Within essentially the most ancient luxurious lodge in Cartagena, Colombia

Go back and forth to Colombia from the U.S. has boomed lately, facilitated through a variety of direct routes from a number of main U.S. airports to each Bogota and Cartagena. And lots of lodge teams are increasing their footprint within the area in consequence. Sofitel not too long ago each renovated one in every of its present homes, the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, and opened the doorways to a brand new one, Sofitel Barú Calablanca Seashore Lodge.

The Sofitel Legend Santa Clara is regarded as through many to be one of the iconic and ancient homes in Cartagena. And lots of occasions that happened on the construction the place the Sofitel Santa Clara is living now had an immediate impact over the town within the final 400 years. Additionally a well-liked common keep amongst royals and celebrities, the ancient lodge has advanced to satisfy the fashionable wishes of vacationers, maximum obviously during the fresh renovation of 25 visitor rooms.

The Legend suite on the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara

Courtesy of Sofitel

When the construction was once first built and based as a convent in 1621, Cartagena was once a far other town than the only vacationers consult with lately—even the outdated town well-liked by vacationers. The stone partitions that encompass the outdated town didn’t exist in the ones occasions, and weren’t constructed for no less than some other 90 years. So within the earliest days of the town, being proper at the coast, the convent was once solely secure through the partitions surrounding the valuables, and frequently confronted the brunt of attacking pirates on the lookout for gold and the treasures that the Spanish already looted from different communities and have been therefore put into garage in Cartagena ahead of being shipped again to Spain.

When architects visited the website the repair the construction and switch it right into a lodge within the Nineteen Nineties, they discovered dozens of cannonballs within the former yard (which is the place the swimming pool is now). The lodge nonetheless makes use of those cannonballs, and visitors would possibly spot them at more than a few issues across the assets, frequently conserving open doorways and home windows.

The flooring have been restored very in a similar fashion to the unique within the convent as smartly the partitions, columns, and lots of the ceilings. (Picket ceilings, particularly, are most often the primary architectural main points to turn into broken when deserted). However the ceiling above the foyer when visitors first input is the one one with the unique wooden, which can also be noticed with an inscription dated to 1788.

Just about the entire ornamental furnishings and paintings (i.e. desks, chairs, Catholic paintings) across the lodge, out of doors of the 125 overall visitor rooms, have been came upon at the assets right through the construction’s recovery. One instance is a picket statue, appeared through many historians as abnormal given its inventive taste and loss of clothes, built within the symbol of Santa Clara de Asís (St. Clare of Assisi), the founding father of the Catholic order to which the nuns belonged. (There are some items of furnishings that have been taken from different homes across the town, however have been nonetheless from the colonial length.)

However the principle problem for the architects was once to revive the unique sense of the convent. They discovered a building over some other (and some other over some other) as a result of this position was once now not just a convent, but it surely was once additionally a prison, an army citadel, and maximum not too long ago, a health facility, which was once deserted for a number of years ahead of the lodge recovery.

And since images clearly didn’t exist right through the time the construction was once a convent (for more or less 240 years), there is not any visible for comparability—solely research of the nuns’ way of life. That’s the one foundation present researchers have concerning the day-to-day lives of the nuns, particularly for the reason that they have been cloistered, so there is not any strategy to be 100% certain the whole lot that came about inside the ones partitions between the mid-Seventeenth to mid-Nineteenth century.

At the terrace with the Amaral suite on the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara.

Courtesy of Sofitel

The nuns who lived within the convent have been cloistered, that means they couldn’t be noticed through others. Thus, there have been a variety of architectural methods, to be able to talk, to make sure anonymity. For instance, the home windows have been built upper than the common peak of a girl at the moment, permitting daylight to go into however combating the ladies from having the ability to glance out of doors. Moreover, the lodge does now not have any authentic balconies dealing with out of doors—solely internally.

One ground down from the foyer, there’s a basement with a sequence of tunnels, which now hosts places of work for the lodge gross sales division and the parking zone. But if it was once a convent, this is the place the nuns would move to cover in terms of pirate invasions, which right through the ones occasions was once common to the purpose of normality.

El Coro, the living room bar—the place many visitors can come for a cocktail within the early night, revel in reside tune on weekends, and even watch a football fit right through the center of the day—had a up to now existence because the convent chapel. Visitors will even get a glimpse of the crypt proper beneath the bar thru an illuminated, even though blocked off, stairwell. (Every other native amusing reality: The crypt additionally has an important function within the novel Of Love and Different Demons through Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who has used many websites inside Cartagena’s outdated town for settings in his books.)

The door within the bar that opens to the road, thru the place consumers who aren’t lodge visitors can input, has noticed numerous motion—together with an get away of a number of nuns right through an area army invasion as smartly the coming of French pirates, which brought about maximum spiritual teams (together with the nuns) in addition to instructional and political figures to take shelter in some other the town a number of hours away for no less than a yr. Upon their go back, the nuns discovered the convent looted in addition to most commonly destroyed. A number of years later, Cartagena was once rebuilt and extra ready for international assaults, together with the thwarting of an tried English invasion.

Proper subsequent to the lodge bar is the 1621 Eating place, named for the construction’s beginning, which gives increased advantageous eating with wine pairings within the night. Visitors will have to additionally get a have a look at the wine room, the place they are able to ebook tastings with the lodge’s sommelier for each tastings of wines from South The united states in addition to rums made in Colombia. However within the convent technology, it’s protected to mention that this space wasn’t as glamorous. Sure, it was once additionally a eating room again then for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—however all foods have been ate up in overall silence. And lately’s wine cellar was once then the personal eating room for the mum awesome. (And the kitchen simply around the courtyard remains to be a kitchen lately, however now for the eating place the place visitors can in reality revel in breakfast, lunch, and both alfresco or throughout the convenience of the cool air-con—all whilst speaking up to they prefer.

The El Claustro eating place on the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara.

Courtesy of Sofitel

Nowadays, snoozing requirements on the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara are as sumptuous because it will get, with plush bedding and comforters (and really robust air-con) throughout its TK guestrooms and TK suites. Now not so, sadly, for the nuns who lived right here masses of years in the past. They slept in a single massive dormitory with a number of entrances, and every nun had her personal mattress. However the mom awesome, the nun in control of the entire others inside the convent, had a mattress one foot upper than the opposite beds within the dormitory in order that she will have a large view of all of the room. Numbers numerous through the years, however the convent had anyplace between 100 and 200 nuns at any given time within the convent’s historical past. The spot the place the mum awesome had her snoozing preparations is now a duplex suite, which is frequently well-liked by bridal events for 2 causes. One is the historic importance to the room. The opposite is that it’s proper subsequent to the church—most often the website of the marriage—so solely that visitor suite is aware about the loud noises coming from the venue.

Within a junior suite on the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara.

Courtesy of Sofitel

The nuns resided on the convent in Cartagena’s outdated town from 1621 to 1841. Then got here a brand new political energy in Colombia, and the brand new management at the moment didn’t want the Catholic Church, the use of a legislation already in use in Mexico to expropriate the homes of the Catholic Church. Principally, if the Catholic Church may just now not end up that they purchased the valuables, the federal government took it again. And because the convent was once now not purchased through the Catholic Church (as an alternative funded through a rich native noblewoman named Catalina de Cabrera), the nuns have been pressured out. Maximum of them moved to Havana, Cuba, the place they began a brand new convent. However a few of them moved to Turbaco, roughly seven miles clear of Cartagena, the place the order nonetheless is living lately.

From that time on, the construction had a tumultuous historical past, beginning off as an army citadel that hosted a prison and in addition served as an artillery to retailer guns. Over twenty years later, the federal government constructed a health facility within the yard the place the pool space is now, with the surgical operation proper within the center, roughly the place the poolside bar serving pisco sours and mojitos is now. (And the website the place the So Neatly wellness spa, showcasing widespread luxurious French skincare logo Sisley merchandise, is lately was the morgue, in reality giving new that means to feeling revived after a facial or therapeutic massage.)

The construction the place lots of the visitor rooms are lately are a part of the construction built for the health facility, which solely had 3 ground. However taking a look on the construction now, it’s transparent there are 5 flooring. This is for the reason that lodge architects took benefit of the extraordinarily excessive ceilings right through the health facility technology, redesigning the construction so as to add two extra flooring.

The Botero presidential suite on the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara.

Courtesy of Sofitel

One luxurious suite that does retain very excessive ceilings is one within the authentic construction that overlooks the pool: the Botero Suite. Necessarily the lodge’s presidential suite, the suite features a main bedroom, a residing space, a kitchenette, a complete rest room, and a hallway rest room. The room is particularly important because it was once designed through the lauded Colombian artist Francisco Botero himself along side his daughter Lina Botero. (Even though lots of the artwork within the room are licensed replicas of his paintings.)

The Sofitel Barú Calablanca Seashore Lodge is positioned at the japanese a part of the island of Barú, a 20-45 minute travel from Cartagena through boat.

Courtesy of Sofitel

Following the lodge’s recovery from 1990 to 1994, the lodge opened because the Sofitel Santa Clara. It has since been rebranded because the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara given the construction’s historic importance. There are solely 5 different Sofitel Legend homes—all housed in ancient structures—world wide: the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi in Vietnam; the Sofitel Legend Previous Cataract in Aswan, Egypt; the Sofitel Legend Folks’s Grand Xian in China; the Sofitel Legend The Grand in Amsterdam; and the Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo in Panama Town, which is able to open subsequent yr.

Within a awesome visitor room on the Sofitel Barú Calablanca seaside lodge.

Courtesy of Sofitel

Sofitel’s latest assets within the Cartagena space, the Calablanca seaside lodge at the island of Barú, is a stark distinction to the Santa Clara, providing a far other however similarly sumptuous revel in.

To begin, the brand new beachfront assets at the Isla de Barú is just a yr outdated. And whilst it’s imaginable to get there through land (a 90-minute power from the town), one of the best ways to get there may be through sea: both a 45-minute catamaran trip or a 20-minute speedboat trip, the latter of which is solely to be had on weekends. However Sofitel can prepare delivery between the 2 homes, together with rides to and from the quay, streamlining the voyage for visitors.

A glimpse at L. a. Pergola, the rooftop bar on the Sofitel Barú Calablanca seaside lodge.

Courtesy of Sofitel

One essential uniformity throughout the entire 187 rooms and suites is that every gives a wide ranging view of the Caribbean sea. And all lodging include a deluxe rest room (some with customized bathtubs and a jacuzzi), HDTVs, Bose SoundDocks, Nespresso espresso machines, L’Occitane toiletries, Sofitel’s signature mattresses and bedding, air-con, and high-speed Wi-Fi around the assets. Seashore chairs and umbrellas are setup now not solely all around the seaside but additionally at a number of swimming pools on a couple of ranges, together with each swimming pools designated for households and adults-only.

There are 3 eating places onsite, together with two indoors with air-con. Bahia, an outside eating place with quite a few coloration and lovers, serves native favourite dishes and cocktails. Humo is a Peruvian-Jap idea open for dinner, serving twists on Jap dishes with Peruvian (but additionally Colombian) twists and flavors. And the lodge’s eponymous eating place, Calablanca, is an all-day affair, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Further facilities come with the wellness spa, a leading edge gym, and a boutique with clothes through native designers.

The Sofitel Barú Calablanca seaside lodge at daybreak.

Courtesy of Sofitel

Beginning charges on the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara vary from $340 in keeping with evening for a vintage visitor room to $2,380 in keeping with evening for the Botero presidential suite. Charges for the Sofitel Barú Calablanca vary from $285 in keeping with evening for a awesome visitor room to $2,000 in keeping with evening for the presidential suite.