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“A wonderful place to experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sofitel Legend Santa Clara

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Sofitel Legend Santa Clara
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Calle del Torno 38-29 | Barrio San Diego, Cartagena, Colombia   |  
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Ranked #7 of 117 hotels in Cartagena
Salem, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“A wonderful place to experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

My husband and I recently returned from a 5-night stay at the Sofitel Santa Clara and cannot recommend it enough. We are avid travelers and have stayed at many high end properties throughout the world and this was one of, if not THE, best in terms of service and ambiance. I worked with concierge Leslie Gomez prior to our arrival on several tour and restaurant reservations and everything was done flawlessly. The hotel is a restored convent dating back to 1621 and they have done a great job of maintaining much of the original feel to the common areas. We had booked a room on the fifth floor which offers butler service which was a fabulous service. We've stayed in other properties with butlers, but never felt they were really an added value. At the Sofitel, this was quite different. The butlers were all outgoing and very invested in the guests having a great experience. They were often one step ahead of us in planning out our days in terms of timing and logistics. Given our early morning flights on the day of departure, they even arranged for a lovely breakfast tray to be delivered free of charge so we wouldn't be leaving with empty stomachs! The food at the hotel was very good as well although we usually skipped the wonderful breakfast buffet to experience some of the street food in the plaza outside the hotel. Room service came almost comically quickly and was very tasty - the meatball pizza was one of the best we've ever had!

The sleeping rooms were spacious, clean and well-appointed, but perhaps just a touch less lavish than you might expect given the rest of the property. This is not an inexpensive place to stay, but you are really paying for an entire experience rather than a place to lay your head. Highly recommended!

Room Tip: Pay extra for a room on the fifth floor with a butler - they are awesome!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    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 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (114)
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English first
New York
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

My wife and I stayed a full week at the Cartagena Santa Clara. This is a world class hotel - refined, with aesthetic touches at every turn, and warm, dedicated professional service. The calm ambience creates an atmosphere that is relaxed and enjoyable for guests of all ages. The beautiful courtyards, pool, and decks overlooking the sea provide settings to enjoy the warm weather and blue skies, while staying in the heart of a city that pulsates with life. The bar, El Coro, is situated in the oldest part of the hotel, and offers top quality jazz and latin music most nights.
You can't rightfully review the hotel without a bow to its fabulous host city Cartagena. Less than 5 hours by air from NYC, the spotless colonial city offers charm, romance, music, art, and outstanding cuisine in dozens of fine restaurants. While focusing your time in the old walled city, you cannot help but absorb the energy from the modern, dynamic urban neighborhoods and port that have grown around the ancient colonial city. The hotel also offers a great excursion by boat to one of the Caribbean islands off the Colombian coast.
The only drawback at the hotel is the food at dinner or lunch. But this is easily remedied by simply stepping outside and leisurely walking to Restaurants Cuzco or Cande or another fine choice for a meal that could be one of the finest you've ever had.
So take the plunge to Cartagena Colombia and use the Santa Clara as your base for a vacation that will thrill and relax you.

Room Tip: 4th floor, and request room with both pool and sea views.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

Just returned from a stay on the 5th Floor stay. Cesar served as my "butler."

The best location in Old Town. Staff is incredibly helpful.

Cartagena is a magical place, and a stay at the Sofitel only adds to the magic.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Denver, Colorado
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013 via mobile

This is one of the nicer places to stay in the walled city. Entirely walkable to anywhere in be city. The service is top notch. If you like a steam room, then you are in luck, as the one at this hotel has the hottest one I've experienced. Overall a fantastic stay. The only negative thing I can say is that the jacuzzi was not hot. It wasn't even warm. It was cold.

The suite we got is the best in the hotel- the only one with an ocean view balcony. Here's a tip: ask for room 301.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Dublin, Ireland
Top Contributor
222 reviews 222 reviews
222 hotel reviews
Reviews in 162 cities Reviews in 162 cities
243 helpful votes 243 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

The Santa Clara is well located in the San Diego sector of old Cartagena, which is the quieter part of the town. The transformation from convent to resort hotel is reasonably successful but we thought the foliage in the cloister area excessive and the inevitable constraints result in a relatively small and fairly ‘ordinary’ pool area.

Our ‘standard’ ground level room had no view and was a ‘compact’ four star offering with a small bathroom and small tub. It was adequately furnished but no more and in need of refurbishment in places. Bath towels and wine glasses were out of reach for short people. There was no feeling of the ‘luxury’ we expected for $525 a night.

While the physical infrastructure was no more than four star, staff performance was better than that and we thought the concierge desk especially friendly and helpful.

Breakfast was an unexciting buffet, with eggs cooked to order. There were some odd omissions - e.g. nothing a European would regard as natural yoghurt and no marmalade. We took lunch twice and dinner once in the brasserie-type restaurant - ok but not memorable. We did not eat in the fine dining 1672 venue, as we hadn’t come to Colombia for French cuisine.

Overall, this hotel did not meet the expectations created by its price and by Sofitel’s *****L ranking. This was our first Caribbean hotel experience, so we can’t compare it with local alternatives. But we thought it would need to up its game considerably to compete in the European or Asian luxury market.

Tip - the nearby Donjuan restaurant is excellent, combining really good food and service.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santiago, Region Metropolitana, Chile
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

Sitting right by the old city wall in Cartagena, the Sofitel lives up to its press. The center garden is part of an old monastery and is a tropical paradise. The male resident toucan, Mateo, has staked this out as his territory and amused us daily as he foraged in cabinets and broke dishes used for the dining tables that line this area for breakfast and dinner. The female toucan, Clarita, shrewdly stakes out the pool area (better for foraging food!). We spent most mornings out exploring the city, and afternoons cooling off by the pool. Clarita became great friends with us, sitting with us on our lounger and stealing bits of sushi. The room, overlooking the pool on one side and Gabriel Garcia Marques's house on the other, was very large and comfortable. The bathroom was a bit small, but not even worth a complaint. And, in a city where we found it hard to find a bad meal, the food at the restaurant 1621 was fabulous. Served at night on and around the center garden, it was truly a magical experience. Be sure to get a drink in the bar and see the chandeliers! Quite spectacular!

Room Tip: Higher rooms get a bit more sea breeze if you want to enjoy the balcony.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Boulder, CO
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
74 helpful votes 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

This is hands down the nicest hotel in Cartagena, at least as far as we could see. It is MUCH nicer than we expected from a Sofitel. The hotel is a restored monastery, with a modern add on. It has a beautiful central courtyard where you can eat breakfast with the friendly resident Toucan, a nice pool, and beautiful rooms. We stayed in a two level suite on the fifth floor, and it was fantastic. A really beautiful spot with lovely view and incredibly well appointed. Overall, this is a first rate hotel as compared to any we have stayed in anywhere. Only drawback to report was a small exercise room.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sofitel Legend Santa Clara

Address: Calle del Torno 38-29 | Barrio San Diego, Cartagena, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Cartagena
#1 Family Hotel in Cartagena
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Cartagena
#3 Spa Hotel in Cartagena
#3 Romantic Hotel in Cartagena
#5 Luxury Hotel in Cartagena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sofitel Legend Santa Clara 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Originally built as a convent in 1621, the Sofitel Santa Clara is a legendary landmark in the heart of Cartagena's walled city. Transformed into a luxury hotel in 1995, the Sofitel Santa Clara, unique in style, combines the allure of history with local hospitality and the art of French savoir-faire. Mixing Colonial and Republican-style architecture with modern comfort, the hotel features gourmet cuisine, exceptional service, a world-class spa, meeting facilities and state of the art technology for events, conventions and weddings. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sofitel Santa Clara Hotel Cartagena
Sofitel Hotel Santa Clara
Sofitel Cartagena
Cartagena Sofitel

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