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“The devil is in the details...”

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Exe Santafe Boutique Hotel
Ranked #108 of 265 Hotels in Bogota
Certificate of Excellence
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“The devil is in the details...”
Reviewed October 25, 2013

I must state at the outset that having spent a lifetime in the hotel management business I might be considered an exacting critic. In truth, based on that long experience, I am very sympathetic to the myriad challenges faced in the delivery of service and more inclined than not to excuse human mistakes. The hotel business is about details: if management looks after the details, the business looks after itself... but details are elusive, and only passionate people make great hoteliers. Witness the atrocious English language on the corridor signs...

The experience at this property points to a poorly managed business; one that needs to wake up to the real experience its guests face at their hands.

I should have known what to expect when three emails to the hotel's Reservations Dept. prior to arrival to request airport transportation went unanswered, totally ignored.

After finding my way there, though, the stay started on a sour note with a check-in process that was slow, cumbersome and made worse by the bureaucratic attitude of a room clerk whose parsimonious pecking at the keyboard was matched only by the speed of what appeared to be a computer system from the neolithic age.

After finally succeeding in printing it out, the clerk presented a registration form for my signature that was filled with my name and passport number but with someone else's address, company name, occupation, etc., etc. Upon my refusal to sign something that was patently wrong, the clerk insisted that this was no big deal and if I wished to sign a different form it would take longer....well, it did: this turned into a 20-minute check-in process, lengthened by the clerk's insistence that I sign a BLANK credit card voucher for incidental expenses (the room charges for the six-night stay having been prepaid). Just the thing you need after a long international flight. Has management ever heard of the virtues of a speedy welcome in a hotel?? If your address, etc. were provided through the reservation process, why have the guest repeat it all again on arrival rather than have it all preprinted on the registration card? And if the government requires guests' passport particulars, why not photocopy the relevant page and deal with it after the guest has gone to his/her room???

Incidentally, the above employee was observed a couple of nights later comfortably sitting at the bar, watching a soccer game on tv at 9 pm while happily sipping his beer: professional decorum be damned.

In fairness, the room was ample and clean. However, although the coffee maker worked, no coffee sachets, spoons, creamer or sweetener were provided. And while these were brought up after a call on the first day, they were never replenished. As no coffee sachets were provided, the alternative is to purchase a 350 gr. bag for sale on the minibar... a little too much coffee even for a 6-night stay. Night table water was provided one night out of six. Perhaps minibar sales are low and this is their formula to boost them...

Another inane policy is to call every room around 9 pm to offer Room Service. Let me assure management that hungry guests will surely call Room Service, and they'd rather do so than be disturbed by a sales call! On second thought, perhaps the hotel does this since there is no way for a guest to know where to dial for Room Service from the absurd telephone instruments in the rooms; the phone system installed in this hotel is perfectly useless!

On day two, the blinking light on the phone told me that messages were awaiting. However, there is not an indication anywhere in the room as to how to retrieve them and calls to Reception and their complicated instructions failed as well. We finally learned that the message system was "out of order", so the solution was for us to come to Reception and listen to our seven messages on their phone. The "out of order" status remained for the six days of my stay. To state that going down to Reception every time you have a message light blinking is highly inconvenient would be a huge understatement.... and they have "5 stars"? Who gives those out?? Does management understand the importance of a working telephone to a business person?

But management doesn't appear to have noticed what guests must put up with in this place. Another ridiculous operating policy has a housekeeper every morning at precisely 8 a.m. start vacuuming the corridor with a cleaner that sounds like a jet turbine! If you should like to sleep in after 8 - even on week-ends!! - be prepared for a very rude awakening... with room doors as thin as crepes, this is about the worst wake-up call you'll ever have.

Most employees are amiable and polite - as most Colombians are - and eager to serve. But they obviously work under a management group lacking in the knowledge, attention to detail and passion necessary to know that staff excel only when given the tools and support to do their jobs. And that the guest's experience is totally dependent on the staff and its interaction with them.

On checking out, I was handed a copy of my room folio and while I waited for the credit card imprint, etc., etc., to be done, I turned this paper over. To my horror, the obviously recycled paper contained on the other side another poor unsuspecting soul's full name, credit card number and particulars. Which meant that my own private information could very likely fall in the hands of anyone, with potentially dire consequences. The clerk (different fellow from the check-in) insisted that this was no problem, and that "we always do that". I then had occasion to speak with the gm about this and to tell her a couple of the incidents above, but as my time was short, I told her to watch this space for a full account of my experience at her hotel. I pray she takes action to make sure that future guests have a more comfortable and pleasant stay.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Caliorexi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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199 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Boca Raton, Florida
Level Contributor
41 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2012

I went to Colombia for a wedding. The hotel was extremely accommodating. There are many employees that speak English which is a huge plus!! The rooms were big & clean. Great value. Breakfast is included...cereal , eggs, juice, breads, other Colombian traditional breakfast items as well. Happy hour nightly at the bar. Hotel offers a car service for a minimal fee if you need transportation which i recommend especially if you are not fluent in spanish. They are great at recomending restuarants & places to go. I would definetly stay here again if I travel to bogota!

  • Stayed May 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Liana8583
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lima, Peru
Level Contributor
20 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed August 15, 2011

Stayed here because of a business trip and didn't expect too much from it but specially the room was beyond my expectations. The bed is cozy, it has a little living room and the bathroom has a nice tub. Everything very clean.
The staff is very friendly and they helped me with a problem I had with a taxi cab. The breakfast could be better but I tryed some popular colombian food.
Everything is little but nice and clean. I will return and recommend it for short stays.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled on business
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Eileenesca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Louisville, KY, USA
Level Contributor
37 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2011

I travelled with my wife and 3 kids (11,11 & 5). As advertized, we booked a room with 2 Queen beds. Upon arrival, we were told that there are no such rooms with 2 queens - and they put us in a room with 2 doubles. The check-in and concierge staff was quite friendly. I agreed to pay extra for my 5-yr old, but I told them that I was disappointed, because I wouldn't have made reservation if not for the fact that the third party website advertized their room as having 2 queens. We could have taken one of the other cheaper options of hotels in similar class.

We arrived early, so they were good to us by giving us the room early. They hotel arranged for car. I was able to get a good price by negotiating directly with the driver who they contract. At the end of they day, the hotel offered us to move to another room which was bigger than the one we checked in, and could accomodate another bed.

We moved to this room, but it had a broken flush in the toilet - which we discovered too late.

At check-out, I had to point out some billing discrepancy, wherein they had put charges for the mini-bar of items that we had not consumed, and which were still there.

I think, for the price, there should certainly be better properties in Bogota - but the excellent customer service somewhat made up for the mediocre property.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank smartstreamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bern, Switzerland
Level Contributor
69 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2011

I come to Bogotá 3 times a year for business, I stayed in other 5 stars before but was always treated like a number. The Santa Fe offers Junior Suites for only US 145 (!!) with breakfast and the best hotel service I've seen around. Internet included and an agreement to a nearby great gym for free (the hotel even drives you and picks you up with no fee), makes this deal he best for a business traveler! I am greeted with a smile by every single worker every time I enter or leave the hotel, they all ask me how's my staying and if I need something else. On a Sunday while the banks were closed, instead of exchanging my money with a bad exchange rate, the lady at the reception even offered me cash while just adding it as an expense in my bill - ne at the hotelver seen this before! Small with great rooms, incredible service and benefits, absolute no reason to stay elsewhere!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Swiss_business
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
member
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2010

If you're looking for a 5 star hotel, this is definitely not it!! Maybe a 3 star hotel, or maybe not. It was clean and the staff was very attentive. The room was ok, but the bathroom had cracked tiles. The mattress was just ok. This hotel doesn't have air conditioner, so you have to sleep with the window open... and you can't sleep with all the noise from the street. Breakfast was very bad, even for a "3 star hotel". Overall, I would't stay here again. Try the Holiday Inn Express, it has a great location and is very modern.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AFCV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bogota
1 review
Reviewed October 14, 2009

The Hotel is small but the service is great, the food was delicious, their speciality is paellla which I recommend. The people at the hotel are very friendly and useful. The area near the hotel is great for walking, very safe and clean.
The city has "ciclovia" during the weekends and the Hotel rents bycicles if you need one to go to the ciclovia. I will definitely recommend this Hotel to my friends.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank marvinBogota
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Exe Santafe Boutique Hotel

Property: Exe Santafe Boutique Hotel
Address: Calle 116 15 - 64, Bogota 110111, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bogota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#53 Romantic Hotel in Bogota
#65 Business Hotel in Bogota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Exe Santafe Boutique Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 53
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This 5-star hotel in Bogota's Santa Barbara district is a 40-minute drive from El Dorado International Airport. It features modern and elegant rooms. The rooms comes with wooden floors,TV and telephone. Some rooms offer extra features, like kitchenette, terrace, balcony or barbecue facilities. Home theatre is also included in some of them and free WiFi is available. La Alcazaba restaurant is popular for its Spanish food such as Paella and the buffet breakfast. Guests can also enjoy a welcome cocktail in the Don Fermin Bar. Exe Santafe Boutique Hotel is located only a 5-minute drive from Unicentro and Hacienda Santa Barbara shopping malls. The Gold Museum is a 30-minute drive away. Parking is available. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Melia Santafe Hotel Bogota
Melia Hotel Bogota
Melia Hotel Santafe

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