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Best Hotel In The World Colombia
I do not know what to expect from the first trip to Colombia Month, but I certainly did not expect to find a new favorite hotel in the world.
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My wife, Allie, and I headed to Hotel Las Islas Baru near Cartagena almost on a whim, looking to find an affordable, but still fun place to take a leisurely walk to the ocean after spending a few days exploring some of the busiest cities. in Colombia. What you’ll find are incredible private pool villas and treetop bungalows, private beach retreats on the island, and grand yet intimate resorts that make you feel immersed in nature…yet pampered. higher ends. Property.
It’s just too good not to share. And I believe this is one of the best ways to use the new $200 annual hotel credit on the Platinum Card® from American Express to turn what was already a budget luxury into an absolute steal.
If you’re thinking of escaping to the white sand beaches of the Colombian coast, Hotel Las Islas Baru is what you’re looking for – to a T.
Hotel Las Islas is located in the Caribbean Sea on the coast of the Colombian island of Barú, not far from the famous city of Cartagena. It’s about an hour’s drive from central Cartagena, although you can also get there by boat (or even helicopter!)
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It is a secluded resort, built in a mangrove forest that hugs the shores of the Caribbean Sea. Even though it’s only an hour or so from the bustling city of Cartagena, it feels like a world away.
Once you get to the property, it feels huge… and almost magical. At some point you may feel lost in the rainforest. Next, you see the crystal blue sea.
Beyond all the villas, restaurants, amenities, shops, and activities, it’s a blast just walking (or biking) through the resort grounds, meandering from trail to trail through the forest.
There are fun places to get lost throughout the resort, such as the hammock area overlooking the sea.
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The resort has a total of 57 private villas: about half with private pools are built along the sea, while the other half are built in the forest as treetop bungalows. There are different sizes with different facilities to choose from, plus some special villas like one with direct access to the sea.
The treetop bungalows are really cool, but the oceanfront pool villas are perfect. More about our lodge later…
Although it may not be in the name, Hotel Las Islas Baru eco-hotel: They are very proud to protect the environment and the mangroves that the resort calls home. This means a pool of sea water, an emphasis on responsible water use and leaving the mangroves as undisturbed as possible.
But they are not skimping on the facilities that you would expect in a top-rated resort. There is a dedicated dive center for those who want to go reef, craft shops made by local artisans, coffee and tea shops, full service spas, gyms and more. Hotel Las Islas seems to have thought of everything.
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Of course, there is a beach in the center of the resort. Although it is not big, it is good enough with a small pocket for extra privacy. And yes, this is one of those perfect white sand beaches with blue water. You can take a paddle board or kayak here for a spin around the bay or just relax.
While we did not do much beyond just soaking up the sun in this incredible atmosphere, there is also an extensive list of activities available at the Resort: some free, others paid. You can pay for a guided tour of the local mangroves, take a free night tour of the nearby bioluminescent bay, go on an “astrotour” from the hotel’s rooftop telescope, take a Colombian cooking class, and more.
Or you might make a new friend. Each hotel employee gave a different name to this little monkey, who likes to hang out with guests in the main reception area, but is incredibly friendly – even mischievous.
For me, this is perfect. I can’t think of a better setup for a hotel room. Yes, this is our entire lodge. All of us.
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Each of the 57 villas at Hotel Las Islas Baru is not only numbered, but also named, in honor of one of the many Colombian islands. We were in villa #17, named Providencia. Each of these ocean villas has a large deck with a dining table, sun loungers and a private infinity pool with water flowing into the sea below. It is beautiful and peaceful.
But it’s not just outer space that makes it so big. While the villa itself is not massive, it is absolutely beautiful. There is a large room with a desk, two closets, a safe, lots of storage and even a small sitting area. Above the overhead fan, the room has excellent air conditioning as well as a ceiling-mounted TV. There is also a well-stocked minibar.
The bathroom is also big. While there is no bathtub, there is a double bathtub and a large shower. The bathroom is equipped with beautiful L’Occitane fixtures and the toilet is also equipped with a Japanese-style bidet seat.
Perhaps the villa’s favorite amenity is the two dedicated bicycles – labeled with room numbers and all – that you can use to get around the resort.
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The beach at the resort itself is beautiful. But there’s another stretch of sand at Hotel Las Islas … on a private island called Isleta.
This small island is a five minute boat ride from the resort and is free. You also don’t need a reservation through the hotel: Just go to the main marina reception area and board the boat, which runs continuously from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or so.
Isleta is actually a very large private villa that can be rented out for large groups. It is also home to a house called “Casa Navegante”.
There is also a nice pier that juts out to sea, another good place to get some sun.
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There is a bar on site at Isleta, but no food. Hotel Las Islas Baru has been solved well: We ordered lunch via WhatsApp with the hotel, which was delivered in an hour or so.
Hotel Las Islas Baru is full of surprises when it comes to food and drink… in a good way.
Let’s get to the main thing: Price. You usually pay a price (and a big one) to eat and drink at a five-star resort in a fairly remote location with no other dining options. So surprised that the price is the same as Cartagena.
A Colombian beer at Las Islas costs 15,000 pesos – a hair less than $4. A meal at lunch or dinner can cost anywhere from $12 to $25 or more. You get the picture: While it’s definitely expensive compared to cheaper places in Colombia, it’s still pretty affordable.
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With the exception of the beach lunch at Isleta, each meal is held at a different location within the resort. Alternatively, you can dine in your room through 24-hour room service – usually in 30 minutes or so.
Breakfast every morning is at Restaurante Tía Coco, which is set above the water in another stunning setting (stop me if you’ve heard of it before).
Breakfast is a two-way affair. First, you order a drink and a ready-made egg that you want from the waiter. Don’t miss the freshly made arepa, which can be filled with eggs and cheese. Then there’s the amazing buffet spread of fresh fruit, baked goods and meats and cheeses. Freshly squeezed juices are also a highlight.
Lunch is served in the main beach area at a restaurant called Restaurante & Bar Choco. Don’t miss the Mona Prieta ceviche, which I may or may not have for lunch every day of our stay.
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And dinner has been served at Restaurante Las Guacas in the main club house, well designed and tastefully decorated multi-level open-air venue.
One night I had Carthagena seafood with patacones and rice – and my husband had it the next night. It was very good: We both agreed it was one of the best things we have eaten in the whole trip to Colombia.
Then up the stairs for a nightcap at the third bar