Cartagena is one of South America’s most enchanting colonial cities. Enticing boutique hotels are already a feature of the Centro Histórico (walled city), with newer properties starting to appear in hip, artsy Getsemaní. Most hotels feature an elegant colonial Spanish theme (in keeping with the city's history), but with plenty of individual touches and splashes of modern art, and there are even swish, contemporary options to consider.

Overview

There is something for everybody in Cartagena – and a hotel for every taste and sensibility. Top neighborhoods include the Centro Histórico (walled city), and Getsemaní, a short walk away. You should always book ahead for holidays like Easter Week. English is spoken at these hotels, with an attuned staff that understands the unique needs and expectations of foreign tourists. Street noise can be a challenge in some places, especially at weekends. If you’re a light sleeper, request an interior room. Free WiFi and breakfasts are pretty much standard, as are all modern amenities.  

Alfiz Hotel

Colonial suites at the Alfiz
Colonial suites at the Alfiz

For a truly intimate experience, try the Alfiz, with just eight luxurious rooms and a fascinating history. The hotel occupies a mansion that is over 300 years old, serving variously as offices and warehouses, as well as the residence of British Consul Edward Watts in the 1820s, a supporter of liberator Simón Bolívar.

Today the property is decked out with period art and furniture (including huge bathtubs and showers), as well as several cozy nooks in which to doze or read, featuring tiled floors, original brick arches and exposed coffered ceilings. Each room (some are split-level suites) features a different historical leitmotif and is dressed accordingly, from the religious simplicity of “San Pedro Claver” to the nautical themed “Piratas”.

  • Where: Calle Cochera del Gobernador 33-28, Centro Histórico, Cartagena, Colombia
  • Contact: (+57) 05-6600006; www.alfizhotel.com
  • Cost: Mid-Range

Allure Chocolat

Allure Chocolat
A room at Allure Chocolat.

Located in the hip, up-and-coming Getsemaní neighborhood, this is the stylish, contemporary antidote to Cartagena’s stock of colonial properties — and usually a bit cheaper than its peers in the walled city. Rooms feature a stylish, all-white design (most look out over a lush vertical garden, with the more expensive rooms offering enchanting views of the city). The roof deck and pool area is the perfect place to unwind, with breezes wafting in across the bay.

  • Where: Calle Arsenal No. 8B–58, Getsemaní, Cartagena, Colombia
  • Contact: (+51) 05-6605831; www.allurechocolathotel.com
  • Cost: Mid-Range 

Anandá Hotel Boutique

Guestroom at the Ananda Boutique.

This swish hotel is your place for luxury and elegance. The Anandá retains elements of its Spanish colonial roots, but its décor is far more eclectic, with its tranquil 18th-century stone courtyards enhanced with Buddha statues, African lampshades, and Asian teak furniture.  Featuring 24 rooms with original timber-beamed ceilings and tiled floors, the hotel also sports three airy roof terraces and two patios shaded by almond trees. The rooftop pool is another tranquil spot to end the day.

  • Where: Calle del Cuartel No. 36-77, Centro Histórico, Cartagena, Colombia
  • Contact: (+57) 05-66444521; en.anandahotelboutique.com
  • Cost: High-End

Casa del Arzobispado

Courtyard of Casa del Arzobispado.

Art and history lovers will fall head over heels for Casa del Arzobispado, a gorgeous seventeenth-century palace, where you can relive Cartagena's colonial golden age. Once the home of Colombian independence hero Antonio José de Ayos, its 10 luxurious rooms have beautifully decorated beds and there’s a romantic courtyard pool surrounded by blossom-smothered verandas. Colonial art is spread liberally throughout the hotel. 

  • Where: Calle del Arzobispado No. 34–52, Centro Histórico, Cartagena, Colombia
  • Contact: (+51) 05-6644162; www.hotelcasadelarzobispado.com
  • Cost: High-End

Casa Pestagua Hotel Boutique

Swimming pool of Casa Pestagua.

Another stunning colonial mansion, restored to its former glory, the Casa Pestagua was built in the 18th-century by the Count of Pestagua, a minor Spanish nobleman. Here you’ll find enigmatic Mudéjar (Moorish) influences, with ochre walls, painted ceilings, period furnishings and marble statues studded throughout.

The back courtyard boasts a gorgeous swimming pool, with an especially large patio graced with eight palm trees. The hotel's 11 comfy rooms open onto the garden (here you also get the rare treat of an elevator), with colonial- and Art Deco-style decor, parquet floors, and wonderfully high ceilings.

Casa Quero

Contemporary style meets colonial art in this friendly boutique, known for its personal service and freshly-prepared meals; it's a good bet if you want to save some money but still have a comfortable and classy stay. Rooms feature a bright blue and white Neo-Baroque theme – think ornate period-style beds and furnishings with distressed wood, blended with the latest iPod docks, jacuzzis and plasmas TVs. The enthusiastic staff are a font of local information and can arrange a variety of tours and restaurants bookings.

  • Where: Calle 37 (Calle Quero) No. 9–53, Centro Histórico, Cartagena, Colombia
  • Contact: (+51) 05-6646328; www.hotelcasaquero.com
  • Cost: Mid-range 

Casa San Agustín

Room at Casa San Agustin
Room at Casa San Agustin

One of Cartagena’s most venerated historic hotels, with an appropriately high-rolling clientele — this is where celebrities stay. The colonial-era white-washed complex comes with original frescoes in the library and timber beams in the rooms, blending period pieces — ironwork beds, chandeliers — with modern amenities (iPads, flat-screen TVs, free phone calls to the US).

It has 30 rooms but still feels like a personal residence (albeit of a very rich family). Relax at the soothing rooftop solarium, or at the shaded pool, giving cool relief in the sweltering Cartagena afternoons. The on-site Alma Restaurant is one of the city's best, and fresh fruit is served daily in your room. 

  • Where: Calle de la Universidad No. 36–44, Centro Histórico, Cartagena, Colombia
  • Contact: (+51) 05-6810000; www.hotelcasasanagustin.com
  • Cost: High-End

Hotel Quadrifolio

A room at the colon Hotel Quadrifolio

One of the most beautiful mansions in Cartagena was converted into a hotel from virtual ruins over 10 years ago. What makes this historic gem different to its peers is space; with only eight rooms, much of the interior is devoted to public areas, such as the living room-like reception area, library, large pool and Jacuzzi terrace, two patios, and an open dining room. The theme is colonial (the building was constructed in the 1700s), but the period decor is enhanced with ornaments and antiques from Chile, Brazil and the Middle East — no one room is alike.

  • Where: Calle del Cuartel (Cra. 5) No. 36-118, Centro Histórico, Cartagena, Colombia
  • Contact: (+57) 05-664 6053; www.hotelquadrifolio.com
  • Cost: High-End

Map

Map of Where to Stay in Cartagena - The Best Boutique Hotels
Map of Where to Stay in Cartagena - The Best Boutique Hotels