We made a last minute decision to spend the weekend in Guatape. When we decided to go, we did not realize that it was a Colombian holiday weekend. I had read that people frequent Gutatape on the weekends, so I didn’t think much of it when there was not much hotel availability.
My go-to sites for finding rooms – hostelworld and airbnb didn’t turn up many results. I then went on booking.com to see if they had any rooms available. There was not much showing up so Andy and I discussed staying at Hotel Los Recuerdos, a fancier hotel, for 1 night, then switching to a hostel the 2nd night. I agreed as we had been roughing it on the road and I was looking forward to having a little bit of luxury, even if only for 1 night.
Since we were paying more than double our budget to stay in the hotel, I had high expectations for our room.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement:
- The room itself seemed basic and dated for the price that we paid.
- The shower was freezing cold. We’ve stayed in many places that were a fraction of the price that had warmer showers.
- There was no wi-fi in the rooms. When we asked the hotel why, they said that it doesn’t reach that far – not a good answer in my mind. It would be a very simple fix to add an additional router to the building.
- The bed was not very comfortable. Again, we have stayed in places that were a fraction of the cost which had very comfortable mattresses.
- There was no heat/air conditioning. This is a standard thing in parts of South America but again, for the price we paid, I would have liked to have a nice warm room instead of having to lay under the covers to warm up.
I’ll give it to the hotel, they really put a lot of effort into making the common areas look nice. There were several pools which were well maintained and looked quite inviting. We had brought our swimsuits but it was simply too cold to get into the pools. We toyed with the idea of going into the hot tubs but the water level was very low and the water didn’t look as clean as I would have liked so we passed.
Breakfast was included in our room rate which was nice. It was a buffet style breakfast which was good and included several hot food options, but nothing to write home about. The high point for us were the really flavorful juice options.
We ended up eating dinner at the hotel as it was raining and we didn’t want to venture out. The dinner was a buffet style which was fine, but for the price paid, we could have done better going to town, even factoring in the transportation costs.
The location of the hotel was a little removed from town, while close to La Piedra del Penon, the main attraction in Guatape, it was quite a distance to anything else. In order to get to town you had 3 options: taxi, hour long walk or a shared jeep. We always opted for a shared jeep which were quite inexpensive (1,500 pesos or 50 cents) and got us to town quickly.
The hotel has a reputation of being the swanky hotel in Guatape. When we told people where we were staying they always responded “oh that’s fancy” or “oh that’s a nice hotel”. While I can see from an outsider’s perspective why they would say that, I honestly think it was a lower-end hotel if you took away some of the flashy, common areas.
Being a higher-end hotel, I expected that all or most of the front desk employees would speak English. We were both very surprised when there was only 1 person that worked at the hotel who spoke English. While I realize the language in Colombia is Spanish, I am still surprised that there is no secondary language. Not only for native English speakers, but for all of the other nationalities who use English to communicate.
If I were to return to Gutatape, I would not go on a holiday weekend, opting to go during the middle of the week when the town is quite quiet. I would stay at Mi Casa Guatape Hostel, where we stayed our second night. It was a fraction of the cost, the location was roughly the same and the hosts were amazing.