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“One of the best in Getsemani” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Casa Baluarte

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Hotel Casa Baluarte
Ranked #19 of 160 Specialty Lodging in Cartagena
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Level Contributor
107 reviews
100 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
“One of the best in Getsemani”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 9, 2012

The hostel is located in a historic neighborhood Getsemani, on the touristy Calle Media Luna. It is only five minutes’ walk to the “walled city”. There are many bars and restaurants within few blocks.
This hostal, more like a hotel that a hostal, is located in tastefully restored colonial building. It features two courtyards between two floors of hotel rooms. The main courtyard provides plenty of seating and shade and is perfect for relaxing after long walk in the hot historic city. There is also a small café located at the entrance to the hostal. It serves nice shakes.
This is a review of my third stay in Baluarte, during my second visit to Cartagena. I was staying in this hotel twice before in May and June the previous year. My first two visits and this last visit to this hotel were two quite different experiences. This time I arrived to Cartagena without reservation and at the end of high season. It was a bit hard to find accommodation. All accommodations in the neighborhood I visited were fully occupied and surprisingly much more expensive than they were just six months ago and more expensive then I would expect them to be in high season. I recommend making reservation if visiting during high season.
On this visit, my room (109) was located on the main floor with its door and a window opening onto the main courtyard. It was quite small for the double occupancy intended for. The door into the bathroom was very small and a larger person would have problem getting in. The room had a bed, nightstand, closet, TV and a ceiling fan. The fan was broken as it only had two high speeds (speed 1 & 2 were the same). This made it difficult to sleep with the fan on as it was too strong and noisy (even on the low speed). The room was clean. The linen and pillows were of good quality and clean as well. The bed mattress was a bit saggy. This room is also located directly on the bottom of a staircase. It was a bit noisy at times and the light in the staircase was illuminating my room at night… (But the staff kept on turning the light off after my request). Overall it was a bit disappointing experience this time.
My two rooms during my first two visits were on second floor opening onto the small courtyard in the back. I was very happy back then with those rooms and found nothing that I didn’t like. They were also much nicer than room 109 on the main floor. Back then, I also paid 60% less for a single occupancy room. They were bargain.
The entire premises were very clean and nicely decorated. Wi-Fi close to the main courtyard was strong. The staff was very friendly and hospitable.
Even though Baluarte was very good value on my first visit, this time room 109 was not.
I can still highly recommend Hostal Baluarte, provided that you avoid rooms on the main floor facing the nice courtyard (rooms 110, 111 and specifically room 109).
I am rating Baluarte only 3/5 stars for my last visit, but I would rate it 5/5 stars for my first two visits. Your experience will depend on what room you will have. If you have the chance, ask to see more rooms before you check in.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms on main floor opening onto the main courtyard (rooms 110, 111 and specifically 109).
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank povetron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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200 reviews from our community

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21
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (11)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
44 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 23, 2012

Considering the low cost, was expecting much worse (had been to a hostel earlier that was $5 cheaper/night but had no toilet seats, no shower head...just a pipe in the wall and sheets that looked way past their expiration date) but was pleasantly surprised as to the quaint environment. Looked at many of the other hostels in the area and was most impressed by the Baluarte.

Pos: Nice and clean, friendly staff, and close enough to the nightlife without being directly affected negatively (no blaring music at 3am).

Neg: No AC, bathroom was a little small (only 1 person could fit at a time), but at least it was clean.

I'd say you get a bit more than you pay for with the Baluarte. If you're simply looking for a place to rest your head for a very reasonable price while located close to the nightlife in Cartagena, the Baluarte would be a great choice.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank mapes24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia
Level Contributor
19 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 14, 2012

We stayed in cartagena for four nights over new year. We booked this place after finding out that media Luna was full. It was a great decision. The hostel was very clean, spotless really. The rooms were a little small, but normal for Colombian standard. We had a private bathroom.

This place is very affordable, centrally located and also has the benefit of not being two rowdy. If you are looking for a party scene, this is not your spot. If you are looking for a place to get a good night sleep, this is definitely for you. The best part is that you can have the wild nightlife down the street and then come home to a peaceful atmosphere.

One thing...the bathrooms are a little odd (all of the bathrooms where we stayed were a little odd). The shower was a stall shower, but there was no separation on the floor. Water would spread all of the bathroom floor. I saw this in a couple of places we stayed. I'm a bit of a neat freak so it annoyed me a bit, but each day when we returned the bathroom was spotless again.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank WestPhillyKat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Den Bosch, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
110 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 10, 2011

Friendly staff, simple room but very good for the price. We stayed for a week and really enjoyed it. Location was perfect.. 10 minute walk to the city center. Room was perfectly clean every day with fresh sheets on the bed.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AndrevW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 22, 2011

I booked Hostal Baluarte for one night online from the hostal website, which required a 21,000COP deposit by credit card for a 70,000COP room with fan and two twin beds. It was a 3-day holiday in Colombia, there was a big soccer match, and we were arriving late at night, so I wanted to have a place reserved beforehand. Most places in Cartagena that took reservations were already booked up for that night.

The hostal itself is very pretty and more like a hotel, with lots of little areas for sitting and talking or just relaxing with a book. The room with private bathroom was spartan and very clean, and the fan was powerful and had the added benefit of drowning out any hallway noise. There were wooden bars on the windows so I felt fine sleeping with the shutters open to the hallway, which was the only way to keep the room from getting stuffy.

And now the only thing that prevents me from giving Hostal Baluarte a 5 rating. The day we were to fly to Cartagena I was surprised to receive via e-mail a PDF bill from the hotel administration that included an extra 15,000COP charge. There was no mention of this charge on the website, nor any time until I opened the PDF. When we arrived at the hostal we were told that was a very common transaction fee. I asked them why the fee wasn't disclosed before I paid the deposit to reserve the room, told them that I thought that this was dishonest and also unusually expensive, more than 20% of the price of the room. The desk clerk told us first to speak with the woman who handled the reservation, but then he couldn't tell us when she'd be in. Then he told us to speak to the morning desk clerk. When we asked around at other hotels and hostals that night, they all said they didn't charge any such transaction fee.

In the morning we had another long discussion with the front desk clerk. We asked to speak with the manager and were told that he wasn't in, and they didn't know when he'd be in. By that time I didn't want something like that to mar our time in Cartagena and was ready to just move on to another hostal. We told the clerk we knew it wasn't his fault, but we were upset about the the extra charge. He told us that many other people had complained. We went back to our room to pack up, and then a short time later the desk clerk knocked on our door. He said he'd called the manager, and the manager agreed to refund the 15,000 pesos.

I don't think this should stop you from staying at Hostal Baluarte, it's a really lovely place and a good value, but until the administration fixes the problem, people should know that they will be charged an extra 15,000COP if booking online with a credit card.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MintLemonade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Meopham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 3, 2011

This delight boutique hotel was such an oasis compared to the previous places we stayed for such an amazing price! It is located on Media Luna street on the opposite side of the hostel. We only paid 50.000 COP for a double room with private bathroom for several nights stay. I think this must have been a low season price and a real bargain compared to all other hotels and hostel. They can easily charge 120.000 COP for a night. Next to the hotel is a really tasty café with good breakfast and tasty lunches. I think it was called Café Luna Tica.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Kringel77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
86 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 22, 2010

We stayed here for 4 nights in August and loved every minute of it. We stayed in another hostel for 1 night but as soon as we saw this place we checked out of there and moved straight in!

The staff were really friendly and for 50,000 Pesos the room was fantastic value. We didn't want air con and we were shown to room 204 with 2 windows (much better for ventilation) and it was right at the end of the corridor so there was no "through" traffic. Wi-fi available in the garden and it's a lovely spot to escape from the hustle and bustle of Getsemani. Considering how central to the bars and clubs our room was very quiet.

Excellent breakfast in the cafe downstairs too.

Top notch.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank faceman01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Casa Baluarte

Property: Hotel Casa Baluarte
Address: Calle de La Media Luna 10 - 81 | Getsemani, Cartagena 130001, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #19 of 160 Specialty Lodging in Cartagena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Casa Baluarte 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hostal Baluarte Hotel Cartagena

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