No. 1 | HOTEL LM
If you’re after sleek sophistication with more than a splash of luxury, try the gorgeous maximalist approach adopted by Hotel LM.
Hotel Boutique LM helped put Cartagena on the design hotel map when this cleverly crafted creation by local interiors expert, Patricia Mejia, opened for business in 2007.
The Cartagena-based interiors guru shipped in Turkish rugs, Italian lighting, porcelain from Germany and pop-art by Spanish duo Manolo Caceres and Jose Miranda to give this small hotel a playful European feel that will make you feel right at home wherever you're from.
The hotel's seven lavish rooms open onto a beautiful colonial-style patio with vertical garden running from pool to terrace. A stunning rooftop area offers fantastic views of the Old Town cityscape and the chance to take a refreshing dip in the emerald green swimming pool whilst admiring the hotel's lush greenery.
Firing up LM's culinary delights are chef Javier Diaz and his sunny sous-chef, Sandra, who can whip up your favourite food fantasies or help you learn how to fix a piquant ceviche from sea bass plucked straight from the ocean. Design highlights include the open-air bath in the suite downstairs.
No. 2 | Allure Chocolate Hotel
Allure Chocolat Hotel’s bright, contemporary ambience and wondrous sea view makes Cartagena’s newest boutique hotel a great option for travelers that like their hotels to look sharp.
Sporting perhaps one of the most convenient hotel locations in Cartagena, Allure Chocolat Hotel sits right next to the city's Convention Centre, straddled between the historic Old Town and colourful Getsemaní.
Allure BonBon´s crisp design is the work of local interiors duo, Isabella Parra and Amauri de la Vega, incorporating a minimalist rooftop infinity pool and lovely clean-beach-feel rooms.
If the Convention Centre brings you to town, literally seconds from your first meeting you can afford yourself the luxury of an extra half an hour in bed or sneak a cheeky lunchtime tanning session on the top floor of this Caribbean crib with a great sea view.
Allure also boasts one of the best hotel restaurants in Cartagena, Red Knife. Make sure you build at least one day into your schedule to work your way through their great selection of ceviches and top cuts.
Design highlights include Getsemani's best view from an infinity pool.
No. 3 | Casa Lola
A new arrival to Getsemaní Cartagena’s thriving cultural quarter Casa Lola’s lusciously decadent digs are a cut above the rest in this price range.
Shaped intelligently from two crumbling Republican mansions, this charming 10-room boutique hotel is the creation of celebrated Madrid-based architect, Ignacio 'Nacho' Garcia de Vinuesa and his partner, Rafael Rios Reguera.
A gift for the eyes, Casa Lola's interiors incorporate an eclectic multicultural style with Feng Shui, exposed walls, Bali-style daybeds and bespoke rough-cut wooden furniture shipped in from Spain.
From the rooftop pool overlooking the San Felipe castle to the plunge pool and fountains at ground level, water runs through the three-storey property to freshen up the shared outside spaces.
At Casa Lola, you have the option to trip the light fantastic in Getsemani's happening clubs and bars at night, or escaping the crowds and searing heat in the shady Lola courtyard. Sun-worshippers have the option of roasting themselves by the hotel's rooftop pool and Jacuzzi to the backdrop of San Felipe Castle.
Each of the comfortably fitted bedrooms and suites come with their own particular style. The master suite looking down onto the towering Nispero tree in the interior patio has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer extra light and an entertaining, inside-outside bathroom.
Design highlights include Vinuesa's de-constructed rough-cut furniture and exposed breeze block walls.
No. 4 | Movich Hotel Cartagena
It's new name - Movich Hotel Cartagena de Indias Small Luxury - is something of a tongue twister but this beautiful property in the heart of Cartagena's old town certainly won't leave you with a bad taste in your mouth
Given a luxurious refurbishment by the Pinto Design Group in 2007, the 32-room hotel became the flagship property of Germán Efromovich's rapidly expanding hotel and travel empire, Movich Hotels, two years ago.
As the only hotel in Cartagena flying the flag for the exclusive collection of Small Luxury Hotels -one of the most exclusive international hotel networks- you might be paying a little more for your bed but you will sleep better with the peace of mind that comes with the elevated price tag.
Like everything topped off by the Pinto family, Movich Hotel Cartagena de Indias Small Luxury has invested in getting the details right with contemporary furnishings playing with the building's historic pedigree.
It might not be as old or as quaint as some of the century's old boutique hotels on offer in the historic centre, but the hotel combines the new and the old with the Pintos' trademark panache.
Rooms come with plenty of legroom, stylish designer fittings, bespoke beauty products by Colombian cosmetics brand Loto and photography that celebrates Cartagena's rich cultural heritage. Whether you're in town for work or play your needs will be well catered for.
Make sure you enjoy a late-afternoon dip in the rooftop Jacuzzi with a killer view of the cupolas of the San Pedro church and the modern thrusting skyline of beach district Bocagrande in the background. Sip on Gin & Tonics until the sun slips effortlessly into the Caribbean Sea.
Design hightlights include rotating Altek outdoor beds on Cartagena's highest rooftop terrace.
No. 5 | Casa Aji
As steeped in history as it is, this place shows no signs of ageing ungracefully, hence it's contemporary name, thanks to its swanky minimalist design that trades cozy trinkets in favour of symmetrical layouts and sharp edges.
Less is most definitely more over at Casa Moderna, whose spotless presence forever emits that 'spring cleaned' scent through its spacious rooms.
After the musty colonial overload you can sometimes feel here, Casa Moderna is a breath of fresh air for those that prefer to be 'design-aware' over 'antique-crazy.' With a crisp carved out pool, beamed ceilings and clever lighting, this plush pad already looks like it's mid interior-design-magazine-shoot the minute you walk into the grand entrance hall.
A winner for the digital age jet set, it even has a lift to take you to the rooftop and all the mod cons that would make James Bond and his conquests feel right at home - especially in the rooftop jacuzzi overlooking Cartagena's glittering cityscape.
It's not all steel and functionality though, the designers have infused sultry earthy tones around the house, especially in the bedrooms, so it constantly feels like you are swimming in a big frothy cup of cappuccino.
No. 6 | Bastion Luxury Hotel
A standout central hotel whose grand hall and squishy leathery interiors ooze the discreet luxury of a gentleman's smoking room.
Rich, dark and moody, the Bastion hotel takes to its luxury name tag with the effortless grace of a catwalk model.
Traditional trumps flippant contemporary trends at this place. Beige upholstery, Chesterfield sofas and sweeping curtains cloak this deluxe palace, affording it with distinctly masculine character that manages to be intimidating yet warm at the same time.
This majestic hotel keeps things fresh in other ways. With a stunning palatial rooftop pool where the waters peep over Cartagena's spectacular cityscape, and a fabulous bar boasting expertly made cocktails to toast it with.
If Bastion's low-key chic wasn't enough, it's helpful to know that the in-house restaurant's menu was created by Colombia's celebrity chefs, the Rausch Brothers, so you really are in impeccable company.