On my last trip to Cartagena I'd promised myself a visit to either the Sofitel or the Charleston. Making a late booking the Charleston had notably better prices, and easier restrictions. The Charleston it was then.
I'd been into the public areas of the hotel before, but the more you see of this property the more impressive it is. Any visit to the rooftop and it's wonderful views of the city will quickly prove the point that this is a very good place to be staying. The room, a junior suite, wasn't really suite like. it was a larger room, and it had a high, high ceiling. But it was impressive.
The hotel service varied. The front desk also acts as the concierge and here life turned binary. Either you got someone who was really helpful, or you got someone who clearly didn't care. My advice, don't take the first answer you get (if you don't like it) and try when someone else is manning the desk. The airport pickup wasn't there, and 'we'll investigate'("they forgot"). Yet on an early arrival with the suite not available another room was offered until it was. No need to ask, just given - most excellent.
The breakfast in the hotel was good (better to take it on the roof than the buffet downstairs though). The hotel seemed preoccupied about a large wedding taking place. The wedding clearly took precedent over the other guests needs.
The location is good and the traffic is excluded from the city at night (not a completely good thing if one needs to get around and disliked by some of the locals).
Inside the room the was well equipped, but it's unusual - at least to North American eyes to see quite as many choices of cigarettes in the mini-bar choice. One design feature that seemed poorly thought out was the full length mirror opposite the toilet. Yes, it does make the bathroom look bigger; no, I'd rather be watching something other than myself on the throne first thing in the morning. You, seated are the only channel choice.
The bar in the hotel was good but not very well patronised.
This hotel isn't cheap, although I thought the suite good value. The standard room provided awaiting the suite wasn't as exciting, being much smaller and with far less character.
In conclusion, go for a better room, check out the roof but don't rely on the airport transfer. The hotel isn't difficult to get to by taxi, but it is an option offered on the internet booking form.
One last thought, there were some difference in the booking information that they had and that which I had entered and printed from their hotel site. In the end the differences weren't critical but I did wonder quite how they'd managed to mess that up. I'd suggest taking your booking confirmation, just in case.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa is located whithin Cartagena's walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. With a privileged location that is blocks away from the Cartagena Convention Center and just minutes away from the contemporary city, the history, flavor and mystique of Cartagena are all found here, at our hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Charleston Hotel Cartagena
- Hotel Santa Teresa Cartagena
- Santa Teresa Cartagena