Hotel Casa San Agustin
What We Love
- Daily breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate
- The pristine colonial architecture, with 300 years of history and all modern comforts
- Smiling staff that wants to show off the hotel and the city
- Lounging by the pool early in the evening with one of mixologist John Lermeyer’s grape caipiroskas
What To Know
- Ground-floor pool is a bit of a scene and gets noisy at night
- Premium Rooms with private plunge pools or Jacuzzis are best for seclusion seekers
- Getting to Cartagena’s best Caribbean beaches involves a yacht-bound mission that’s best for adventurous spirits
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
- Room Service
At the heart of the building, an up-lit dogleg swimming pool breaks through a towering 300-year-old aqueduct to unite three elegant mansions. The bright inside-outside public spaces mix Cartagena’s traditional lime-washed stucco with terra-cotta tiles, bougainvillea, swinging daybeds and hardwood Balinese carvings. Beautifully preserved details such as stone gargoyles, 17th-century frescoes and Renaissance and contemporary artworks add a divine counterpoint to the hotel’s colonial, residential-style poise.
Bed & Bath
Designer Kelley McRorie styled all 24 rooms and suites to feel like private residences, with an earthy mix of leather, wool and soft cotton furnishings, polished stone floors and a muted palette of sea-greens and creams. King beds have four-poster ironwork frames and soft Frette linens, and there are contemporary comforts, too, including HDTVs, DVD players, iPod docks and free WiFi. Bathrooms are luxe spaces to freshen up after a city excursion, with walk-in closets, Moorish tiles and Ortigia bath products shipped in from southern Italy.
At the helm of Alma, Casa San Agustin’s upmarket restaurant and bar, are two transplanted Miami tastemakers: Sean Brasel, of Meat Market Miami fame, and mixologist John Lermeyer, from the Delano Hotel. Happily, local flavors make it onto the menu, with spicy Caribbean ceviches, Peruvian tiraditos and an octopus carpaccio lightening the meat-heavy lunch and dinner offerings. Fresh fruit and croissants also do battle with Colombian fried treats for breakfast supremacy. There’s no spa yet, but massages in the rooms can be arranged.
In the Area
The walled city’s growing pack of chefs trained in the Michelin-starred restaurants of San Sebastian will delight visiting gourmets. For a ceviche hit, make for Carlos Accinelli’s La Perla, or check out FM Restaurante and Marea by Rausch for cultured Mediterranean fare in superior surroundings. Salsa lovers can cut a rug at Cachao or Café Havana, while culture buffs should visit the source of Casa San Agustin’s contemporary art collection, NH Galeria, for seminal works by Olga de Amaral and Alejandro Obregon. For gifts, pick up a keepsake at Casa Chiqui, the unique store that added the flourish to the hotel’s interiors.
How to Get There
Reminded me of an old Spanish town with a Colombian soul and the eclectic mix of bars and good food
The hotel was by far the best we stayed and the staff from the concierge, servers and everyone else including the spa were extremely nice , helpful and always willing to go the extra mile.
We got an upgraded room and the alma restaurant was my favorite With some good seafood dishes. The setting of this was romantic and surrounded by overlooking balconies and open skies.
As background, two to three years ago I was a guest at Casa San Agustin which I reviewed then and gave my highest rating. Its gratifying to see that, despite the years that have past, it remains Cartagena's top hotel.
On this recent visit to Cartagena I was a guest at a friend's home so sadly could not enjoy the top notch experience that Casa San Agustin offers.
Upon my arrival in Cartagena , I was commenting to my friend how I was suffering from lower back pain for the past 4 months, most likely due to my over working in my garden. I also suffered from what I thought was a pinched nerve which made it difficult for me to stand for long periods or to get a good nights sleep.
My friend suggested I try out the Aurum Spa at the hotel Casa San Agustin. When in Cartagena he regularly used their facility and spoke very highly of the masseuse Arelis. Let me say, prior to this visit I was not an advocate of " therapeutic " massages or for that matter chiropractors.... the massages I had in the past were far too light in touch, more sensual than therapeutic. That being said, my friend told me how Arelis not only provided a great deep tissue massage but also incorporated stretching the combination of which provided him with great therapeutic benefit.
Given that I previously had a great experience staying at Casa San Agustin I decided to schedule a 1 hour massage with Arelis.
From the moment I walked in and positioned myself comfortably on the massage table to the moment I "floated" out of the room and yes, I do mean floated, Arelis's total focus was on the well being of my body. needless to say, I found Arelis to be totally professional, she asked me a few questions at the start and monitored how strong the massage was being given throughout the hour.
At the start of the massage, Arelis seemed to apply the pressure of her entire body using her forearms on my back.... I knew then this was going to be much more than what I usually associated as a massage.....definitely something other than sensual. As I lay on my stomach and Arelis massaged my legs, arms and lower back I kept on wondering how she had the strength to continue for a full hour which she did.... the pressure she applied was exquisite.... yes, she applied pressure but not so much that it was painful.
After Arelis got my body to relax she began to stretch my legs and arms ... rotating them and forcing them slightly beyond the point where it felt comfortable ...again, there was a little discomfort but definitely not painful.... in fact I attribute this stretching, in large part , to the wonderful outcome of ridding me of lower back pain. Afterward, I rolled over and Arelis repeated the massage process.
The result.... MAGICAL !!!
I've been home now for over two weeks , and despite a long flight in a most uncomfortable airline seat. I remain free of lower back pain and no longer feel the pain that I associated with a pinched nerve.
I've never written a review about a spa treatment before since I was always reluctant in testing the benefits of a therapeutic massage given my doubting Thomas nature about such things.
However, following this experience....all I can say is that I now look forward to returning to Cartagena, not only to check into the Casa San Agustin, a great place to call "home" , but also now a place to rejuvenate my body with the therapeutic, magical hands of Arelis.
Even if you are unable to get a room at Casa San Agustin by all means make sure you treat your body to a massage by Arelis at the Aurum Spa.....
Casa San Agustin was absolutely wonderful! The indoor pool and the hotel itself was incredible. The position of the hotel within the walled city was fantastic. We felt very safe and cared for by amazing staff.
They went above and beyond to celebrate my birthday - which was a complete surprise. The food was delicious and the bar had a great ambiance.
We also experienced a spa treatment which was lovely too -
I would like to acknowledge the reception staff who get 5 stars - they were incredibly helpful, had so many suggestions and went above and beyond to help us organize tours.
We would definitely stay at Casa San Agustin again and highly recommend this hotel.
Room 203 in this wonderful boutique hotel was an amazing experience; with private plunge pool. Staff very attentive to every detail of stay.
kudos to Sebastian, Paola,Ramon, tomas, Andres, Martha, and Gladys
all amazing people who are first rate at their job?
Wonderful city hotel with first class service. A caring and delightful staff made our visit a memorable one. Good restaurant as well. Would recommend t o the discriminating traveler. One in our party took ill and they were extremely caring.