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“Great boutique hotel, good alternative to the other top Hotels in Cartagena”

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Bantu Hotel By Faranda Boutique
Ranked #12 of 155 Hotels in Cartagena
Certificate of Excellence
Miami, FL
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Great boutique hotel, good alternative to the other top Hotels in Cartagena”
Reviewed March 18, 2009

I just came back from a trip to Cartagena last week for business and stayed at the Bantu for 5 days. First of all, I always stay at the Santa Clara but it was booked so through some research and asking, decided on the Bantu and I wasnt dissapointed.

Its a small hacienda type boutique hotel with 23 rooms, I stayed in one of the junior suites on the ground floor and the room was great. The standard rooms also looked nice/decent size but I am glad I had the Junior Suite. Nice big bed, personal attention, great breakfast included. I will say that this hotel is more geared to vacation/honeymoon/family trip than Business. Just a few comments for a business traveller, the wireless didnt always come through and the table in the room was a bit too small for business type needs, but it was perfect otherwise. The sink area could have been bigger for toiletries, I can imagine woman would have a hard time with this even moreso.

THe staff is simply amazing and really helped out on several occassions.
The pool upstairs is small but cozy enough for the amount of guests there and offers a great view of the city. The courtyards are very pretty and really give the hotel the old world charm and the location is great for walking and enjoying the Old City.
Cartagena is a fantastic city filled with great architecture and history and this hotel fits perfectly. When I come back to Cartagena, I will probably look for Santa Clara first if its for business but no doubt the Bantu if with family/wife/honeymoon type hotel is a great alternative Plus the price is impossible to beat compared to other boutique hotels or any really in the city.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jfloMiami_FL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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London
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviewed February 23, 2009

We booked this hotel as one friend recommended it to us. We arrived at noon but the room was ready only until 8:00 pm. We had to wander around the city during the whole day. The hotel was full and they offered us the Presidential Suite just for the first night. Next morning they pushed us to the next room at 10 am, very small and with a faulty and noisy A/C. People in the reception are very friendly but little effective. Rooms are too small and the price is the nearly same for any boutique hotel in town. In addition the hotel is noisy and the premises were not properly restored as it should be. Location is not good even it s within the walled city the street is in a bad sorrounding, Next time I would stay in Pestagua, or LM but never again in Bantu.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LondonElite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ipswich, MA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 19, 2009

I will generally agree with the review by "bobluvscolombia". However, while most of his review is on target it doesn't reveal any of the imperfections of the hotel.

Let me first say, I just spent a great ten days at the hotel with my wife/fiance, family and friends for our wedding. It was an excellent place to stay and would not hesitate to recommend it to friends.

That said, there were numerous issues that could relatively easily be improved upon to make this a truly wonderful hotel...

1) DANGER: Cap the well: There is an old colonial well in the main atrium but it lacks a grate and young children (or tipsy adults) could easily fall into it (as was the fear for my young niece who of course loved to play near it)

2) Mosquitos: While, to me, they were a pretty minor annoyance (they seem to mostly reside in the shower) I think not everyone would feel that they were so minor. Better insect control is needed (perhaps closing the gaps under the doors would be helpful as well).

3) Shower water: It takes several minutes to warm up to a reasonable temp and there appeared to be no warm water at the sink (not a big deal unless you want to wash your face with some warm soap and water).

4) Internet: As with most places in Cartagena and Colombia more generally, Internet access was not all that good nor well thought out when installed. So their WiFi network proved spotty at best in the rooms (one WiFi network appeared to be up and available but once connected to it, it did not work). After an amount of letting them know of the problems they did offer me a wireless range extender which helped (extend the one wireless network that was working). Given I work in IT, I know plenty of things they could have done fairly easily to improve WiFi coverage. Bandwidth was spotty and could not always support low bandwidth VOIP connections (30 kb/s). I think they use cable Internet / Telefonica.

5) Air conditioners: They are strong but the controls made them easy to mess up and at least one staff member who attempted to assist in fixing it one time was unable (ensuring a hot night of sleep). It was only fixed the next morning by a different attendant.

6) Water: One of our guests had no cold water and the toilet did not want to flush but was fixed within a few hours by staff.

While the problems were all relatively minor (perhaps with the exception of the lack of a grate on the well), they do add up to annoyance and distractions. And when you're on vacation every minute counts. So when little issues arise they all eat away at your precious vacation time.

Overall, I'd still recommend the hotel as it combines stylish colonial accomondations at a very fair price. But be sure to quickly make staff resolve/address any issues you may encounter.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank anthonyx26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lakeland, Florida
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2009

A stay at Bantu is an experience in personalized attention and pampering, all in an atmosphere rarely found in South American hotels. Our family visited November 25-28, 2008 with our two small children (1 1/2 and 3 1/2 years old). As we arrived in the middle of a downpour, the staff met us with umbrellas and whisked us inside the entry for our first peek at the treat which awaited us. The view from the entry confirmed that we had made the correct hotel choice - a traditional Cartagena house redone into a beautiful, romantic, modern, upscale, boutique hotel. While the staff entered our baggage, we were escorted to the reception area (a huge log made into a counter) where we were warmly greeted by the Manager, Carlos Mario Arcila. We were then offered one of the most refreshing cocktails we’ve ever had while Mario chatted to us about how our trip was, the hotel amenities, Cartagena, etc. – true Colombian warmth. In the mean time, several of the hotel staff played with the children off in the courtyard allowing us to relax and enjoy the conversation with Mario. After finishing the cocktail, we were escorted to our room (a Jr. Suite) – we had spoken with the hotel several weeks before arriving in order to help us choose which room would meet our needs – we weren’t disappointed – the room was absolutely beautiful – several hundred year old original brick wall, very large (important when traveling w/ 2 children), baby crib already in place with linens, beautiful bowl of assorted tropical fruit, a sofa which converted into a bed for our older son – just perfect. As we got settled, the kids became hungry – we asked if we could order some soup for the kids, but the hotel restaurant didn’t open for another 2 hours – like everything else at Bantu, no problem -20 minutes later, 2 fresh chicken soups arrived, kids ate and went down for a nice nap. The days which followed were a dream of pampering - Mario and his staff took every opportunity to chat with us, play with the kids, give advice on restaurants, etc. Added bonus, the hotel has a babysitting service which was excellent and reasonably priced – we would specify the time, the young lady would arrive at our room and take care of the kids – kids loved her, we used her every night we were there so we could enjoy the Cartagena night life. The hotel is actually 2 houses which were put together – beautiful interior courtyards, plants/ trees everywhere, artwork – absolutely charming. There is a nicely laid out roof terrace which offers a nice pool (with a beautiful view over the old city), a steam room, a Jacuzzi, 2 massage tents and the mandatory bar. We took a look at the Presidential Suite – to die for – 2 separate bedrooms, living room, private terrace w/ Jacuzzi – next time we go, we’ll splurge for it – beautiful. If you’re in the market for a Jr Suite, 106, 107, 211 & 212 are all good choices. The location, just off the Plaza Fernandez de Madrid is perfect - in the center of the Old Town, everything within walking distance. As we left on the Friday, we were sad – thanks to Mario and his attentive staff, we arrived as guests and left as family – without a doubt we’ll return soon!!!

  • Liked — Felt like home away from home.
  • Disliked — We had to leave!
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank exploringwfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Level 6 Contributor
96 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed October 24, 2008

Had the pleasure of staying in the Bantu Hotel for 3 nights on a recent trip to Colombia. The hotel is an excellent choice in Cartagena, located in the heart of the Old Town within walking distance to numerous sights as well as most restaurants and bars. The rooms are very clean and each delightfully decorated, each retaining the charme of this old building. The staff are extremely helpful and speak a decent amount of English. The hotel also has a great roof terrace with a small pool to cool off in after a days sightseeing. Just don't ask for a room with a balcony, they are likely to be pretty noisy. We asked for a quieter room and the staff immediately moved us to a brilliant and quiet inner room (216). A good breakfast is included and the hotel also has an excellent restaurant for evening meals, although one may prefer to explore the surrounding streets for a greater variety. Definitely a highly recommendable hotel with has retained a lot of Cartagena charm.

  • Liked — Location, service levels, rooms, staff
  • Disliked — Balcony rooms are noisy
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank jpi74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Douglas, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
134 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2008

I stayed at this hotel and was impressed with the entrance area and courtyards. I did have a problem with biting insects and was not happy with the holes in the walls of the bedroom and the gap under the door. I went and purchased some repellent from the supermarket but was unfortunately badly bitten around my ankles during the night. Laundry service appeared to be non-existent and I finished up having to lug my washing to a launderette. Rooms were cleaned very late in the afternoon and at one point, there was no water for showers! The mains water supply was disrupted for a period of 3 hours. The other issue was the pool on the roof was being repaired so I was not able to go swimming. Not as perfect as it should be. Quite sad really as I thought the place had a lot of potential.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — rooms were to open to mosquito invasion!
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank mattsw1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pablocity
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 8, 2008

We stayed at The Bantu for a 5 day wedding celebration in May, 2008 .

The service and attention given to our group by the owner and staff was superb.
The rooms are functional, comfortable and modern ( flat sceen TV, hot water ) in an authentic boutique hacienda setting.

The on-site restaurant was fine, and very satisfactory for our purposes.

The third floor ( top floor ) outdoor pool and pool area was a great spot to cool off, relax and socialize.

The location of The Bantu offers many other local options for food, refreshment and tourism.

As a Canadian, and first time visitor to South America, the ambiance of the Bantu Hotel provided a tropical Colombian travel experience in historic Cartagena's " El Centro " that was hospitable, favorable and very memorable in all respects.

I highly recommend The Bantu Hotel.

Pablo

Stayed May 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank Pablo97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bantu Hotel By Faranda Boutique

Property: Bantu Hotel By Faranda Boutique
Address: Calle de la Tablada 7-62 | Historic Center, Cartagena 130001, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Spa Hotel in Cartagena
#8 Business Hotel in Cartagena
#30 Romantic Hotel in Cartagena
#34 Family Hotel in Cartagena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Bantu Hotel By Faranda Boutique 3.5*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bantu invites you to discover a charming boutique hotel in the historic center of Cartagena de Indias, colonial city of Colombia, and one of the most amazing places in the Caribbean, full of warmth and authenticity. Distinguished with the category of 5 stars, Bantu Hotel offers an inside-edge design, colonial architecture and unique services: XVIII colonial infrastructure, chill out terrace, solarium, pool area, spa, bar, restaurant ... a bespoke luxury. Meet one of the most charming hotels in Colombia for couple getaways and business travel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bantu Hotel And Lifestyle
Bantu Hotel Cartagena
Bantu Hotel Lifestyle

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