What we liked: great views from lobby and pool, friendly and hard-working staff, free breakfast that was better than most free breakfasts at this price point, the blackout curtains in the room, the cleanliness of the hotel in general, cheap taxi trips to the walled city (US$3-4 each way) and finally, the constantly repeating "Happy" song in the elevator that my wife and I couldn't resist dancing to and that put a smile on our faces.
What we didn't like: seems like they built the place as fast as they could, so some aspects are kind of shoddy (shower doesn't drain well, the door to the room had a relatively large gap with the wall, the wall of our shower had a big crack, seems like a matter of time before the flooring material will start to come unglued) and there are *very* limited amenities- don't expect tissues in your room, or room service (unless poolside "hotdogs in a can" floats your boat), or even conditioner (this was a big issue for my wife given the ever-present humidity and the fact we were there for a wedding...but we were told however that the pharmacy across the street sells some!). Guys- sorry but this is not like a Hilton. As we were leaving, we heard the front desk informing someone checking in that there would be no air conditioning from 6am until 10pm the following day. If you have ever been to Cartagena, you know what this implies. I hope they got a discount!
The bottom line: If you are looking for value, this can be a great place. I'm tempted to make a comparison with a cool looking car that has a really undersized engine, but I feel that would be a disservice to the staff that really does work hard and does all that it can to overcome the structural deficiencies. I give it four circles because I think the plusses outweighed the minuses. My wife gives it three circles because taking a shower in dirty undrained water without conditioner while staring at a giant crack in the wall isn't really her idea of a four circle place. We agree to disagree!
- 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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