Charleston Santa Teresa Cartagena
What We Love
- Within Cartagena's Old City, steps from both the colonial-era downtown and trendy Getsemaní district
- Soaring open-air lobby that plays host to toucans and lush tropical plants
- Sipping a chilled limonada de coco by the rooftop pool, which offers 360-degree views of the Caribbean and picturesque Old City
What To Know
- A $15 service charge per room and a $5 insurance charge per person, per night, will be collected at the Jetsetter checkout
- Not all the staff speaks fluent English, and service can be slow
- Popular venue for weddings, parties and conferences
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
Surrounded by original mud brick and limestone fortress walls, Cartagena’s Old City is a 17th-century quarter of cobblestone lanes, Spanish-colonial homes painted in tropical tones and verandas with wrought iron balustrades. In the center of it all is the Charleston Santa Teresa, a former convent turned boutique property on an expansive plaza near San Francisco Javier bulwark. With its sunny colonial-era façade, palm-dotted courtyard and balconies overlooking the red tile roofs of the Old City, the 89-guestroom hotel embodies the charm of Cartagena’s Republican-era architecture and the comfort of modern interiors.
Bed and Bath
Inside, the 89 unique guestrooms, painted in soft blue or orange, stylishly mix past and present. In the historic Santa Teresa Convent wing, rooms are equipped with period bureaus, upholstered armchairs and long, flowing drapes. Rooms in the 20th-century addition have a more modern aesthetic, with Midcentury Modern lamps, wicker loveseats with crisp white cushions, and platform beds. All mattresses are dressed with plush 600-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, while the equally lavish marble bathrooms have rain showers and tubs.
Start your day with a traditional Colombian breakfast of arepas and eggs and, after exploring the Old City sights on foot, return for tasty pizza and fine wines on the patio of Pizzeria Santa Lucia. Cartagena’s steamy climate makes the rooftop pool a particular highlight — head here for siestas in the shade of the white pergolas, a refreshing chilled limonada de coco and 360-degree views across the city. Afterward, take a dip in the hydrotherapy massage pool, unwind in the Turkish bath or experience the therapeutic remedy of a thousand-year-old Eastern body treatment at the lavish spa.
How to Get There
My family of four ended our vacation in Colombia and thought we had saved the best hotel booking for our last few days. We were disappointed in so many ways. Our rooms were not ready until 3:30 and the "complimentary drinks" were never removed from our bill. When we returned to our room the first night the smell of raw sewerage was overpowering! The management said it was a clogged drain and sent housekeeping with a mop and a dehumidifier. The smell dissipated after a while and we needed the dehumidifier the length of our stay.
My remark regarding safety relates to my 19 year old son who left the hotel with my 14 year old son to buy cigarettes at midnight . He went directly out front of the hotel, approximately 20-30 feet away The police promptly detained him and pulled a small bag of a white substance from the opened pack he bought. They were planted by the sellers who were were working with the police as I was told. They separated my sons and interrogated them continuously for having drugs in their possession. During the whole time my 19 year old kept yelling that his parents were in the hotel. I received a call at 3 am from the manager stating my children were detained by the police and to come get them. For THREE hours they were subjected to this while my son continuously yelled that his parents were in the hotel. I know they were heard becasue my sons saw the staff outside and I believe the hotel security and management failed to act on behalf of their guests and inform us.
I made MULTIPLE attempts to contact Mr Harry James who is listed as Business Intelligence. Four emails later I mentioned Trip Advisor and got an immediate response. A coincidence?? I had hoped to resolve this personally but got a reply that acknowledged our stay was "hectic and rugged" according to Mr James. Rugged is not the term I expected for a 5 star hotel and part of the Traveller Made luxury hotel group. Maybe the term was used because our room smelled as if we were staying outside! Mr James referred my complaint to the parent company and was told I would receive a reply in 72 hours of his email. That was October 7, 2019. Not surprisingly, I have not heard from Mr. James or anyone I emailed at Traveller Made.
Hotel Santa Teresa is a beautiful hotel. The day-time porters, housekeeping and restaurant staff are lovely and helpful. What lacks is the management. Ignoring customer complaints is unexpected and disappointing. It surely does not reflect the the luxury hotel status it claims to have.
The Charleston Santa Teresa is an absolute jewel box. It has the luxury and scale of a Four Seasons and the intimacy and cultural touches you’d expect in a smaller boutique. I spend a large part of my life in hotels for work from Bangkok and Morocco to San Francisco and can honestly say this is one of THE absolute best. You’ll know I haven’t misguided you the moment you walk through the door and are greeted by both a warm and helpful staff and a massive table of fresh flowers. We visited Cartagena with family and booked several rooms. Each one was uniquely appointed and spacious and loaded with the finest linens and pillows and soaps and drinks. We never wanted to leave the bed. But I’m glad we did because the only thing better was the roof-top terrace which felt more like a secret garden with a spectacular pool and the best city views. We spent an entire afternoon lounging poolside under flowering trees feasting on a menu of fresh fish and arepas. We left at dusk after watching fireworks. The following day we explored all of the old city which was literally right outside the hotel door. During our entire stay we were watched over by Jairo, the excellent manager. Pro tip: ask to stay on the first floor of the older area (the one with the charming courtyard). But don’t worry if it’s not available. You’ll feel right at home regardless.
We arrived on Friday. We were given a room on ground floor. When we asked they said it would be “quit”. Saturday a wedding reception with loud music was held right outside our room. We asked to move and they put us on the 5th floor and asked for $50 per night. We objected and we moved wwith considerable difficulty. Then came outside music that kept us awake until 2 am. Now sleepless we face yet another night of music. This of course ruins the stay for us. This is trying to be 5 star hotel without control of noise outside but inadequate insulation. Here is the problem. The location is great and cannot be beat for the walled city. The prices are high without being able to deliver. You will be able to find a much better value elsewhere and bear the commute. If only for tranquility as this is very hard to find in this hotel