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”.
- 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