A visit to such a lovely place should be split in two: a few days away for the start, and a few other in the hussle-and-bussle of the city! It's a wonderful choice to start your stay in such an elegant and exclusive place like Karmairi!
Taxi from the airport costs 40,000 Colombian pesos (don't pay any more cent!) and the 20min ride is most pleasant, one sees how detached the place is from the city, which can be reached three times a day by complimentary transfer from the hotel!
The main difference between a five-star and a boutique hotel is the exclusiveness, the fact that one is expected and unique and is going to have their most wishes taken care of, in a classy and refined atmosphere - that's why boutique hotels are more expensive and one not only expects but above all counts on the high amount paid being returned in full in those elements of exclusiveness! I'm afraid that wasn't always the case at Karmairi!
Check-in took much longer than necessary, for our reservation couldn't be found: where was the folder with our reservation and everything else connected to it waiting for us that any five-hotel would have, so as to speed up checkin and make the new guest feel welcome???
The welcome drink is most refreshing, Cartagena has average of 26º and may reach 40º in the summer! It wasn't exactly 'refreshing', though, to see it being charged for at check-out, not at all nice!
One should be very careful when booking rooms through Booking.com, for its categories and the hotels' do not match! It took us all a while to idetify the kind of room we paid for and the one allocated to us! I believe both parts must get in touch with each other and unifiy the terminology.
There are no rooms with twin beds, which means two friends must share a bed. Also, all mattresses are soft and I had to sleep on the floor! Housekeeping, though, was most kind and prompt in providing me with all means for that!
Rooms are excellent, elegant, with everything one needs; amenities are of great taste and high class! Plug adaptors are not provided, you should bring yours, which to me is another flop of the hotel!
A bottle of water sits on top of the fridge and another one can be found in it, they are both refilled along the day and/or every day! No other qualification than ridiculously greedy can explain why such an expensive place chooses to charge for water - another bad surprise when checking out!
Location is prime, the empty beach of Manzanillo belongs to the guests, so to speak, one can go for walks along the day and stretch out on the beds (sic) close to the water!
The infra-structure of the place is most welcoming, airy, spacious; staff is always welcoming and smily and ready to please, which is the main asset of Colombia as a nation!
Breakfast is interesting, it seems standard not offer a buffet but a fixed menu. One can see the point of avoiding waste and overeating (mostly by Americans, as pointed out!), as well as the charm and sense of serving!
Food is simply exquisit, of most refined taste, rich and concise - no wonder people drive 15km from Cartagena to dine there, simply amazing! Nevertheless, portions are really very small indeed, which must be te concept of the Peruvian chef. Personally, I believe the chef should be, like in most elegant restaurants elsewhere, aware of the fact that portions should be slightly more generous when the guest isn't ordering a starter! Comparing prices of similar restaurants in Europe, it's a major gain in taste to eat at Karmairi! But honestly-speaking, bring some snacks with you, or else you'll starve, unless their policy of tiny portions is changed!
Do allow yourself extra time and patience for the check-out process! The description is unexplicably complicated, which simply corroborates the many complaints here that a lot is added to the final bill that wasn't actually consumed/requested! The terminology used, the confusing different taxes (8% on food and 16% on accommodation), the display, nothing helps and one does leave the place with a feeling of being conned somehow - that is not nice!
Whenever leaving a five-star hotel elsewhere, guests are offered a treat, a small gift or souvenier, to keep e sweet memory of a (hopefully) pleasant stay. I was most disappointed that Karmairi didn't seem to care in that regard!
Anyway, the choice is after all a very good one, especially for those in need of an escape into the peace and quiet and reserved! One doesn't at all feel, though, their money fully returns in concrete terms while there, on the very contrary! Karmairi must learn that exclusive guests expect to pay some more AND/IN ORDER TO get a lot in return - once management realises that and that small, generous attitudes, with minor imapct on their budget and a huge one in the satisfaction of the guests, they'd be on the way to be a perfect boutique hotel!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Using our main resource, water, Karmairi Spa show a comfortable space full of relaxation and healthiness, where our guests can find themselves and enjoy Cartagena. Come and enjoy our private beach and all the spaces that Karmairi Hotel Spa has for you. Enjoy the Caribbean in Colombia with us! ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Karmairi Hotel Cartagena