Pros: nice air conditioning. Good wifi strength. Nice black out curtains. Across the street from the beach. About 1.75 mile walk to downtown city. Lots of little restaurants nearby. New hotel with nice amenities. good view from the lobby.
Cons: the breakfast was mediocre. I also had to have both of my card keys reprogammed, making two unnecessary trips to the 16th rloor lobby. The hotel only has 2 elevators and you may have to wait a while.
My biggest issue was at checkout. We asked about why we had to pay the VAT tax. According to Hilton/ Hampton and Colombian tax laws (Tax Statute, article 481 literal E) different requirements need to be in compliance to exempt a guest from paying the VAT charge:
*Guest has to be a foreign citizen.
*Guest needs to live abroad.
*Guest must have entered the country less than 6 month ago.
*Guest needs to pay with a foreign credit card.
*Reservation has to be a Package, which means that the room rate must include at least one other component other than lodging, for example breakfast.
The manager stated that our stay didn't satisfy the above conditions. He stated that breakfast was free...not included as part of my package purchased from Agoda. Thus, we must pay the VAT. My confirmation from Agoda however clearly states that breakfast is "included" in the room rate" and no where does it say it's a "free" breakfast that we didnt pay for. The manager, himself, acknowledged that this was a matter of semantics.
My feelings about this is that if they are going to outsource their booking process to a third party, they ought to honor the third party's terms. For instance, if I booked a room with a rate of only $100 instead of $120, they ought to honor my rate. The taxes are not a lot of money. It's about the principle of the matter. Other hotels are more honest and do not charge the 16% VAT tax to foreign tourists. This last part of the stay left a bit of a sour taste and as someone who spends over 150 days a year in hotels, I'm sure to remember Hampton/Hilton's practice model.
Also, if you want them to call you a taxi, please be advised that you will have to wait about 30 minutes. It's safer though than taking a taxi on the street.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Considered by many one of the top leisure destinations in the world, discover the enchanting heritage of the Caribbean with the Hampton by Hilton Cartagena located between the Caribbean Sea and the Cartagena Bay in the vibrant neighborhood of Bocagrande, renowned for its commercial and touristic activity. Enjoy our sky lobby on the 16th floor or our pool terrace on the 17th floor. If you feel like going out at night, take a 5 minute taxi ride to the historic center where you can stroll the magical streets of the “walled city” or enjoy some of Cartagena’s finest bars, restaurants and night clubs. ... more less
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