I might be a bit of a snob. But in the best way, I promise!
At some point, I got a taste of the suite life and never looked back. Staying at a hotel less than luxurious never crossed my mind. As a female that often travels solo, by choice or because others can’t afford to travel, or because folks have a host of reasons disabling them from traveling (imagined or real), I’ve developed a habit of pampering myself while on the road. (Yes, that was a lot of commas, woosah).
Those 18 hour work days prompted me to splurge a bit on myself when away. Once you taste something sweet, it’s easy to develop an addiction. For me, that fix is luxury resorts with out of this world experiences. So, when the group said everyone was staying at the Hampton by Hilton, my nose turned up (only in my head). I wasn’t sure about staying at a 3-star hotel, in a developing country. In my experience, it would be lower than low. I got over myself and booked a room to stay with the group knowing I could always rebook if I arrived at shenanigans.
The Hampton by Hilton in Cartagena was an awesome hotel. Not only is it centrally located, but it’s also clean, efficient, spacious, and the beds are extremely comfortable (not that I spent much time in it).
The room is spacious and comes equipped with central air conditioning, mini fridge, and a work desk. The air is clean and fresh. Often when I travel to other countries, especially the Caribbean or very hot destinations, the air is musty and dank. The air never seems conditioned and the water pressure is poor and cold. Not the case at Hampton by Hilton. I felt at home and safe during my stay. The view, while a bit obstructed by the construction taking place (imagine South Beach in development), overlooked the strip.
The rooms were very quiet. The only exception is on my second stay I was placed in a room adjacent to a suite and could hear everything the guests were saying and doing. Even my sound machine couldn’t drown them out. Next time, (yes, I’ll stay again) I’ll ask for a room that’s not connected to a suite.
The staff is mostly pleasant and helpful. You need to have a basic understanding of the Spanish language while visiting Colombia as everyone does not know English or know it well. There were a few issues upon check-in with lack of customer service from one guy at the front desk. He abruptly walked off to help someone else and didn’t return or explain himself. This didn’t go unnoticed by another staff member who jumped in and helped us.
The property is secure which was reassuring, especially when traveling alone. However, the folks surrounding the hotel are sketchy. Prepare to be ambushed by panhandlers and prostitutes upon entry/exit. The doorman more than makes up for the curb appeal and went the extra mile to ensure we had a great stay.
If you’re thinking about the beach, there’s literally one less than 50 steps from the property. However, the hotel doesn’t maintain this area. It is a public beach. And with that said, I suggest you walk a few blocks down to the beach near Sun Nao Casino which is well maintained by the hotel, absent of panhandlers, and full of beach chairs and umbrellas.
If the pool is more your thing, there’s one on the rooftop. Or, you can end up at one of the private islands like we did. Thoughts about that here.
For a clean, safe, comfy hotel that serves free breakfast and has strong WIFI, you can’t go wrong at Hampton by Hilton in Cartagena. Tell Henry and Harold I said hola!