Hilton Cartagena Hotel {COL}

Old Aug 12, 18, 1:09 pm
  #46  
 
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Going to the hotel later this month on an award stay. I understand I need pesos for taxi to get the hotel from CTG. Many suggest an ATM. Should I plan to use the ATM at the airport? It appears from online searches Bancolombia has an ATM at the airport. I appreciate anyone recently there confirming that it does exist. Also in the advent that it is out of service is there reasonable alternates as a backup?

I understand I can exchange money within the US airports for a fee, and do not have a problem doing so to avoid potential hassles but if is is low risk just as soon do it at CTG and get a better exchange rate if possible.
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Old Aug 12, 18, 2:23 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by isle-hawg View Post
Also in the advent that it is out of service is there reasonable alternates as a backup?
Just ask the taxi driver to stop at "un cajero automatico." There's a Davivienda right outside the airport. IME that's the best bank for ATM withdrawals because the limit is higher. You want to make as few withdrawals as possible due to fees.
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Old Aug 15, 18, 1:23 pm
  #48  
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Originally Posted by isle-hawg View Post
Going to the hotel later this month on an award stay. I understand I need pesos for taxi to get the hotel from CTG. Many suggest an ATM. Should I plan to use the ATM at the airport? It appears from online searches Bancolombia has an ATM at the airport. I appreciate anyone recently there confirming that it does exist. Also in the advent that it is out of service is there reasonable alternates as a backup?

I understand I can exchange money within the US airports for a fee, and do not have a problem doing so to avoid potential hassles but if is is low risk just as soon do it at CTG and get a better exchange rate if possible.
If you use a big bank (BofA, Wells, Citi, etc.,) you should be able to order foreign currency before you go. That way, you've got it and you don't have to fool around looking for an ATM (and be seen putting a wad of cash in your pocket).
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Old Aug 17, 18, 11:44 am
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Just ask the taxi driver to stop at "un cajero automatico." There's a Davivienda right outside the airport. IME that's the best bank for ATM withdrawals because the limit is higher. You want to make as few withdrawals as possible due to fees.
Davivienda is my bank and although I love their cute uniforms, their max withdrawal for non-Davivienda cards is actually lower. Davivienda is 400,000COP per withdrawal which is US$132. Bancolombia is 600,000COP though which is US$199. I do not know the fees for Davivienda but Bancolombia charges 13,200COP per withdrawal. That's US$4.38. You are paying ~2% in fees.

Both are going to let you withdraw easily enough to cover the taxi fare. I was at CTG two days ago and did not check for ATMs but at a push a Cartagena taxi driver will take USD off you. Especially if you give him the US$4.38 that you would have otherwise have given to Bancolombia
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Old Aug 17, 18, 12:14 pm
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Originally Posted by JohnnyColombia View Post
Davivienda is my bank and although I love their cute uniforms, their max withdrawal for non-Davivienda cards is actually lower. Davivienda is 400,000COP per withdrawal which is US$132. Bancolombia is 600,000COP though which is US$199.
Thanks for the clarification. It's been a while for me, perhaps Bancolombia has raised it's limit with the decline of the peso? Used to be many of the banks were max 200-300k.

Originally Posted by JohnnyColombia View Post
I do not know the fees for Davivienda but Bancolombia charges 13,200COP per withdrawal. That's US$4.38. You are paying ~2% in fees.
It's 2% if you withdraw the max. It's a higher percentage if you withdraw less, which is why you want to withdraw the max.
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Old Aug 17, 18, 1:57 pm
  #51  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Thanks for the clarification. It's been a while for me, perhaps Bancolombia has raised it's limit with the decline of the peso? Used to be many of the banks were max 200-300k.
I don't know. I just know that it sucks having to use 2 cards and 6 transactions to withdraw 3.6 million


Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
It's 2% if you withdraw the max. It's a higher percentage if you withdraw less, which is why you want to withdraw the max.
Correct. My ~2% was based on the max withdrawal. I accidentally withdrew 60,000 instead of 600,000 this week so I paid a thumping 22% fees
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Old Aug 31, 18, 2:57 pm
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I just finished a four night stay at this hotel. Dating back to the posts in 2008 in this thread they all seem still relevant good assessments and advice from my POV. I booked a two queen bed corner room with a private patio. I was assigned room 1051 which is the executive/top floor. The room was not a suite, however it was spacious. The private patio was almost as large as the room itself. The room had floor to ceiling windows throughout the living area with an excellent view of the city, beach and bay. The front desk staff all spoke good English as did the room service host. The executive lounge was nice, never the least bit crowded during my stay. Breakfast included some hot dishes and continental fare. They kept the refrigerators stocked with soft drinks all day, and had alcohol in the evenings except this past weekend which was some type of observed religious holiday. Although I did not sample the evening dinner options in the Exec room, they looked appealing. All the staff were extremely cheerful and friendly.

The hotel has a business relationship with a couple tour guide operators that we used during our stay. The first was a four hour tour that was a combination of riding on a Chiva Bus and plenty of walking. There was an older couple from the hotel visiting from NY on the same tour from the hotel. We were the only four people on the tour bus that were Americans and did not speak Spanish. The rest of the folks all from Latin America or Spain. Our tour guide was bilingual and the tour was fantastic. They took us to all the historic tourists destinations and explained the history of the city and the sites we visited. The second was to a private island beach in the Caribbean where we spent 5 hours that included a buffet lunch and involved a 1 hour boat ride to get there. The demographic makeup was the same as the other, very welcome from my perspective as a change up, since I had been on so many tours with predominately other Americans in the past. In both tours we were picked up and dropped off at the hotel.

This was my first trip to Columbia or South America, as others have pointed out this is not like Costa Rica or most of the Caribbean Islands. Americans here definitely made up a extremely small numbers of the visitors I encountered at the hotel and while out and about. The vast majority of folks I encountered were Latin American and could not have been more friendly.

If I was to go back to Cartagena, This would be my first choice again, since I am earning HH points faster than I can burn them. The Hilton is at the end of a peninsula, the pools were great and the view/area better from my POV then the Hampton Inn a 1/4 mile away and located in the city.

If money is no object to you, as others have recommended a stay at one of the boutique hotels in the Walled City will likely provide you a better experience to your liking. I did not mind paying the $4 cab fare to and back from there to the hotel, and pocket the difference in hotel price which for me was just points.
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Old Aug 31, 18, 11:55 pm
  #53  
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Originally Posted by isle-hawg View Post
If money is no object to you, as others have recommended a stay at one of the boutique hotels in the Walled City will likely provide you a better experience to your liking. I did not mind paying the $4 cab fare to and back from there to the hotel, and pocket the difference in hotel price which for me was just points.
First visit, yes. After that the crowds of cruseros get old fast. With cheap taxis to the walled city, Bocagrande is in many respects a more attractive option. As you note, it's mostly latin tourists out there, and they are generally a fun, friendly crowd.
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Old Sep 4, 18, 1:13 pm
  #54  
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I also just completed a stay there (we must've been there at the same time, isle-hawg!). I echo his comments. We were on the seventh floor, but were given Executive Lounge access. We also had a "dry" night; there was an election on August 26, so no wine in the lounge or any of the bars. The hotel's physical plant showed a little bit of wear, but the staff was all very helpful. The wait staff at the restaurant quickly knew what we wanted for drinks at breakfast and the bartenders at the pool were also quickly familiar with our preferences.
We didn't do any tours, but as mentioned, the taxis in Cartagena are ridiculously cheap and we went to the Old City and other sites regularly.
We'd definitely stay there again if we returned to Cartagena, even if I had to pay instead of using points like I did this time.
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Old Jun 22, 19, 6:38 pm
  #55  
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i honestly do not see how people could give rave reviews here. maybe because they are hilton prisoners and this place was cheap on points so they could overlook all the mediocrity.

i'm a marriott plat and a hilton gold so why not mix it up and try a hilton in the middle of nowhere in cartagena.

2 days before our arrival we got an email ostensibly from the gm saying that the pools were to be closed for maintenance but that "popcorn and the games room" would remain open. the games room was hollowed out (like literally, all the concrete and drywall was hammered out, it was just a cave) and non-existent and nobody knew anything about popcorn. so a bit disappointed the gm is that out of touch over her/his own property.

when we arrived we got a bellhop reading a newspaper who reluctantly got up from his newspaper reading position to take our bags up to our room, which honestly we could have managed as we only had carry on.

as a gold we got upgraded to an "executive room" which was just a room on 6fl further down the hallway. it had a bathtub which was nice but the room had tons of scuffs, mold on the bathroom ceiling, and scratched up paint.

the room was clean, the bed was fine, as worn out as the room was. housekeeping staff were 100 and so polite.

the lounge on 13fl was fine, while the food was trash the fellas kept the mediocre drinks (wine or beer only) pouring and were super kind.

the security harassed my black girlfriend constantly whenever we were returning. without asking me (non-black) and my situation, they would go after her asking her for her room number. after round 3 of this over 2 nights during the daytime she lost it, went to the front desk where fella at the front desk explained that's just how Colombia is. she then explained herself further, (ie "nobody here addresses me unless they want proof i belong here" ) and became way more sympathetic and said he would take care of this. i imagine this guy emailed his gm, who was probably non-existent (considering the promise of a game room and popcorn or something stupid, which clearly did not exist), and of course we didn't hear from that person. i guess the gm was away during the pool renos

the breakfast was ok, they had a juice bar which was super nice but overall it was meh. just stale food but the fruit spread was good. tons of staff standing around but all very polite, which made our visit nice, but we just went out to a cafe and had a nicer more relaxed breakfast there on day 2, and for usd $5 each.

the beach area had about 6 or so waiters hanging out not helping people, not offering me a menu once when i laid on the beds (but mind you in Colombia you gotta waiters people to help you, just a cultural thing) and a bunch of people from around the area hanging out and hustling which was fine for me but i imagine a 4 star usa traveler would be very annoyed by this. the beach is fully public, which again was fine for me because those hustlers had other substances on sale and were bringing me ice cold cervezas for cop3 while i think the hotel charging cop10. but i know many people would not like that sorta vibe. we booked this place for the pool and that we were told it was closed 2 days before was annoying. i know we should have asked for a refund and then found a nice air bnb condo further up the coast and hung with locals, but we thought we'd give this a try. i regret not cancelling.

just an awful mediocre property with no care for guests. at least the way they treated my gf. no clue how everyone raves over this place. maybe if the pool were open and we could have gotten drunk to forget the overt racism from security, the worn out rooms with mold and damage, and the crappy breakfast we wouldn't have written this.

or maybe hilton is truly worse than marriott. i'm still mad by the disrespect shown to my gf. by everyone here. go stay somewhere in a good location further up. find an air bnb. hilton sucks, and that comes from someone who stays 50+ with marriott.

edit:we still had an amazing time here in Cartagena. amazing city with amazing people. just stay further in. this hotel sucks. we know we would have been treated better as nobodies further inland.

Last edited by cur; Jun 22, 19 at 9:23 pm
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Old Jul 5, 19, 11:10 pm
  #56  
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honestly I never complain to hotels a whole lot, but sometimes things happen and I just want the gm or someone in charge to just help/empathize with me/us in person and in a calm professional manner discretely so we can both improve our situation mutually and peacefully, thus avoiding drama for others.

I emailed guest correspondence over our issue with the racism and that the pool was announced as closed until 2 days before, even though a project like this is planned months ahead, and this pool is the only reason to book this hotel.

We got a reply from the rooms director at the hotel who sent a generic reply and 30,000 points. We declined this as are never staying with Hilton when we have control over our hotel, thus points mean nothing and we are not chasing compensation. We then got bounced to Hilton corporate. They then offered a 150usd gift card and again we decline as we will never stay with Hilton when we have a choice.

Never Hilton again. 350 lifetime nights at Marriott and I cannot think of a real issue, and definitely never an issue over race or inclusion at any of their properties anywhere in the world whether it in the Americas, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, or Oceania. Never ever. Maybe we lucky with Marriott or maybe we stay with a professional usa brand that has spg still rubbing off on them. Or maybe both. But never Hilton. Will stay at air bnb, IHG or Accor motels over Hilton.

This property sucks and this brand sucks

Last edited by cur; Jul 5, 19 at 11:16 pm
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