Sofitel Santa Clara

The Santa Clara was built in 1621—and you can tangibly feel its history when you walk in through the sweeping entrance, complete with the original 16th-century beams, a stunning interior courtyard, and religious relics from its past life. It’s a landmark in the heart of Cartagena’s walled city with views over the Caribbean Sea.

Once a convent, it housed the Poor Clares before they were evicted in 1861. For over a century, the building witnessed history and served as a charity hospital, prison, and medical school. In 1995, it became the iconic Santa Clara hotel. It also served as a muse for literary great Gabriel Garcia Márquez—the onsite crypt was mentioned in his masterpiece, Of Love and Other Demons.

The 125 guest-room and 15-suite property is a perfect blend of history and luxury—and feels like a tropical palace. These include classic rooms, superior rooms with terraces, and deluxe rooms with butler service. All rooms have air conditioning, sound systems, a coffee station, a minibar, private balconies or terraces, and a rain shower. Some overlook the Caribbean Sea—and from the second-floor terrace, there are sprawling, interrupted sea views.

One of the best parts of staying at the Santa Clara? The staff here are notably friendly and knowledgeable. Plus they offer a butler service with staff available via WhatsApp from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. There is a large pool (the largest in the historical center!) and restaurant, which we think makes this a great option for those traveling with kids (many hotels in the old city are quite boutique and may be too small, and quiet for younger kids).

There are cruiser bikes available for exploring the city and the top of the wall. It’s also a great option for couples looking for a larger property with shops, a full-service spa, and livelier nightlife.

A delicious breakfast is served on the patio around the courtyard—a simply stunning setting. You can choose a classy buffet (with a special spread for kids).

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