One of my favorite parts of planning the Santa Marta leg of our Colombian trip was choosing a hotel. I knew that staying in the city’s historic center would provide convenience and old world charm, so I narrowed my search to boutique hotels in the area, of which there are plenty.
I don’t know about you, but for me, planning a trip is almost as fun as taking a trip; I suppose it has to do with the anticipation of it all. And one of my favorite parts of travel planning is choosing a hotel. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, then by now you know that I’m very particular about hotels, and I spend quite a bit of time researching reviews and browsing through travelers’ photos of the rooms, bathrooms, and hotel grounds.
In Santa Marta’s historic center, most boutique hotels are set in homes dating back to the days of Spanish colonialism. Because I’m a sucker for Spanish architecture, I had a good ‘ole time researching hotels in the area, and we initially booked a three night stay at Casa de Isabella. However, when booking, the hotel overcharged my brother for his room and he had to jump through a few unnecessary hoops to get his money back. Turned off by the situation, I decided to cancel our reservations and find an alternative.
Enter La Casa del Farol Hotel Boutique, a 12-room hotel that’s actually a few blocks away from Casa de Isabella. La Casa del Farol features two areas with architecture from different periods. The Spanish colonial area of the hotel dates back to 1720, and the Republican area of the hotel dates back to the late 19th century and features French, Italian and Anglo influences.
The room décor at La Casa del Farol is based on which area of the house your room is located in – Spanish colonial or Republican. The colonial rooms feature destination themes including Cape Town, Havana, Paris, New York, Barcelona, Rome, Shanghai and Beijing. On the other hand, the Republican area rooms pay homage to important historical figures who contributed to Colombia’s independence including Simón Bolívar and Antonio Nariño to name a few. We actually stayed in a Republican room dedicated to Joaquín de Mier on the ground floor next to the courtyard dining area. Surprisingly, our room was very quiet, and the only time we could really hear clinking dishes and breakfast time chatter was while we were in the shower.
One of the best parts about our room was the little outdoor patio area. Although the patio didn’t offer a scenic view, it was great having an outdoor space where we could hang our laundry for quick drying in the Colombian humidity.
One of the best parts of boutique hotel stays is the fact that they usually include breakfast; our stay at La Casa del Farol was no exception. For guests who quickly get tired of eating the same breakfast selections day in and day out, La Casa del Farol offers a breakfast menu that highlights different countries. So one day I chose a Spanish breakfast which included eggs, Spanish sausage, fresh tomatoes and toast while Jave ordered a French breakfast which included eggs and a basket of croissants. There was also an American style breakfast option and plenty of fresh juice and rich Colombian coffee.
It’s worth noting that the courtyard dining area is also where I spent a lot of time accessing free WIFI on my tablet since the connection in our room was painfully slow.
Apart from the courtyard dining area, my favorite part of the hotel was definitely the rooftop.
The rooftop offers great views of the mountains in the distance and the beautiful Catedral de Santa Marta nearby. There are chairs to lounge on as well as a cute, intimate swimming pool.
I absolutely fell in love with Santa Marta’s historical center. The streets are quietly abuzz with the clickety-clank of occasional horse-drawn carriages, ringing church bells, and nighttime salsa music.
The tree lined streets, brightly colored homes, cute shops, and inviting restaurants all add to Santa Marta’s irresistible charm which I’ll be sharing more of in an upcoming post.
*During our 3-night stay, we paid a total of 639,450 Colombian pesos which converted to about $210 USD at the time of our stay. For current rates and availability, check the hotel’s website.