Last night despite the cold a queue of shoppers was forming in front of The BOX in Hackney eagerly awaiting the pre-opening of...
Cartagena de Indias, simply put, is a city that has it all! Mesmerising historical and architectural heritage, a rich culinary scene, stylish hotels, hip boutiques, vibrant nightlife fuelled with zest for life and seductive Latin rhythms and, last but not least, hospitality that hits your heart. Magic Cartagena is a hotspot for fashion, artful interiors, gourmet restaurants and luxury hotels, and a paradise for jetsetters, entrepreneurs and artists.
The attractiveness of Cartagena has lured big luxury hotel brands to invest in projects that will reshape your choice of accommodation in the years to come. The most beautiful aspect about staying here is that whether you are craving a charming colonial casa or a glittering rooftop pool - Cartagena caters to all lifestyles and tastes.
Owned by one of Colombia’s favourite clothing designers, Silvia Tcherassi, this fashion and art focused hotel is a stylish oasis of calm and has received international acclaim as one of the world’s best hotels. A breath-taking colonial mansion where white décor meets laid-back luxury. Each of the seven glamorous suites is uniquely decorated and named after the fine fabrics used in Tcherassi’s fashion collections. The iconic vertical garden nurtures over 3000 lush native plants above the relaxing pool area. Make sure you spoil your palate and indulge in the curated wine selection at the award-winning in-house restaurant Vera.
Celebrated Madrid-based architect Ignacio 'Nacho' Garcia de Vinuesa and his partner Rafael Rios Reguera have managed to beautifully restore two mansions and merge them into the charming Casa Lola. The hotel is located in the heart of Getsemani, the hippest and most vibrant neighbourhood in Cartagena. The eclectic interiors with attention to detail create a harmonious chilled-out vibe. Each of the 10 elegantly decorated suites has its own personality and offers a unique style and mix of antiques, modern and ethnic elements. To escape the day, sip rooftop mojitos by the pool or relax in the Bali-style daybeds enjoying this tranquil haven in the midst of the party scene.
Around the corner of Plaza de la Adina, you will find the beautiful 32 room property which offers excellent service, indulgence and luxury paired with an unforgettable panoramic view of the historical city centre and the bay. The killer rooftop view and slick interior attract hipsters, design savvy couples and business travellers alike. Enjoy sun-drenched afternoons on the rooftop terrace surrounded by an international crowd, listening to Ibiza deep house sounds and sipping a delicious 'Limonada de Coco’. Make sure you stay to witness the magic sunset!
Exotic flavours, colourful fruits, fresh fish and ingenious local recipes - Cartagena will serve you the most delectable cuisine. Whilst strolling around this romantic city, indulge in the local flavours on the streets: fresh coconut, sweet-sour mango bites or delicious fried snacks like the 'Patacón con Queso Costeño'. The restaurant scene is delightful and will impress even die-hard gourmet food lovers..
Bogota-born charming young chef Alejandro Ramirez honours local ingredients and rich flavours whilst inventing new dishes to surprise his guests with a continuously changing menu. The ambience and décor is similarly enticing: white pineapple chandeliers, colourful tiger murals on the walls and a wooden trim. The 'Hot Coal-Grilled Octopus’ is a must when dining at María.
Brilliantly located just off Plaza de San Diego, 'La Cevicheria’ has been offering a Caribbean seafood experience for decades. When asking a taxi driver whether he knew where La Cevicheria was he answered: ‘If you don’t know La Cevicheria, you don't know Cartagena’. A casual setting with signature Aquamarine doors caters to a global clientele. If you love Ceviche order 'Miss Celeanea de Ceviches' to treat yourself to a presentation of mouth-watering miscellaneous ceviches.
This exquisite restaurant created by the legendary Rausch brothers is an immersive experience for the senses. Located in the Cartagena Convention Center, Marea by Rausch presents refined seafood with French haute cuisine techniques accompanied by a stunning panoramic view of the walled city. You must try the baked fish of the day, the seafood rice in broth and the signature dish, an incredibly delicious mix of crab and guacamole. Be sure to leave space for a ‘Postre Maria', which is a mini selection of the entire dessert menu - yes heaven on earth does exist.
Enticing stores and beautiful boutiques make it a pleasure to discover fashion and interior souvenirs that make a unique style statement and will remind you of your adventures in Cartagena.
The 100% Colombian concept store, also known as ‘the Colette of Cartagena’, presents skilfully selected Colombian fashion, art and design in a stunning, inspirational 700 square meter retail palace. Fashionistas will find the latest trends and one-of-a-kind pieces from talented local designers. Interior and art lovers come to discover beautiful home décor and art-based books. The concept store feels like a piece of art itself with its clean and bright interior design. The fine selection, superb service and relaxed atmosphere of this glamorous shopping paradise make it impossible to walk out empty-handed.
Owned by the charming and well known ‘Cartagenera’ designer Gloria Angulo, Glory Ang Atelier is perfectly located in the historic centre. The beautiful boutique is a must on every Cartagena bucket list. Angulo's creations are feminine with a bohemian touch, colourful local prints and patterns. The designer brilliantly bridges between trendy designs and timeless pieces - a gem for international fashionistas!
Cartagena's most visited and celebrated store for interior design is filled with exotic treasures from all over the world. Colombian-born owner and socialite Chiqui curates every piece herself. Rustic doors from India, colourful pots from Morocco, exquisite lamps from Thailand and hand-picked Colombian 'artesanias’. An iconic interior store with a beautiful home décor selection that creates the feeling of an adventurous treasure hunt.
The bohemian Getsemani neighbourhood is the most talked about in town. A few years ago it was known as the rough part of Cartagena, where you would mostly find backpacker hostels. Now it has transformed into the hippest part of town where prominent luxury hotel brands are investing. Here you will wake up to soulful Latin rhythms and the sweet smell of fresh cut fruit. It is where visitors blend with the locals and where artists express themselves through fascinating murals. As dusk falls let yourself be swept away by the Caribbean rhythms and enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Getsemani. Have a drink at Demente, hang out with the locals at ‘Plaza de la Trinidad’ and do not miss out on the legendary Café Havana that pays tribute to Salsa and Champeta. In a fruit heaven that just sprang up in someone's house, you can get the most delicious fresh pressed exotic juice in the middle of the night.
Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cartagena is home to the most beautiful, magical colonial scenery which will evoke a feeling of the past, and transport you back in time. Walk through the passageway of the Torre del Reloj for a majestic entrance into the historical part of town, full of colonial architectural gems surrounded by the grand guard. The majestic 11 kilometres of high city walls were raised in the 16th century to protect Cartagena. Here you will find the peacefulness to reconnect and to reflect.
Art Hit List
If you are passionate about art, make sure you visit Cartagena's most ambitious arts initiative ‘the Contemporary Art Biennale’ between February and April or get inspired by the fascinating museums and beautiful galleries while strolling through the picturesque streets.
The Nohra Haime's gallery, an outpost of the Nohra Haime Gallery in Manhattan, opened in 2011 and displays Colombia’s vibrant art scene and works by top contemporary artists.
Museo del Oro
Museo del Oro Zenú is a beautiful colonial house and little sister of the Museo del Oro in Bogotá. Here you will find stunning pre-Hispanic art objects, legacies from the ancient Zenú culture and dazzling jewels.
Museo de Arte Moderno
Founded in 1959, Cartagena’s Museum of Modern Art has a small but important collection of historical works by artists Alejandro Obregon and Enrique Grau and is an essential pit-stop for culture vultures looking to savour the Caribbean influence on Colombian art.
No wonder Cartagena de Indias is a dream for jetsetters, artists and entrepreneurs. With its enticing blend of culture, cuisine, architecture and Caribbean vibes, 'La Heroica’ as the city is fondly known has a unique cultural depth. The history, the warmth of the people and the breath-taking magic will make you fall in love with this captivating beauty.