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-   -   Review of Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena (Colombia): WOW !! (

Goldorak Jan 4, 20 4:26 pm

Review of Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena (Colombia): WOW !!
Introduction This hotel well deserves the Legend classification in the superb world heritage Unesco-Classified city of Cartagena de Indias in Colombia. This is definitely a place to stay during your life and a great asset in the Accor network. I was definitely wowed !For those of you who have never been to Cartagena de Indias, the old town is a fortified city and the hotel is located intra-muros. This hotel is a former convent and has 2 parts : the historical part with the cloister and the modern wing around the pool. Both are very well integrated.Please enjoy the pictures of this superb property during the day and at night.Monks are still part of the life of the hotel as every evenings around 7 pm, some monks are coming to switch on some lights and candles in the hotel as a kind of ceremony. Check In I contacted the hotel by email before the stay to arrange transportation from the airport and I was quickly informed that my request would be taken care of by the butler service, as I had booked a suite with butler service. Everything was promptly arranged and Ernesto, the main butler who took care of me during my stay was waiting for me at the airport with a nice limo and the usual amenities (cold oshibori, cold water). The airport is very close to the old town so we reached the hotel in 20 min. I arrived at the time of the “monk ceremony” and was definitely wowed at the 1st step in the hotel which was likely even nicer than usual as they installed plenty of Christmas lights in the inner courtyard (my stay was during the 1st half of december). Arriving at the hotel, I was welcomed by the room division manager (Mr Eric Arredondo), who was obviously caring a lot about loyalty and LCAH status and said I was a very important guest for them. He was running a kind of welcome party for some guests (may be the status ones, I am not sure) and I was kindly proposed to enjoy a glass of wine while having a nice discussion with him. Very nice guy and a great way to welcome guests (he was working previously in Sofitel Bogota). My butler, Ernesto, joined us at some time to introduce the butler service. Basically, there is a team of butler available 24/7 to arrange everything you need or answer any question you may have. The easiest way to contact them at any time was to use What’s App and so they quickly arranged that sending me the contact info. Ernesto and another guy, Luis, were the ones who were in charge of me during my stay. I used them to have advices on things to see/do, booking a tour to one of the tropical nearby islands, restaurant booking and transportation back to airport. All very efficient. They were speaking very well English, which was very useful for me as I don’t speak Spanish.The front desk: Room Once I was ready to go to the room, the butler directed me to it. No need to say that the bags were already there. The check-in formalities would be done in the room. On the way to the room, he told me that I was upgraded to a very nice Duplex Suite in the historical part called the “Gabriel Garc.a Márquez” suite (the famous Colombian writer). I had originally booked a Junior Suite (historical wing). I stayed 3 nights and the hotel was fully booked for the 2 first nights, with the exception of the best room of the hotel called the Botero suite. Welcome letter and note, drink voucher, welcome amenities were already in the room. The bottom part of this duplex suite had the living room, bathroom and toilets.There was a nice large terrace from which you can see the sea.The upper part had the bed and main bathroom. Very nice room. The only “criticism” I could make is a not so convenient arrangement for the shower placed after the toilets room and no bath tub which is a pity in a suite IMO. But this is 1st world problem, really ! Also, not power plugs easily accessible from the bed. Turn down service was provided every evening. Plenty of water available and replenished every day. Nespresso machine (capsules replenished every day). Hermès products in bathrooms. Dining The hotel has 2 restaurants : one high end (didn’t try it) and the main one where you also have breakfast. This main restaurant has also tables in the cloister and in the inner courtyard and this was definitely my place of choice for breakfast. BF buffet was great as you can see on the pictures.There are 2 bars : one at the pool and the main one that you can see on the pictures below and where you can redeem your drink voucher. I had a caipirinha. Unfortunately there is no club lounge in this hotel. This is truly missing in such a high end hotel.Of course, plenty of restaurants and bars available in the old town at walking distance, including on the San Diego square where the hotel is located (picture below with the hotel across the square).You will never be hungry or thirsty in this town. It is highly recommended to walk around the old town at night, as the ambiance is great : plenty of people everywhere in bars and restaurants, music around, horse carriages in streets, etc. Pool The pool was lovely and was appreciated as it was quite hot in CTG. Overall I requested a late checkout (4 pm) to my butler and it was granted immediately. Check-out formalities were without specific problem. For the 1st time, I used points to pay part of the bills at checkout. The agent didn’t know how to do it but he called a colleague who did the procedure with him and it was quickly done. I have to say I was impressed by the procedure put in place by Accor with the code you receive by sms on your phone. Quick and simple !Overall, a great stay in a superb hotel in a lovely town. This is my 2nd Sofitel Legend after the Métropole Hanoi. Definitely a Legend hotel, 100% recommended. I hope I will go back…

hotel_user Jan 4, 20 4:41 pm

Thank you once again for a very good review.

starflyergold Jan 5, 20 4:14 am

Thanks Goldorak for this extensive review. ^ I have to say though the interior of the room looks a bit bland given the historic background of the hotel.

wkndtraveler Jan 5, 20 4:55 am

Thanks Goldorak ! I agree with our moderator that the suite looks underwhelming. Ikea chic seems the norm for Sofitel Legend.

gilbertaue Jan 5, 20 10:54 am

You have won 2020. :D

3544quebec Jan 5, 20 5:42 pm

Ernesto and another guy, Luis, were the ones who were in charge of me during my stay.
Ahhh, so they drew the 2 short straws ;)

Great review - brought back memories of my stay at The Santa Clara maybe 30 yrs ago when it may have been a Hilton group property, but not sure about that. I agree wholeheartedly that Cartagena is a very special place. What sticks in my mind most 30 yrs on is dinner at The Club de Pesca looking back at the old city.

escape4 Jan 7, 20 8:28 am

Goldorak thanks for the great review. We stayed last year in Hyatt Regency Cartagena. HR is in Bocagrande so for people who are looking for a beach then it's fine, but I think Sofitel's location in the old town is much better to enjoy the city. I wish we had stayed in that part of town, our experience would have been more special I think.

On the other hand, the upgrade we received at Hyatt was far more generous (from entry level room to apartment suite - better than standard suites), but in Sofitel's defense the hotel was full during your stay and yet they still upgraded you, so not bad at all!

HR has a lounge which is a plus, however they limited breakfast to the lounge; breakfast in the restaurant was not free for Hyatt Globalist guests. Free in the lounge is better than nothing, but I prefer when we are given the choice of lounge/restaurant. May I ask if you had free breakfast at Sofitel?

Goldorak Jan 7, 20 1:47 pm

Originally Posted by escape4 (Post 31919038)
May I ask if you had free breakfast at Sofitel?

I booked a rate which included BF.

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