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Hotel Portal de San Diego
Ranked #15 of 167 Cartagena B&B and Inns
Reviewed September 10, 2010

I have stayed at this hotel due to its location. It is pretty new,with nice decoration and a great staff that is really helpful and friendly. There are a computer with free internet.
Breakfeast was average.
Room and bathroom was a little small, but as I was staying just for sleep it was ok. It had nice shower and bed was comfortable. Also had a safe to keep your valuables.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank Heka_BR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 9, 2010

I booked a double room here for one night when other choices in town were full, but enjoyed my stay here nonetheless.

I arrived before check-in time, and the staff allowed me to stow my bag and agreed to email me on my mobile when the room was ready while I went out to start exploring the town. The email arrived over an hour before check-in time -- early notice which I appreciated.

The room was on the second floor, close to the reception desk. It was no-frills but clean and functional -- bed, fridge, wardrobe, little desk/chair, ceiling-bracket mounted TV and small en suite bathroom. Thick walls but no window (there was a fake window with a closed blind over the bed on the wall that faced the reception hallway).

Pluses as others have noted include convenient, central location; very nice, helpful staff; good breakfast in a nice eating area served by very sweet ladies; effective air conditioning (built-in, quiet wall unit with remote control -- a huge relief given oppressive heat/humidity in Cartagena) and a secure street door with camera/buzzer.

Unlike others, I did not experience problems with water pressure in the shower -- it was fine -- or the free wireless high speed Internet, which turned out to be fast and reliable. I also found the room, sheets etc. to be very clean, and the TV worked normally (limited English programming, but did have CNN International).

Only downsides from my perspective were lack of a window (flipside of that however was limited direct street noise), fairly spartan decor and a low bed with a rather hard mattress and no reading lamp, and close proximity of room to reception desk (through closed door could hear conversations, some street noise from open balcony, scraping of chair on floor etc.).

After check-out, the cheerful staff was happy to securely stow my bag again as I was not leaving for the airport until early evening.

For the price and a limited stay, this turned out to be a good choice, and the pros definitely outweighed the limited cons.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled solo
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Thank Sputnik_NYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2010

I traveled to Colombia and stayed in hostels most of the way, but with Cartagena being my last stop, I wanted to treat myself to a real hotel, and I kind of wish I would've just gotten a private room in a hostel.

The good about Portal de San Diego:
-The location is excellent: right in the heart of the walled city/historic center of Cartagena. There are bars, grocery stores and restaurants just yards away, too.
-The staff are friendly and helpful.
-I only ate breakfast here once, and it was good. Coffee, juice, fresh fruit, and your choice of egg-stuffed arepas or eggs.
-It's safe; you get buzzed into the building.

The bad:
-Terrible showers, considering the price (I paid about 70something USD per night). Poor water pressure, and lack of hot water at times. The temperature was also difficult to control.
-Not spotlessly clean; my sheets and pillows had an odd smell the first night, until they were changed I suppose. There were also a couple small stains on my sheet that first night.
-The wireless internet was fickle and would come off and on... Annoying.
-The TV in the room is useless; basically static on all channels. I don't watch TV at all when traveling, but it bothers me that I probably paid for something unusable.
-It's not very quiet; I had earplugs, so I slept fine, but without them I'd imagine it'd be difficult to get a good night's sleep.

In sum, stay somewhere else and save some money. I stayed in cleaner hostels with better showers and more reliable internet for a fraction of the price.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled solo
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Thank DL33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2010

We had a wonderful time, very clean and safe the locals and vendors protect the tourism.
Prior to our departure Angela was very helpful- providing us with transportation and making
our reservations to Santa Marta.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank ama4600
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2010

Portal de San Diego (PSD) is well located in the centre of the old city, near the university. You enter PSD through a locked gate at street (ground) level and climb stairs to the first level, where reception is. A security camera at the top of the stairs allows staff to monitor who is at the gate.

The two female reception staff on duty when my wife and I arrived spoke only broken-English but together with my broken-Spanish check-in was achieved smoothly. (A young male on duty in the evening spoke quite good English). I noted there was a computer in the reception area available for complimentary internet use.

Rooms are located on the first and second levels. We were given a room on the second level. The room was of medium size comprising a double bed, one bedside table and a fixed wall unit (wardrobe/shelves) about 4 feet wide in the centre of the wall at the foot of the bed. Alongside the wall unit was a table with a mirror, and underneath the table was a small refrigerator stocked with drinks, and at sensible prices. It is rare for me to drink beer from a hotel mini-bar because they usually ask ridiculous prices but I did have a few drinks here. In the wall unit was a small/medium sized TV with plenty of cable channels. The room had air-conditioning that worked very well. Rooms are served daily, and PSD generally is a clean and well maintained premises. The room was relatively quiet (just the usual hotel noises from other guests).

The positioning of the mirror/table and refrigerator in the room was a problem. They intruded into the doorway to the bathroom, leaving an entry space to the bathroom of no more than 18 inches, which was a nuisance. The room would be better served if the refrigerator could be put in the wardrobe and the mirror/table used as a second bedside table. This would free-up entry to the bathroom.

The bathroom itself was medium sized, with very little shelf space for toiletries. Only soap was complimentary. Water in the shower was an issue - the water pressure was quite poor. When the hot water was turned to maximum the water dribbled out in a stream – the pressure being insufficient to force the water into a spray. On our first night the water was hot, so when cold water was added (again full on) the combined pressure was sufficient to produce a reasonable spray. On our second night however, when I went for a shower at 8:30 pm the ‘hot’ water was less than lukewarm. In order to build enough water pressure to produce a spray from the shower head I had to use the cold water. I’m afraid the surrounding air temperature was simply not warm enough to enjoy having a cold shower. Maybe the water wasn’t hot because of the time of night – after my experience my wife decided to leave her shower until the morning whereupon the water was hot.

Breakfast was included in the room rate and was good – juice, diced fruit, eggs, toast, tea/coffee. It was served in a small garden area on the first floor.

PDS has a lot going for it, and I recommend you consider this place. However, I do think that when you pay around US$100 for a room you should be able to go to the bathroom at any time of night or day and have a hot shower. Thus I have only ranked PSD as 'average' (my wife, who didn't have a cold shower, thought 'very good' was more appropriate).

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank aussie_bmh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2010

This was a great find. The hotel is a nice size and the price includes a wonderfully prepared breakfast each morning. It was nice to have something fresh and different everyday. The staff is the best. They are extremely helpful and can give you the best advice on things to do and places to eat. The front desk staff - Elkin, Angie, David and the rest are all professional and accomodating. The rooms are perfect for one or two travelers (they have bigger rooms as well). The security is perfect - you feel protected and your items are secure. The location in the heart of the walled city is perfect to site see. You have to try this place out!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled solo
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Thank MatthewZ68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 26, 2010

Spent 4 nights here from 18-22 April 2010, Room 302. Felt safe and secure during my stay. Entry into the hotel is via a secure gate and you must be buzzed in by the reception desk. Ascend a flight of stairs to the desk on the 2nd floor. All rooms are on the 2nd/3rd floors of this building. My room and the hotel was very clean. Daily maid service.

Great location, about 3 blocks from the Plaza De Los Coches. Very quiet area of town, although it can get a little noisy in the morning as the street vendors set up their wares in the street below. My room (302) was one room away (301) from the street. I believe room 301 is larger and has a window that faces the street below. I don't know if this would cause a significant increase in noise to that room? If you are concerned about noise from the street, request a room away from the street. Very quiet at night.

Staff was very nice and spoke fairly good English. Room was rather small but then again I didn't spend much time in the room. Double size bed that was a bit too hard for my taste but I slept well. Small fridge that was stocked with drinks and snacks. Drinks were reasonably priced. There's room in the fridge to store your own drinks and food. Closet for clothes storage had a small safe for personal use. Tiled walls and floor in the bathroom. Shower fairly big but water pressure was usually on the low side. Took a few minutes to get hot water to the shower but overall it was acceptable. Bathroom sink was really small, in fact too small to do my own laundry in. Ended up washing my shirts out in the shower. The A/C worked very, very well. It was so great to come back to the room after a hot and muggy day of sightseeing and being able to crank up the A/C. Breakfast was included and made fresh when you arrived at the table. Always some fresh squeezed fruit juice, toast, coffee, and variously prepared eggs. One computer by the reception desk that offered free internet.

Overall I would highly recommend this hotel if you are looking for a reasonably priced, basic, small hotel in the Centro area.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled solo
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Thank immerfertig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Portal de San Diego

Address: Calle 2 36 - 17 | Centro, Cartagena 130012, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 167 B&Bs / Inns in Cartagena
Price Range: $56 - $137 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Portal de San Diego 3.5*
Number of rooms: 11
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Also Known As:
Portal De San Diego Hotel Cartagena

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