Sofitel Legend Santa Clara
Cartagena's rising stock as a Caribbean playground for millionaire jetsetters owes much to the consummate colonial charms of the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, the luxurious former convent that transformed the fortunes of the city's historic centre.
Abstention has been consigned to the past in a four-centuries old spiritual retreat now dedicated to an unashamed 21st century pursuit of pleasure.
Now celebrating its 20th year setting the benchmark for luxury hotels in Cartagena, the Santa Clara has built constantly on the impressive levels of French sophistication and comfort associated with the Sofitel brand.
From the shimmering, gold-leafed tapestry by Olga de Amaral that greets you at the entrance to Fernando Botero's flirtatious chubby bronze in the patio and the elegant linen threads designed by Francesca Miranda for the staff, this is a hotel that prides itself on attention to detail.
The hotel's unerring standards have made it the home-from-home for world leaders, Colombian and international celebrities and a luxury base camp for the headliners of Cartagena's most important festivals, the Hay Festival Cartagena, Cartagena Classical Music Festival and the Cartagena Film Festival.
Most of the hotel's 124 rooms and suites flank the swimming pool that dominates the newer, Republican wing of the property. For a little extra headroom and views of the Caribbean book one of the superior rooms on upper levels nestled into the whitewashed eaves.
It's expansive in-house SoSpa, fine-dining restaurant 1621 and superior drinks destination, El Coro Lounge Bar, are the luxury icing on an already sumptuous cake.
THIS IS WHAT WE LOVE
* Admiring a wonderful art collection over a French-Caribbean breakfast in the lush vegetation of the hotel's colonial patio
* Being embedded with the celebrities during Cartagena's most important festivals
* Haute-cuisine dining at the hotel's superb restaurant, 1621
* An expansive swimming pool that makes it difficult to leave the hotel
* Strawberries and champagne in the hot-tub with a view of the sun sinking the Caribbean sea
* Warming up for a lively evening in town with a killer cocktail at El Coro Lounge Bar
* Getting great service in Cartagena. Not always easy
* Booking a stay to coincide with the Sofitel Santa Clara Wine Week, a culinary delight that's worth coming to town for
* The full-body chocolate treatment and Sisley spa sensation at Cartagena's premium in-house spa, SoSpa
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
* Classic rooms are not over-generous in size but connecting rooms can be arranged to accommodate families
* Cartagena's beaches are disappointing. For the idyllic Caribbean beach experience you will need to hire a yacht and head to the Rosario Islands
* Baths in the classic rooms are for pint-sized guests for a good soak you will need to book one of the hotel's 19 suites
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- Air Conditioning
- Dry cleaning
- Family rooms
- Swimming Pool
- Rooftop Terrace
- Meeting rooms
- Pets Allowed
- Free Wi-Fi
- Concierge Service
- Room service
- Lounge bar
- Safe Deposit Box