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“Three star, not third best.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Book Hotel

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The Book Hotel
3.5 of 5 Boutique Hotel   |   Carrera 5 # 57-79 | Chapinero Alto, Bogota 11001, Colombia (Formerly Hotel Boutique Alma)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #54 of 244 Hotels in Bogota
Certificate of Excellence
College Park, Georgia
Level Contributor
159 reviews
96 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 512 helpful votes
“Three star, not third best.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2011

Given my experience at Hotel Boutique Alma, and the condition of the property I visited last week, I am baffled by the high ratings other TripAdvisor reviewers have gifted this pleasant, though flawed, hotel. In my opinion, this is not the third best hotel in Bogota--not by a longshot.

The Alma is the former Hotel BH LaSalle, which is a fact that is largely omitted in other reviews of this property. I mention it because the evidence of its former affiliation (BH is a small Colombian hotel group) is unavoidable at this hotel. The shower curtain, the towels, the hallway floor map on the back of the room’s door, even some of the hallway art work, is emblazoned with the old logo. In other places in the hotel, the newer Alma logo has just been plastered over the glass plates engraved with the BH identification, and not all that well, at that. Hotels, of course, reflag and rebrand all the time, so there is nothing inherently wrong with a particular property having a different identification in its history. What is telling, however, is that the rebranding was done on the cheap, rather slapdash, and notably half-heartedly. And that summarizes the hotel as aptly as its re-identification efforts. . .

The building (which coincidentally, shares the same intersection as The Plaza in New York--58th and 5th) appears to be an old large house in a quiet-ish residential neighborhood called Chapinero Alto, near University LaSalle, and just two blocks off Carrera 7, a major avenue. Chapinero, a student/gay/bar/commercial area, is just down the hill from the hotel, while considerably tonier neighborhoods, like Zona G, start about 10 blocks to the north. The TransMilenio, Bogota’s very handy bus-rapid transit system, is about a 15 minute walk.

I booked a Junior Suite Elegant, and was taken to room 203. Junior Suite Elegant is the Pineapple of room types--as it was neither a junior suite, nor particularly elegant. It was a moderate sized standard guest room with a queen bed and a couch that was as unattractive as it was uncomfortable. The lighting was poor, which was an asset in obscuring that the carpet was not vacuumed anytime recently. (Carpet was a challenge throughout the hotel--the rugs in the hallway are stained, and the room carpet never seemed vacuumed, either room, over three nights’ stay. As well, even the installation was poor. . .seams showing, ill fitting, and not very clean).

The bed has a great fluffy duvet on it, as some reviews note. However this lovely, white duvet sits atop a brick of a mattress, that is merely swaddled in a sheet. . .not even a mattress pad to protect the guest from the slab that awaits. While I am a fan of hotel energy conservation efforts, the insert-the-key-to-get-AC-and-lights device never excited me much. In this instance, this particular device is an exciting triumph of poor engineering, as the shuts down every outlet. As a result, even the clock radio has its electricity turned off when you leave the room and take your key. The clock flashed 12:00 throughout my stay.

The bathroom is a modern black slate and mirror affair, with a shower only unit centered on a rainshower head. Water pressure is good. Amenities are lackluster, but worse, the little bottles are capped with corks, and it appears that the bottles are refilled by management than replaced between guests--a practice of dubious hygiene.

My time in this particular room was to be short. As I was retiring for the night the first evening, the entire blackout shade assembly came crashing off the wall. Since it was late, only the auditor was at the front desk. I slept in the room, no blackout drapes, and moved the next morning. There was some street noise. . .bring earplugs.

Breakfast is a made to order, full-on, meal. . .eggs, toast, fruit, coffee, juice. The enthusiasm with which it was served was notably varied. . .one morning, the server could serve me enough food, the next, a different server nearly couldn’t be bothered. Food was tasty and served hot. In nicer weather, there is an outside patio.

I was moved from 203 to 302 to remedy my unvacuumed, now broken room. This near-palindromic solution took me to what the hotel called the Royal Suite. . .still not a suite (note to hotels: a junior suite has a full seating area, a suite has a full seating area in another room--a mere couch or 7 additional square feet of floor area doesn’t constitute a suite of any kind.), but with a king bed, that same awful couch in a different color, and a slightly larger bathroom. Also, since this room was on the top floor, the beams and rafters made for a nice ceiling. Neither the stairway carpet nor the third floor room carpet appeared to have encountered a vacuum for days. And if this hotel has an elevator, I never saw it. (Was fine with the walk up, but am not sure such a set up would work for a wheelchair user).

When selecting a hotel, I opted for the most affordable, most highly rated hotel from the Trip Advisor list. It is interesting that I also stayed at Hotel Casa Deco, rated #4 here, during this visit. Casa Deco (and that review follows) isn’t perfect, but the staff is amazing, and there are enough nice touches that I fully understand the high marks with which TripAdvisor contributors have honored that small La Candelaria hotel. Hotel Boutique Alma’s staff was pleasant and helpful enough, but there was nothing approaching the next level of service I’d imagine a hotel with this high a review should possess. And the physical and housekeeping issues here are a real flaw. If you are expecting third highest rated hotel in Bogota, you will be gravely disappointed. If you, instead, expect a pleasant three star hotel--this mid-$100s a night property can be a nice, well located stay.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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175 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    117
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Ridgewood, New York
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2011

My boyfriend and I stayed in the Hotel for 4 nights and truly enjoyed every moment. The breakfast was so good and always served with a smile. It was a great way to start your day! Our room, although small, was super clean and had one of the best beds I ever slept in. The bathroom was spotless and we loved the shower. Huge with great water pressure and big enough for two. The front desk staff was excellent. Always super friendly and extremely helpful. I had a WI-fi problem and they came right away and fixed the problem for me. Enjoyed having super fast internet connection in my room. One of our favorite parts of the hotel was the outside dining tables. Felt great to relax and enjoy the Bogota night. The hotel was also very close to lots of activities and we always felt safe when we returned at night. I would highly recommend the Hotel and when I go back to Bogota, I am staying there again!!!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
27 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2011

We had the pleasure of staying at the Alma de Bogota for four nights in August. It is located in a very safe neighborhood a bit outside of the action in Bogota (but really only a short cab ride away). Our room (which was in the least expensive category) was modern and very clean. I suppose it was maybe on the small side, but we were not bothered at all by this. The fast and free wifi definitely made up for it! Breakfast was included which was delicious. The service is very friendly and attentive. I have no reservations about recommending this hotel 100%. The hotel staff are a great group of people and I really hope the hotel continues to thrive!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2011

This is my favourite place to stay when I travel to Bogota. I have stayed for weeks and enjoy the charming atmosphere ,caring staff and unique character that exists at Hotel Boutique Alma.
Close to eateries and short taxi trips will get you to some very nice restaurants.
Safe neighbourhood
Wonderful place that is accepting of all people

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sao Luis, MA
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2011

Staff was ver friendly and helpfull, also, the location was very central between downtown and zona rosa.

The Room was comfortale and very clean. 100% worth it

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2011

This is an update from my first review back in February.
I really like this hotel. I have been to Bogota a number of times and always stay at the Alma if possible. The rooms are large by Bogota standards and are well appointed. Each room is different and has its own charm. The bathrooms are fairly large and the showers spacious enough for a 6+ foot man. The flatscreen TV and refrigerator in each room is also a nice touch. I very much appreciate that the rooms are always very, very clean.
The hotel has its own restaurant and the food has always been very good. It is nice to be able to come back to the hotel from a long day of activity and sit on the patio, relax, and have a good meal.
The hotel's location is very good, in my opinion. It is centrally located and a short and inexpensive cab ride to almost anywhere in Bogota. It is on a quiet street close to many restaurants and shopping. I have always felt very safe in this neighborhood.
Most importantly, the staff at the hotel is wonderful. Most of the staff speaks at least some English which is very helpful to me as my Spanish is not that great. The fine employees of the hotel have helped me numerous times with advice about Bogota, calling for deliveries of food or medicine, and even offering to help translate at a bank for me when one of my ATM cards wouldn't work. This is great customer service!
I have always felt that the room price at the Alma is very reasonable by Bogota standards. When considering the great service, nice rooms, central location, and good restaurant I believe this hotel is a bargain.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pinamar, Argentina
Level Contributor
35 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2011

We stayed for 2 nights, we thought it was in the pink area, but it was not, so there was little to do or see around the hotel. The checkin and checkout process was quite slow, there was a woman teaching a guy how to do it, so it took 3 times as much time as normal, and generated some uncertainty when arriving on whether we had the room available or not, and on leaving, if the account would be OK.
Aside from that, we took a room for us (couple, King Bed) that was too small, flat 32 inch TV, nice bathroom and great shower, amenities, and our sons got a huge room with two double beds and a couch (I mean . . .huge!). I called directly to hotel and got a good promo with a discount for taking 2 rooms (on the second one). Breakfast was OK (orange juice, fruits, omelet, toasts, butter, yogurt), but we where used to most hotels self service and it lacked variety. We took mostly cabs to downtown, visit the Gold Museum and the Botero museum, both a must. We stayed about 3 hours in each. At night, after 6/7 pm go to the pink quarter, it's fun, crowded, many restos and shops.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Book Hotel

Address: Carrera 5 # 57-79 | Chapinero Alto, Bogota 11001, Colombia (Formerly Hotel Boutique Alma)
Location: Colombia > Bogota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #54 of 244 Hotels in Bogota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Book Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
THE BOOK HOTEL, a different concept in the hotel sector that is born in an old Tudor style house, located in the area of Chapinero Alto in Bogota City. Perfect combination of the best European tradition and Colombian unmistakable flavor. The Book Hotel is also bookstore, coffe shop and restaurant bistrot with interesting dishes inspired by the best of the Colombian and Italian cuisine. ... more   less 
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