You'll be ﬂoating on cloud nine at this exceptional boutique hotel, tucked beside Plaza de la Santisima Trinidad in the heart of Cartagena's rustic barrio Getsemani.
The recently renovated 17th century mansion Casa El Carretero is a serious ﬁnd, offering the kind of style and service that places it a cut above most of the bargain base camps in Getsemani.
Fusing the tropical ingredients of exotic Indonesian design with the Moorish-style architecture that was shipped over with the Spanish, the stunning interior grabs you ﬁrst.
Wander up the white Moroccan-style staircase that wraps around a lush vertical garden, surrounded by three rooms on the second ﬂoor - Java, Sumatra and Bali.
It's well worth splashing out for one of the two spacious suites overlooking the bohemian Getsemani neighborhood.
Bali beats its Indonesian neighbours boasting a high ceiling, king size bed and plush marble shower.
Named after the Carretero's that have for centuries, ferrying building materials around the walled city in their three-wheeled carts, the Calle is one of the best placed to enjoy the unique lived-in atmosphere that makes Getsemani stand out from other barrios in the walled city.
Not only stylish, the rooms are extremely comfortable, it's a neat opton to bring your whole clan as the entire hotel can be rented out from just over USD$600 a night (low season USD$615).
But the real draw to this hidden gem is the rooftop pool with a near-360-degree view of the colonial city.
Laze by the water on shaded cream sofas as palm trees rustle in the breeze, and soft chanting from a nearby church sermon or the salsa soundtrack of the colourful neighbourhood wafts past.
Impeccable service also sets this hotel apart, with a gourmet breakfast made to order by the in-house chef. Techofiles will also be happy with computers and WiFi available 24-7, and iPod hook-ups poolside to set your own ambience.
The handy location is just a hop skip and a jump to the best restaurants and nightspots in town, but far enough away to escape the cacophony of late-night revelers.
THIS IS WHAT WE LOVE
* Crystal-clear azure rooftop pool with comfy shaded reading couches
* Central location in Getsemani - close to affordable restaurants, Trattoria di Silvio
* Stylish and comfortable rooms
* Intimate atmosphere
* Fantastic gourmet breakfast
* Macs and WiFi available to guests
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
* Standard rooms are small and not appropriate for families
* Book well in advance if you want the house for New Year's Eve in Cartagena
* There's no obvious sign so finding the hotel is difficult. Make sure you have the address at hand and tell the taxi driver to take you to the Church of la Santisima Trinidad. (it's the first left by the plaza)
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