Forget the low-budget, tired, old-style Holiday Inns of the 1960s – 1980s, and take a look at the InterContinental Hotels Group’s newest Colombian addition, the 14-story Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros. It’s not your Mother’s Holiday Inn.
First announced in 2007, Holiday Inn kicked off a $1 billion worldwide relaunch program to create a more contemporary portfolio, and Latin America Holiday Inns, including the new, skyscraping glass building, the Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros, have incorporated those features, offering a design that is refreshing, nautical, and welcoming.
Located less than 3 miles from the Rafael Nuñez International Airport, this full-service beachfront property is located in the upscale neighborhood of Los Morros about 5 miles from the Old City of Cartagena.
The Holiday Inn Cartagena had only opened a few days before I arrived back in September (2011), and the property had the look and smell of new.
Start with a nautically themed reception area with a comfortable seating area with overstuffed ocean blue couches just to the right of check-in, but no time to lounge as the friendly receptionist whisked me in quickly.
Part of the new Holiday Inn re-design is to focus on the arrival and welcome, and from the open spaces of the lobby to the welcoming smile at the front desk, this property successfully integrated all of the above!
The 140-room property offers 4 types of accommodations, Superior View, King Standard, Queen Standard and 2 Executive Suites. All rooms feature super-comfortable double, queen or king-sized beds, and a sitting area with a lounge chair. The complimentary wi-fi throughout the hotel is another bonus as is the in-room a work desk with an ergonomic chair, and data ports.
The full-service restaurant, Blue Lounge, is located just off the lobby. Again nautically themed, its menu features Mediterranean and Caribbean cuisine. I sampled the Octopus brûlée, an innovative, tender creamy dish with asparagus, corny syrup and caramel crust, created by Executive Chef Miguel Angel. Another tantalizing menu item was the Adam & Eve Sirloin Temptation, a sirloin topped with an apple and port reduction!
The Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros gives guests all the necessary on-site amenities, including business center, fitness center and swimming pool, to entertain while on the property, yet it’s close enough to Old Cartagena to be convenient.
The beachfront property also offers access to the beach, but the pool is perfectly designed with a view of the water.
This was the third Colombian Holiday Inn that I visited on this trip, and I have to report that I’m pleasantly surprised by the upscale ambiance. The Holiday Inn Cartagena reminds of the Embassy Suites and Marriott Courtyards of today, the perfect combination of business guests during the week and transitioning to leisure on the weekends.
And don’t let the Secret Service scandal keep you away from the beautiful port city of Cartagena.
Rack rates given May 2012 range from Standard room USD $180 to Executive USD $300, depending on season.
Check prices online at Expedia.