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“Racist Policy and Attitude” 1 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 #9 of 117 Hotels in Cartagena
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Racist Policy and Attitude”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

Please do not stay at this hotel.

I am a British Indian female in her 40s who has had severe racist treatment by the hotel in 2008/9 and 20013 when on holiday. The management has an indifferent reaction when I complained about my treatment.

On each occasion as I entered the hotel the security guards would stop me and ask me if I was staying in the hotel. I don't speak Spanish so my responses would be in English. Despite being we dressed and spoken (I look like an indigenous Indian), I was treated with immense rudeness and disrespect and told that I could not enter the premises (I was staying in an another hotel close by but wanted to do some shopping and dining). I insisted on speaking with reception who denied that I was being singled out and that they operated an open door policy. I indicated that on each occasion that I had entered the premises I had been detained and no other individuals (including 2 white British friends) had been stopped. The manner in which I had been spoken to by the security and bell boy staff was rude and aggressive.

I insisted on speaking to the general manager after speaking to an ambivalent assistant manager. I had to chase the general manager for a meeting such was the lack of interest in resolving the racist door policy. The manager insisted that there was no racist policy but when I pointed out my several experiences in 2008/09 and 2013 and the fact I could confirm that no white people/friends entering the premises had been detained, he denied that there was racism and everybody should have been stopped as per the security policy.

I have travelled to 90 countries and stayed in numerous hotels but I have never faced ongoing racism apart from this one hotel on a frequent basis. I will be writing to the company to outline my experience. I would suggest that if you are going to stay in Cartagena you boycott this dreadful hotel and stay in one of the gorgeous boutique hotels in the San Diego area which are sublime and know how to treat clients, irrespective of their colour, race, nationality or gender, with due respect and courtesy.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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834 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (119)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

This was my first time visiting Cartagena and it won't be my last! Staying at the Sofitel Santa Clara undoubtedly made my visit over the top. Not only is the beauty of the property outstanding but the friendliness and service of the entire staff was exceptional! From the moment I arrived and throughout my stay I felt completely welcomed and at ease. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. I was there to attend a surprise birthday celebration which was planned with the assistance of Gustavo Castilla, the head butler of Sofitel Santa Clara. I cannot say enough about his professionalism and perfectly detailed planning! The surprise party went off without a single glitch and could have never happened without his assistance. He kept himself always available to me and even came into work on his night off to make sure the party was a success! I'd also like to make note of the tremendous help given to me by Marco Antonio, the Bell Captain of the Sofitel. He always made himself accessible, whether giving directions or arranging for a taxi or just checking up on my stay. I have to say the entire staff was a delight. The restaurants on the property were amazing, each one unique in style and flavors! This stay was like no other...it truly was an experience I will remember forever and I know for a fact I'll be returning to the Sofitel Santa Clara again!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern NJ
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

The Sofitel Santa Clara was an absolute delight! This is the kind of property that one would normally associate with one of the "Ultra deluxe" brands - and it changed my perception of the Sofitel brand for the better.

We stayed in one of the duplex junior suites surrounding the old courtyard. The room was a magnificent architectural accomplishment, beautifully blending the old property with ultra contemporary steel, glass, and lighting. A huge sitting area downstairs, with its own half bathroom. The sleeping area and master bath was upstairs in a loft, and was extraordinarily quiet and comfortable. The only problem was that the A/C blows directly onto the bed - but we worked around that by shutting it down for the night.

The service was top notch - our room came with a butler that provided any assistance we needed.

Nice pool area with comfortable lounge chairs and poolside service.

Excellent food and beverage quality and service.

Did I mention that I *love* this property??

Room Tip: Splurge for a junior suite!
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  • Stayed February 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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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2013

We spent 5 nights in Cartagena, 2 nights at Casa Claver Loft Boutique Hotel and 3 nights at the Sofitel Santa Clara hotel. After a colleague had visited Cartagena recently and waxed lyrical about the Santa Clara (albeit he didn't stay there), we decided to spend a few nights here.

The building and courtyard of the hotel, built into a former monastery dating back to 1621, are beautiful beyond words. In a city steeped in romance and old-world charm, the Santa Clara has each of those in abundance, and I can't think of many places I've visited across every continent that surpass it in this regard. The lush tropical courtyard garden surrounded by the arched deep pastel orange walls is so atmospheric both day and night that it has an almost tranquilising effect which is hard to draw yourself away from. We had lunch there before checking out, and we had to drag ourselves away from it with heavy reluctance.

The large pool area is a haven of tranquility from the heat of the city outside, and once perched on a sun lounger or cooling off in the pool, it was equally difficult to drag yourself away other than to order another fresh fruit juice or cocktail from the poolside bar.

The reception and concierge staff were generally courteous and helpful, if at times a little bit stiff - though my opinion might be clouded by the very personalised service I received at smaller boutique hotels I stayed at in Colombia.

The only slight downside was the room, which was quite dated and uninspiring. Whilst we were on the 4th floor and had a balcony overlooking the pool area and a slight view of the sea beyond, the room itself and the bathroom could definitely do with updating. It was quite plain and bland, and was at complete odds with the charm and beauty of the hotel otherwise. The Santa Clara is not cheap - even with a 3 nights for the price of 2 package - and I expected much more than a 3.5* room for 5* prices. Reading some other reviews, it might be that our room was more an exception than the rule, but I also noted other reviews which similarly remarked about certain rooms being quite ordinary.

Nonetheless, we still had a thoroughly good time at this uniquely charming and beautiful property, and would recommend to anyone visiting Cartagena to have a splurge on staying at the Santa Clara or at the very least a couple of drinks or a meal. There is a palpably magical feel about the hotel which words cannot do justice to.

Room Tip: Higher floors (4th and 5th) offer the best views of the pool and sea.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cockeysville, Maryland, USA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

The walled-city of Cartagena was filled with light, color and the settings from Garcia-Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera, and the staff at the Sofitel Santa Clara helped my wife and I enjoy both the city and our time at the hotel. The concierges were extremely helpful with daily walking tours and reservations at fine restaurants. Coming back to the hotel after long hours of exploration and then being able to use the beautiful pool while sipping a virgin pina colada was heaven. The staff was terrific all the way around, from housekeeping to dining room staff. Be sure to have a meal at La Vitrola or Don Juan, or, if you want to splurge, 1621 at the hotel. The Toucan and the Botero statue in the garden were the final sweet touches.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Intercourse, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013 via mobile

And I've been to a lot of hotels. Stayed in a suite, it was a fantastic loft that was chic and comfortable. The staff was charming and very personal. I enjoyed the drinks at the bar, and the surrounding location. This is a high end hotel, and well worth the visit. I ended up not doing a lot of what I had originally planned for Cartagena because it was so hard to leave this hotel.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 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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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 On the Beach Hotel in Cartagena
#1 Family Hotel in Cartagena
#1 Business Hotel in Cartagena
#3 Spa Hotel in Cartagena
#4 Romantic Hotel in Cartagena
#5 Luxury Hotel in Cartagena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sofitel Legend Santa Clara 5*
Number of rooms: 46
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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