’t beat the location of the quaint NH Cartagena Urban Royal. It's uniquely situated on the Plaza de los Coches and offers fantastic views over the Torre del Reloj (clock tower) and the harbor beyond. The best vistas are from the rooftop pool terrace, where children under 12 must be supervised. This Dutch-owned hotel features 28 rooms all with the desired amenities, including complimentary wifi, and the staff is friendly and helpful. Note that this hotel does catch plenty of nighttime street noise from the bars that line the plaza.

Plaza de los Coches, Carrera 7 #34-10, Cartagena

Sofitel Legend Santa Clara

The pool at the Sofitel Legend (photo courtesy of Sofitel Legend Santa Clara)

The most appealing chain hotel in town, the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara occupies a beautifully rehabbed 17th-century convent, with a modern extension wrapped around a large swimming pool. Superbly run by France’s luxury Accord hotel group, it melds Gallic sophistication with colonial ambiance. The old wing is a trove of architectural treasures and religious relics. There's even a crypt-turned-bar for kids to explore, while the jungle-like courtyard cloister, with its fountain and resident toucan, is a fun place to play hide-and-seek.

Its other pluses include impeccable service, two excellent restaurants, and a spa where you can indulge in a full-body chocolate treatment. Outside you'll find one of the old quarter's liveliest squares, lined with superb restaurants. The hotel provides extra beds, has connecting rooms perfect for families, and babysitters can be arranged. Just know this is Cartagena’s most popular option, so book ahead.

Carrera 8 #39-29, Cartagena

Hotel Casa San Agustín

Suite Prestige at the San Agustín (photo courtesy of Casa San Agustín)

Cartagena has many divine colonial boutique properties, but we recommend the Hotel Casa San Agustín for its cheery welcome. Looking like it fell from the pages of Vogue (in which it’s been featured), this gorgeous retreat unites three former townhomes. Artfully preserved architectural details, such as exposed timber beams and Moorish tiles, combine with chic contemporary décor to wow guests.

For a place so elegant and serene, its child-friendly atmosphere is impressive. Kids can swim in the mosaic-tiled plunge pools in the courtyard and rooftop terrace while parents get coffee and volcanic mud treatments in the spa. 10-year-olds and under stay free, a sofa-bed accommodates two children in the Junior Suites, and the restaurant has high chairs and a kid’s menu. Plus, babysitters are available for an extra fee. The San Agustín also offers complimentary use of bicycles for exploring the old city en famille.

Calle de la Universidad #36-44, Cartagena

Hotel Boutique Bóvedas de Santa Clara

Crisp white rooms at the Bóvedas (photo courtesy of Hotel Boutique Bóvedas de Santa Clara)

We like the intimacy of the Hotel Boutique Bóvedas de Santa Clara, located a stone’s throw from the namesake sightseeing attraction, Las Bóvedas. You’d never guess that behind its shuttered Republican-style façade this recently upgraded hotel is futuristically high-tech, with an almost industrial chic. Some of its 18 rooms have ocean views, including family rooms done up in cool white contemporary décor. Babysitters are available if you want to put the tots to bed and hit the town. Note: guests here can also indulge in the facilities at the deluxe Hotel Sofitel Santa Clara, a sister property nearby.

Calle del Torno #39-114, Cartagena

Hotel Pueblito Playa

The Pueblita Playa is located in Cartagena's upscale Bocagrande district

If a beach location takes priority but you still want the colonial city close by, then the Hotel Pueblito Playa may be for you. A stone’s throw from the silvery sands of Cartagena's upscale Bocagrande neighborhood, on the third floor of a commercial building, it has cozy, air-conditioned rooms done in tropical Crayola colors. Brian, the British expat owner, is a retired professional chef; you’ll love his gourmet American style breakfasts. For kids, the big draw is the four guest-friendly dogs and two cats that Brian and his Colombian wife Esther rescued off the street. 

Avenida San Martín #5, Bocagrande, Cartagena

Hotel Las Américas

One of the eight pools at the Hotel Las Américas (photo courtesy of Hotel Las Américas)

For a beach resort, you can’t beat Hotel Las Américas, a stylish 10-story property at Cielo Mar, just north of the airport and about four miles from the old town. Principally serving Colombian middle-class families, it’s a great chance for your kids to interact with locals as they splash around in the hotel's eight pools. They can also play mini-golf and enjoy the Club del Capitán Estrella children’s club. It features a climbing wall, trampolines, arts and crafts classes, and more. Adolescents can try kite-surfing and other watersports.

Meanwhile, parents might rekindle some romance with a his-and-hers massage in the spa, or sipping cocktails at the top floor Infinito bar. Guest rooms are state-of-the-art sleek and include family suites with extra bedrooms or pull-out couches for the wee ones. À la carte purchases can really add up, so if you wish to spend a few days here, consider the optional all-inclusive package.

Anillo Vial, Sector Cielo Mar, Cartagena