What better way to kick off five months long term travelling in South America, than with a couple of nights surrounded by luxury at a gorgeous boutique hotel? That was my thinking behind booking us in for two nights at the stunning Casa Gaitán Cortés in Bogota. After a few stressful days packing up and preparing, not to mention a twenty plus hour journey, the ease and comfort of a luxurious, pre-booked hotel was too much of a draw for me.
Situated at the heart of Bogota’s trendy G-Zone near the financial district of the city, the location of Casa Gaitán Cortés is perfect for those who want to explore the city without staying right at the heart of the action. The area is fantastic; just behind the hotel is a quiet, leafy neighbourhood of red brick flat buildings and well-kept parks overlooked by the dark green forested slopes of Cerro Montserrate, while nearer by are lively (though not too busy) streets with cute boutique shops (there’s a fabulous clothes store just opposite the hotel) and a great range of bars and restaurants. Central Bogota is just a ten minute taxi drive away (costing less than £3), but it’s so nice to be able to drive away from the frenzied city centre at the end of the day and retreat to a more peaceful and pretty cool neighbourhood.
After the painfully long-haul flight, the pre-booked airport pick-up was a total godsend; I was so happy to see my name being held up on a piece of card I could have kissed the driver! The hotel was about a thirty minute drive from the airport in some heavy rush hour traffic, so although a taxi would have been cheaper I doubt the difference would have been huge – and pre-arranging it through the hotel took out all the hassle. When we pulled up outside the Casa Gaitán Cortés on the very quiet Calle 69, I was blown away immediately. The outside is a fairly small looking building with a gorgeous stonework facade that just looks fantastic.
The hotel was built and designed in the nineteen fifties by Jorge Gaitán Cortés, who was mayor of Bogota at the time. Although it’s since been renovated and updated – with some modern additions to bring the hotel into the 21st century – Casa Gaitán Cortés still maintains much of the original design and feels wonderfully elegant. It was so nice to be staying in a hotel that is so steeped in history – it feels like a true part of Bogota. The design, although dating back from the fifties, feels really modern; the interior is all dark wood and cream paint, and the amenities are fantastic. My favourite area has to be the entrance lobby: lots of comfy leather easy chairs dotted about under beautiful red lampshades, with the entire wall on the left hand side covered with greenery and flowers and draped in brightly coloured string lights. The effect is so cool and really mixes the fifties vibe with a modern, trendy twist. Just beyond that is a small terrace with pot plants, orange trees and patio furniture which is a great place to chill out with a drink at the end of a day’s sightseeing.
Our room, though, was the icing on the cake. I was tempted never to leave. We stayed in the suite, one of the best rooms in the hotel, which is huge and has a fabulous curved ceiling patterned with cut-out circles. The whole of one wall is taken up with floor to ceiling windows and patio doors which open out onto the enormous private roof terrace, with the glittering lights of Bogota in the distance. The king sized bed is massive and wonderfully comfy, covered with big, soft pillows and overlooked by a big flat screen TV which extends and folds out from the wall! Everything was impeccably clean when we arrived, and also fabulously decorated in black and white. There’s a giant desk of dark wood, and a huge wardrobe with mirrored doors. Everything about this room is big; right down to the bulbous chrome lampshades and the gigantic en suite bathroom which comes with not one, but two overhead showers! The sleek chrome, marble and glass interior of the bathroom really adds to the modern, clean and high-tech feel of the suite and feels truly luxurious.
The staff were absolutely fantastic throughout our stay, especially the receptionist, Laura – who spoke perfect English (a huge relief since my Spanish is nowhere near as good as I thought it was!) and who was so friendly, welcoming and helpful throughout our stay that I felt instantly at home. She was absolutely lovely, just like the rest of the hotel!
Unfortunately, while we were there, the hotel restaurant was being renovated so it was closed, but the hotel had an arrangement with a restaurant about two minutes down the road, Phillipe, who provided a set breakfast menu for Casa Gaitán Cortés guests. It was a continental breakfast, so lots of pastries and coffee, but the fresh orange juice was fantastic and the decor of the leafy terrace where we ate, with it’s tinkling fountain and Arabic lanterns, was gorgeous.
Our experience at the lovely Casa Gaitán Cortés was fantastic – I never wanted to leave! The hotel is absolutely perfect for anyone headed to Bogota and looking for a little luxury just outside the busy city centre.
Hotel Casa Gaitan Cortes – Phone: (571) 7452871 – Address: Calle 69 #4-97 Bogotá – Colombia