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“Extraordinary staff, gorgeous property, awful management” 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 39-29 | Barrio San Diego, Cartagena, Colombia   |  
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Ranked #5 of 124 Hotels in Cartagena
Los Angeles, California, USA
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Extraordinary staff, gorgeous property, awful management”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2013 via mobile

The property is beyond beautiful. There was some construction and some other hiccups which the management handled very poorly.

However, Carmello from the staff, Carlos from the concierge and Luz from Guest Relations made sure that our stay was extraordinary despite the hiccups. I am very grateful for their grace and creativity in making sure we had a five-star experience. They are the ones who should really be managing that hotel.

The manager on the other hand had no people skills and was a miserable person who made us very angry and almost turned us off from the Sofitel entirely.

My recommendation is that if you do visit this property, stay close to the staff and as far away from the upper management as possible.

In addition, the pool and 1621 restaurant are exquisite. Probably the nicest in the city and very safe as there were at least 5 armed officers at all times.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 4 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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1,056 reviews from our community

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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
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Toronto
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2013 via mobile

This hotel is an amazing place, at any time during the year. With staff who is extememely attentive, and there to help you for your need. The room was impeccable , clean , with water beside your bed every day, and very modern. The dinning room at breakfast time, provide you with either a buffet service, or a la cart. The pool is beautiful, with a very attentive staff. The spa, is a dream, with a very professional staff who take very well care of you ( probably one of the best). There is also a bar with music which one can releax at the end of the day. The dinner Resturant is among one of the best you will ever find anywhere.

Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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SantaClaraCartagena, Guest Relations Manager at Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, responded to this review, August 23, 2013
Dear MidnightParis8,

Thank you very much for taking the time to review the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara. It is a pleasure for us to receive a positive feedback.

I will share your comments with all our staff and I am sure that they will be happy and that it will be an encouragement for all.

We will be more than happy to welcome you again in your next visit to Cartagena.

Sincerely,

Andrea González M.
Guest Relations Manager
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2013

Introduction:

After a recommendation from a work colleague, I thought I'd check out the five star Sofitel Santa Clara, in Cartagena Colombia and with its stunning old town location I was not let down at all.

Location and Impressions:

After being picked up in style by a hotel organised Mercedes, within ten minutes I was at the entrance of the Sofitel, a stunning building dating back to 1621 and located inside the old town walls.

The entrance to the hotel is something else - and you are immediately hit with the beauty of it as you walk into the lobby.

Check in was a breeze thanks to Luz from Guest Services who assisted me within the process, and despite my midday arrival, my room was ready to go.

I was personally escorted by Luz and with my bags in tow with the porter the welcome to the hotel was efficient, warm and appreciated.

The Room:

I had been booked into a King Bed Seaview room located in the 5th and top floor of the building and I was not let down.

Modern in appearance, and well furnished with a King Bed, a good size TV, a lounge chair, and desk for work or otherwise and much more.

What struck me was not only the quality of the furnishings, but the clear efforts the hotel makes to ensure its guests feel welcome, most notable some aftershave on my desk as a gift, personalised welcome guest cards and more.

The balcony was large, with a sweeping view of the Caribbean Sea and the pool below.

Some sweets were also already in my room, and were topped up throughout the my stay as well.

Importantly the room was well air conditioned, and did not need to be adjusted, and was always a welcome respite each time I walked back in, from the hot Caribbean sun.

The bathroom was well appointed also, with upmarket amenties, and a rainwater shower.

A pillow menu is also provided, and the room comes with a butler if required.

What I really appreciated about the room were the little things as well such as nightly chocolates brought each night as well.


Eat:

The hotel provides two restaurants, as well as a few bars and 24 hour room service.

I dined at the hotel twice, at the restaurant El Claustro, where I had a two course dinner on the first night.

El Claustro is a more casual affair than its counterpart 1621, but nevertheless it was an enjoyable meal, with the fish and chips well presented, and tasty, with a delicous creme brulee to follow.

I did give the room service a go for desert on one night, with the Chocolate fondant impeccably presented and delivered promptly, and a taste to die for as well. Top marks here.

Breakfast is a buffet affair, and served at El Claustro. Was a little underwhelmed in truth by the breakfast, and for the price I felt things need to be improved here on the quality of the food front especially.

Was glad to be given a recommendation by one of the concierges there.

Service:

Impeccable. From the welcome, to the assistance of the concierge staff, it made my stay all the more enjoyable. From arranging transfers, day tours and more the staff are welcoming, knowledgeable and above all delighted to help.

Relaxtion and other services:

Naturally in such a hot environment a decent pool is a must, and the hotel pool proved a popular option during my visit.

Beach towels are provided by the staff, with sunbeds available for tanning ,relaxation and more, and with drinks and some light bites available to order from the nearby bar it was the perfect spot to unwind.

A Spa is provided which I did not partake in, and likewise a jacuzzi is also available too.

A functional Business Center is available for those who need it also.

Connectivity:

Wifi was free and available throughout the hotel. In general it worked well in my room, but with some drop outs this could be improved.

Summary:

The Sofitel Santa Clara is a classy hotel with an unbeatable location. I am definitely looking forward to my return next year.

Room Tip: Go for a seaview room, 5th floor ideal!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SantaClaraCartagena, Guest Relations Manager at Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, responded to this review, August 23, 2013
Dear Sooter25,

It is a real honor to read your review of the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara. We deeply appreciate you took the time to share with us your impressions about our services and facilities.
I will share your comments with our team, especially with Luz and Concierge. I am sure that this feedback will serve as an encouragement to all of our staff as we strive to continuously improve the quality of our services.
At Sofitel, we strive to provide a superior service experience for every customer; therefore your feedback is very important to us. I will also share your constructive recommendations about the breakfast with our Executive Chef and I am sure that she will also find your comments very helpful.
Thank you again for sharing your experience, and we hope your next visit will be as pleasant as the previous one.

Sincerely,

Andrea Gonzalez M.
Guest Relations Manager
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

An ideal location in the heart of the old town, this hotel was a big disappointment. In the middle of the high season the hotel was under renovation! One couldn't get away from the noise - my room reverbated with the drilling, there was incessant hammering near the swimming pool, as well as in the dining courtyard. There was no indication of a renovation when we booked and checked in. A small card placed in the room advised of a few ongoing renos, from 10 am to 7 pm daily. Our deluxe rooms overlooked a very busy square and the noise continued late into the night. I wouldn't recommend or return to this accommodation.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
SantaClaraCartagena, Guest Relations Manager at Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, responded to this review, August 23, 2013
Dear Gai W,

Thank you for taking the time to share with us your experience in the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara. We are very sorry that your experience did not meet all your expectations; please allow us to express our sincerest apologies.

At Sofitel, we strive to provide a superior service experience for every customer; therefore your feedback is very important to us. We sincerely regret that our efforts to maintain our historic monument caused you some disturbance during your stay.
Please rest assured that we will take the appropriate measures to address the problem and prevent future occurrence.

We hope you accept our apologies and that you will give us the opportunity to better serve you in the near future.

Sincerely,

Andrea Gonzalez M.
Guest Relations Manager
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara
Report response as inappropriate
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New York City, New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013

A beautiful colonial cloister that makes you dream of times past.

Sadly, the hotel needs a lift. The bathrooms are dated, the faucets don't work properly, mildew is visible, toilets don't flush energetically and the vents of the air conditioners have been painted over way too many times.

The hotel had its glory when it first opened about 18 years ago. The setting is glorious and the staff is sweet, but the vibe isn't. Too many kids yelling in the pool have turned the hotel from being an idyllic couples' getaway and into a somewhat run-down thing of the past. The massages at the spa are superb, but in general the hotel fails to deliver what it is supposed to.

Come on Sofitel, with the rates you're charging, you can do better than this!

Room Tip: Make sure you're placed at least on the third floor, but hopefully above. Otherwise you'll b...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
SantaClaraCartagena, Guest Relations Manager at Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, responded to this review, August 23, 2013
Worldwide2013,

We appreciate your comments about your stay at Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, your feedback is very important to us.
We are very sorry that your experience did not meet all your expectations; please allow us to express our apologies.

We are pleased to inform you that we are in a continuous program to lift rooms and other areas of the hotel in order to maintain our 17th century monument. Actually we have a few of our rooms and our restaurant completely renovated.

Thank you for taking the time to review our services and facilities and we hope to have the opportunity to welcome you again.

Sincerely,

Andrea Gonzalez M.
Guest Relations Manager
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

This hotel is a remodelled monestery from the 17th century. They did such an amazing job! The walls are all conserved and the court is so elegant yet cozy.
Check out their business centre and read the book of the hotel's history. Look at the pictures before and after.

The staff is very professional. The pool is amazing. The fitness centre is good.

If you want to go to the beach do not go to Cartagena. Even Bocagrande which supposed to be a "beach" resembles a dump.

Sofitel is such a good experience I had never had before, thank you for all teh staff for working so professionally there and the architects to preserve this unique, historic building.

A bit expensive for us....

Room Tip: ask for an oceanview room
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
SantaClaraCartagena, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, responded to this review, August 6, 2013
Dear chubchub2013,

Thank you very much for your positive review about the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara. It is always a pleasure for us to receive a feedback from our guests.
I will share your comments with our team and I am sure that they will be as happy as me to know that your experience with us was pleasant.

Thank you again for sharing your experience, and we hope to have the opportunity to welcome you again in the near future.

Best regards,

Andrea González M
Guest Relations Manager
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

Great staff and service, very clean, excellent location (inside the city walls). We stayed there for 5 days, we had a great time. Our daughter had a blast swimming in the pool, watching the permanent resident while we had breakfast (a tucan called Mateo).
The drinks and food excellent but most import the courteous service.
We learned there that there are a lot of time share type of rooms and I was told that you can get them for a fraction of what you pay to the hotel if you contact the owners directly.
The hotel is under a demodulation so do yourself a favor asking for a room on the far end.
I would definitely go back.

Room Tip: Far away from the construction
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
SantaClaraCartagena, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, responded to this review, August 9, 2013
Dear Itravel4W0rk,

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience at the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara. It is always a pleasure to receive positive feedback.
I will share your comments with our team. I am sure that this feedback will serve as an encouragement to all of our staff.
Thank you again for sharing your experience, and we hope to have the pleasure to welcome you and your family again in your next visit to Cartagena.

Best regrads,

Andrea Gonzalez M.
Guest Relations Manager
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sofitel Legend Santa Clara

Address: Calle Del Torno 39-29 | Barrio San Diego, Cartagena, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Cartagena
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Cartagena
#3 Spa Hotel in Cartagena
#4 Family 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: 124
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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