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The rebirth of cool: Colombia’s design hotel revolution 

Design and boutique hotels spearheading growth that will see 7,000 new hotel rooms open across the country in 2014

The hotly anticipated opening of Starwood’s new W in Bogotá on December 12 offers yet further proof of the rebirth of cool in the Colombian capital’s hotel scene.
From its well-equipped Away Spa and Fit gym to the sleek guestrooms and Auroom restaurant, the W in the Santa Barbara Business Centre is a welcome addition to the capital’s already impressive portfolio of design hotels.

Design hotels in the city range from the cool and quirky Click Clack to upscale design boutiques such as the B.O.G Hotel which opened in 2012 complete with 55 sumptuous rooms and suites, a Pevonia Spa, a ninth floor terrace pool overlooking the city and a restaurant by celebrated Colombian chef Leonor Espinosa.

Over in the capital’s trendy northern suburbs include 104 Art Suites, in the upmarket Usaquén district, whose 20 unique guestrooms, including four penthouse suites, were designed by local artists and architects. Even Bogotá’s El Dorado airport is getting in on the act with hotel firm Movich recently launching its funky new Bureau 26 design hotel nearby, and a funky Aloft opening in 2012.

For those who prefer historic boutique style properties options include Hotel de la Ópera in Bogotá’s La Candelaria district, which offers 42 guestrooms and a bijou Therma Spa housed in a pair of historic townhouses.

Bogotá is not the only city getting in on the act, however. While Cartagena tends towards swanky historic gems such as the 24-suite Anandá Boutique Hotel, with its rooftop terrace with plunge pool, these days the old walled city is also home to some excellent contemporary-styled options such as the Movich Hotel Cartagena de Indias, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and the Tcherassi Hotel, its seven sumptuous rooms created by designer Silvia Tcherassi.

Moreover, IHG will officially open its new Intercontinental Cartagena de Indias in the modern Bocagrande district of the city in December. Standout features of the modern high-rise property include the 27 plush suites and the sixth-floor infinity pool with its stunning views of the old walled city.

Standouts in Colombia’s third city, Cali, include the funkily curvaceous Hotel Spiwak Chipichape, with its 226 suites, while Medellín has the Art Hotel Boutique in El Poblado’s Zona Rosa, full of exposed brick and concrete and edgy artwork. Alternatively, the nearby high-rise Charlee Lifestyle Hotel, with its awesome rooftop bar and pool area, is slap in the lively Parque Lleras district.

Locations seeing a surge in high-end boutique openings this year include Santa Marta where the Kantawa Spa Hotel, Merecumbe Hotel and Hotel Casa Carolina have all opened for business. Popular boutique options in tourism areas outside the main cities include the funky Sazagua Hotel and tastefully restored Hacienda San Jose, both of which are in Pereira, in La Zona Cafetera.

Maria Claudia Lacouture, President of the tourism promotion body PROCOLOMBIA, said: “This has been a remarkable year for the Colombian hotels sector with 7,000 new guestrooms coming online across the country, including some very exciting developments at the design and boutique end. To cap it all off with the December openings of both the W in Bogotá and the Intercontinental Cartagena de Indias is just the icing on the cake.”

She added: “What’s more, not only have major international operators such as Hyatt, IHG and Starwood guaranteed a packed pipeline of new openings in the years ahead, visitors will find that in Colombia high-end design and luxury doesn’t have to come with an expensive price tag.”

Luxury developments in the pipeline include the Autograph Bogotá and Marriott Medellin, while US chain Hyatt plans to open new hotels in Bogotá, Cali and Cartagena by 2016. 

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