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“Charming, Comfortable Hotel with Outstanding Service” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Caribe

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Hotel Caribe
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Carrera 1 No. 2 - 87 | Bocagrande, Cartagena 1330, Colombia   |  
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Ranked #53 of 116 hotels in Cartagena
Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
166 helpful votes 166 helpful votes
“Charming, Comfortable Hotel with Outstanding Service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

The Hotel Caribe proved to be an extremely charming, comfortable, classic property. The information and comments below are shared following a nine day stay by our group of four couples at this traditional beautiful property, February 8 – 17.

* HOTEL PROPERTY – The Caribe was the first hotel built in Cartagena in 1941 and has become an icon for this city. Its colonial tower, arches, marble corridors, and large wooden windows are features of its architecture. This property, with a relaxing atmosphere, is impeccably maintained. The property has a stunning lobby, beautiful gardens and plantings, walking paths, a variety of sitting areas, an attractive pool area, and a variety of animals including two dwarf deer which freely roam, sloths, along with monkeys and parrots in a “mini zoo” on the grounds.

* LOCATION – The Hotel Caribe is about a ten minute cab ride from the airport. It has a superb location in Bocagrande, referred to as the “Miami Beach” of Cartagena by the locals. The length of beach can be walked by merely crossing the street. It is in an established, highly developed neighborhood, within walking distance to a variety of restaurants, shops, casinos, minimarkets, banks, etc. It is about a five minute inexpensive cab ride to Colonial Old Town. Cabs are abundant and readily available throughout Cartagena. Exploring charming Old Town, which is quite large, is a definite must.

* HOTEL AMENITIES – Hotel Caribe has a large appealing pool area with loungers, tables and chairs, and pool beds. There is also a children’s pool. The pool is extremely clean, and regularly maintained. An attractive lobby, lobby bar, a variety of restaurants, cocktail areas, gift shop, medico clinic, exercise room, games room, conference facilities, and playground for children supplement the property. The beach is directly across the malecon.
*Rooms – There is an older section to the hotel, along with newer buildings. Older rooms tend to be larger with more charm. Both older and newer rooms are more than adequate, impeccably cleaned and well maintained – comfortable and quiet for sleeping. Toiletries are replenished daily. There is a small bar fridge in each room – we found room to store some of our own waters/ soft drinks/ and cervezas. There tend to be no outside balconies. Rooms have Wi-Fi and the air conditioning worked great.

* BREAKFAST/RESTAURANTS – We opted for the breakfast buffet to be included in our room price. The breakfast buffet was everything we could have asked for and set us up for the day. Breakfast included a variety of well stocked fresh fruit – pineapple, watermelon, mango, guava, cantaloupe, strawberries, mini plums, and honeydew melon. There tended to be an alternating variety each day. There were two types of scrambled eggs, meats, rice/beans, a good selection of rolls/breads/muffins and specialty pastries, yogurts, cereals, milk, juices, with some added item each day such as pancakes. Hot Columbian coffee was liberally poured with excellent service throughout breakfast.

The main restaurant offered several themed buffets during our stay, along with pleasant entertainment out by the pool. We did enjoy one very good Italian buffet with fresh pasta cooked to order one evening, remaining on the property after a long day trip. The pool area was a great place for cocktail hour! “Mizlena”, our waitress each evening, was outstanding – she should be commended for her warmth and hospitality.

* BEACH - The large beach is directly across the malecon. Most properties here are built across the street from the beach, similar to the Caribe. A security guard will assist you in crossing the narrow roadway. There is a private beach area for hotel guests, if desired, with snack/cocktail bar, rest rooms and shaded sitting area. Sun screens and chairs are available on the beach for hotel guests. Large beach towels are obtained at the pool area and carried to the beach. It is a great beach for walking – the length can be walked in both directions in about 50 minutes. The level sand, brownish in color, is gentle on your feet, but can get hot! Yes, there are vendors everywhere selling their wares and services, especially women peddling massages, who wish to work on your shoulders and feet. This was new to us. They can be quite assertive. Bargaining is the norm, even for cold drinks delivered to your seats. (Ask for prices first.) A firm “no gracias” will do the trick if not interested. We enjoyed interacting with the vendors and most liked practicing their English. After several daily visits to the beach, some vendors would join us on the beach for updates and conversation. We received several warm hugs and goodbyes upon our departure.

* DAY TRIPS – Many ½ day and full day trips are readily available from this location including city tours, tours of Old Town, Boat trips to the Isles del Rosario and Playa Blanca, the carnival in Barranquilla, etc.

* SERVICE – Without a doubt, the service at the Hotel Caribe is outstanding. From the bellmen, housekeepers, receptionists at the front desk, concierge, pool attendants, waiters/waitresses, groundskeepers, maintenance staff, security workers, etc., service is impeccable, performed with welcoming words, warmth, and smiles. The people here are just wonderful. They made our stay!! My thanks to all with special recognition extended to “Mizlena”, restaurant/cocktail staff, and to “Pedro”, security staff, for their exceptional warmth. The Caribe is indeed a fine, service oriented property. Would love to make a return visit!

We found Cartagena to be very safe for tourists. There is a strong police presence. The Colombian people are an absolute pleasure to meet – extremely warm and welcoming. Some knowledge of Spanish is very helpful. We feel fortunate that we were able to visit this delightful, interesting, “city by the sea”.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Georgia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

The hotel has "old world" charm and has a great location, being just across the street from the beach and ocean. There is a separate gate for guests to leave and enter from the beach and this is manned by security whenever access to the beach is available.
The rooms are clean and ocean view is fantastic. Breakfast buffet is a feast!
The walled city is about 5 miles away but taxis are plentiful and cheap....less than $4.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

From arrival to departure, bell men were very helpful and diligent, there was a down side though, the staff has very basic english proficiency. Rooms are properly sized, and quiet, mattresses are of good quality, the environment at the hotel is relaxed, guests are in general quiet. Facilities are fancy, the location is perfect, very accesible, close to the chiva tour, nearby restaurantes, and the horse drawn cars station. Breakfast is good, delicious pandebonos, and a few option of fruits, strachs, etc, nothing you can complaint of, although, sometimes they offer meat, and the beef they used was chewy when I tried. another down side was, the last day there was no enough hot water to finish showering. Staff is in general friendly, reliable and helpful.

Room Tip: chose sea view above first floor.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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.
london
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013 via mobile

Our party had booked 2 rooms on a website. We arrived and we're told that 1 room was with breakfast and one was without, despite them both being booked together. The reception staff were unable to resolve the situation and just kept repeating that it was our problem not theirs! As it turned out not getting breakfast is a blessing as it is of poor quality meats and very limited.
Apart from this the pool is great and the rooms are very comfortable.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Medellin, Colombia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2013

This hotel was the first one ever build in Cartagena and it still has its Colombian escence on every arquitectural design. The rooms are pretty nice and the service is excellent including the breakfast. A 10 min taxi drive away from the Ancient City about the minimun fare of $5,000 COP. Located in Boca grande the good thing about this hotel is that if you want to enjoy the city and the beach this hotel has its own spot for their guests with security around.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

Of the 3 hotels I stayed in in Cartagena this was by far the worst. It's a faded glory hotel. The rooms were poor. I moved rooms when I got there. The first one was old fashioned, dark & had a bad smell. The second one was only a bit better. The pool area was busy, the beds on the beach were some way back from the beach. Stay somewhere more modern if you want the beach. Better actually to stay in the Old Town.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

Colombian 5 star means things that are extras in western high status hotels, like Internet, pool, gym, breakfast and room cleaning are not extra charges to be squeezed out of the guests like a leach.. Good large pool, good staff. Everything in it's place. Negotiate a deal at the hotel of you speak Spanish.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 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
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 Hotel Caribe

Address: Carrera 1 No. 2 - 87 | Bocagrande, Cartagena 1330, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#12 On the Beach Hotel in Cartagena
#19 Business Hotel in Cartagena
#19 Family Hotel in Cartagena
#22 Luxury Hotel in Cartagena
#43 Romantic Hotel in Cartagena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Caribe 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set outside the old city on the beaches of Bocagrande, Hotel Caribe, a certified ¨National Monument¨, was built in 1941 and still maintains its original five-story, 99-room Colonial structure. The resort has since added two modern buildings making it the largest hotel in Cartagena.It has 363 rooms with ocean or hotel garden-views (16 of which are wheel-chair-friendly), 4 restaurants, 10 conference rooms, a mini-zoo, tennis courts, a semi-Olympic – sized pool as well as one for the kids. The Caribe Hotel offers a first class service with lot facilities. The Caribe Hotel with three buildings and 363 rooms is considered one of the most traditional Hotel in the city, with an area of 35,000 m2 of exotic tropical trees and gardens, 5,000 being devoted to ample beaches and 30,000 to Hotel facilities. The majestic structure of the Hotel Caribe, surrounded by palms and exotic gardens, rises from the heart of Bocagrande. The Hotel has 363 rooms with different lodging options to make your stay an unforgettable experience, additional offers the finest recreational and sports facilities. We provide our guest an incredible variety of gastronomical possibilities, from the most sophisticated international cuisine to exquisite typical dishes and snacks. Our Guest may select the Catalina Restaurant, Oh Caribe bungalow, Punta Icacos garden and the pool area with a scenario for folklore reviews and theme parties. In regard to congresses, seminars, and conventions the Caribe possesses a magnificent infrastructure that includes ten meeting rooms. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Caribe Hotel Cartagena

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