Skip to main content

Featured

Walking Over Haddon in The Peak District

I confess I'm a fair weather walker, which means I often want to walk on our holidays, but whether we go is always dependent on the weather. I have a Goretex jacket but it's like a talisman. I own it, but I don't want to wear it and I hope vainly that just by having spent so much on it an schlepping it with me that it's going to ward off the rain! As you can see my travel planning involves a good deal of "magical thinking!" In California our cultural exuberance (paired with low standards) means we shamelessly call anything a "hike"  - as if we've scaled Everest in an afternoon. Here in England I'm not sure I even qualify as a "walker" because that denotes a level of seriousness I've failed at previously. Minimally it means you're wearing boots  and have an Ordnance Survey map (and possibly a compass) in your back pocket. I guess I'm more of stroller to be honest and I've blogged about my strolls all over the world; m…

Casa Medina, Bogota - A Four Seasons Hotel Review

The high-end Bogota hotel scene is changing quickly with a relatively new W Hotel,  a crop of smaller boutiques (including a Autograph hotel from Marriott) and two Four Seasons hotels opening within a year. The first of these, the historic Casa Medina, opened as a newly branded Four Seasons shortly before our trip. Fortuitously I was able to get a wonderful rate for a junior suite by combining their opening special with a free night promotion offered over Christmas. At  $200 it was a great deal, particularly given the fantastic upgraded. Unfortunately we couldn't return to the hotel in January as the prices  for a standard room had risen to twice what we'd paid for the junior suite in December, that's inflation!
The Casa Medina is relatively small hotel with about sixty rooms. There are some nice public spaces including a small interior garden (pictured at the bottom) but don't expect extensive grounds or a pool. I found it incredibly tasteful and was impressed by the service - in particular the housekeeping and Maurizio at the front desk. The reservations department was extremely prompt and excellent at answering my endless pre-arrival questions. They were kind enough to arrange to store our extra bags (full of our winter clothes from New York) for the weeks we were traveling through Colombia.
As you can see there were some nice historical details throughout...
We picked the Casa Medina because I always enjoy a nice hotel, but we also opted for it because of the safe location in Chapinero's Zona G which is known for its plethora of excellent restaurants (Zona Gastronomica). The location meant we could walk to dinner at night without worrying. Yes, the area is somewhat sterile - on the edge of the financial district - and it wouldn't generally be our first pick, but given what we had read we were inclined to be cautious in Bogota. and this strategy worked well.
We didn't eat in the hotel in the evening, but we liked the breakfast in the glass roofed atrium (above) which had a stunning plant wall and a retractable roof. D. particularly enjoyed the biscuits at the reception desk (for which he was competing with all the kids!) and I appreciated the bottles of water that were next to the front door. There was a lovely Christmas tree in the stairwell below while we were staying there.
Note: As usual I booked through a travel agent Whatahotel.com,  a Four Seasons Preferred Partner. If you're booking places like the Four Seasons and you don't use an agent you are making a mistake. The agent charges you the standard  rate but  your stay includes a variety of valuable amenities; free breakfasts (in the restaurant or room service,  an upgrade  on arrival if available and a credit for the property which is often  $100USD. 
There tends to be a very nice welcome too and in this case the property was extremely generous as you can see above. There was  a lovely rose bouquet, fresh orchids in the bathroom, a half bottle of  Chilean wine and a delicious  platter of Jamon Serrano, fabulous as we were a little peckish when we arrived. 

So what about the room...? We arrived to find that they had upgraded us to one of their distinctive historic suites. I was thrilled and I'm not sure that my photos do the room justice, it was really lovely with wooden panelling, stone pillars, a sitting area and fireplace as well as a dining room table and chairs. 
There was even a festive miniature Christmas tree on the coffee table, as you can see below!
There was also a particularly lovely large bathroom with a separate shower and bath as well as an enormous dressing area to the left of the tub. 
The unfortunate drawback of this room was the floor above squeaked and it kept me awake rather too late. There was also some traffic noise which several people had noted on TripAdvisor. However, they were responsive to our complaint and moved us without fuss to the modern wing in the back of the hotel. The room here was large but a little less characterful, with a smaller much less interesting bathroom. I was surprised to hear only a few rooms come with a separate bath and shower. But the new room was quieter which made me happy and it had two small balconies which were quite charming. I appreciated  both that they moved us, but also that they had tried to give us the more attractive room at the start, despite the squeaking floorboards!
Overall the hotel stay was a success, as we were visiting over the holidays we didn't see the horrendous Bogota traffic about which we'd read so much! Consequently the 20 minute ride into town wasn't bothersome at all. I'd highly recommend the Casa Medina if you can get a good rate, it's a well run hotel with excellent staff and a characterful feel. The neighborhood is certainly a good place to stay if you're interested in higher end dining. I had an excellent massage at the spa but it's a small operation and you should book in advance as there was only one 7pm slot available when I called the day before.
Tip: As a visitor  to Colombia on a tourist visa, who has booked a hotel room on a package (for example a reservation that includes breakfast) you are exempt from paying the 16% hotel tax. They will add it to your bill so it's your job to decline to pay it. Don't worry once you point it out they will admit you are correct and quickly remove it but the onus is on you to bring up the subject. If you don't address it you will probably end up paying it.



Comments

EXPLORE POPULAR POSTS BELOW...