This is the ninth in a series of posts chronicling my January 2018 trip to Colombia. You can read an overview/preview here.
As a Chase Hyatt Visa cardholder, I get a free night at a category 1-4 Hyatt property each year. To be honest, it’s often difficult to use. There just aren’t a lot of Hyatts, and most of the ones in places you want to go are category 5 or higher. Nonetheless, I’ve found some great uses of it over the years, the Park Hyatt Saigon, the Grand Hyatt Berlin (twice), the Park Hyatt Hamburg, and the Grand Hyatt Melbourne. So when I realized the Hyatt Regency Cartagena was actually only a Category 2 property, I figured it would be a good use (it was going for about $200 a night for the cheapest room), as the location was not far from the Intercontinental, just up the beach in Bocagrande, closer to the walled city. I’ve consistently been impressed with Hyatt family properties. I have just low-tier status which doesn’t come with a lot of benefits, but my stay at the Hyatt Regency Cartagena reminded me that, when traveling solo especially, you don’t need a suite or a lounge to have a great stay. The room was beautiful and spacious, everyone I interacted with was friendly, the facilities were clean, and the location was fine. I would definitely stay here again. I didn’t spend a ton of time at the hotel on my one-night stay, but still had enough I felt was worth sharing.
The Hyatt is very new, having opened only at the end of 2016. It’s in a tower shared with apartments and connected to a mall. When you enter in the ground level, you ride up a set of elevators to the 12th floor, which is the lobby of the hotel itself. Everything looked new and fresh and had a very old-world colonial Caribbean vibe. Check-in stood in complete contrast to that at the Intercontinental; the agent was very friendly, asking me how my travel was and whether it was my first time in Cartagena—and when a guy busted up asking for an extra key she politely asked him to wait until she was finished helping me.
I had been upgraded to an ocean view corner room on the 17th Floor. It was simply stunning, with a large king bed, local-inspired artwork, a corner desk and chair, and a separate sitting chair and ottoman. The décor felt a lot warmer than that of the Intercontinental, while also remaining clean and modern. There were a ton of outlets and motion-activated lighting.
The bathroom was massive, with a separate W/C, a stall shower, and lots of toiletries. One confusing thing was that the only bottles of water were large ones with a price on them, but the hangtag had in tiny letters at the bottom (“Complimentary for World of Hyatt Elite Members” or something which I didn’t see at first).
One plus of the corner room was that I had not one, but two different views of the ocean – one looking south down the sand towards the Intercontinental and one straight out at the sea.
I’ll be honest: having stayed at Grand Hyatts, Hyatt Regencies, and Park Hyatts, I have no idea what differentiates them from one another. The layout of the room at the Hyatt Regency Cartagena was very similar to that in most Park Hyatts, and the amenities seemed similar.
The gym was really nice, spacious with lots of cardio machines in an open airy space with windows on 3 sides. The weight area was a bit crowded and it seemed there might be private training for non-hotel guests there.
There is a very nice pool complex with several small pools, including an adults-only, but it was cloudy and muggy on my morning there, so I didn’t really take advantage. But I snapped some pics and it was very nice.
One word of warning – the mall next door is not a good place to go for breakfast; to the extent places were open in the food court, there was no air conditioning. Follow the advice from my earlier post on Cartagena and Bocagrande.
Check-out was a bit hectic as there was no clear place to queue for the five separate desks, but at least every desk was staffed. The agent apologized for the wait and the bill was accurate (zero dollars). So, yeah, a great short stay.