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“Paradiso”

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Agua Bed & Breakfast - Baru Island
Ranked #3 of 11 Isla Baru B&B and Inns
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Paradiso”
Reviewed 27 November 2013

We had an excellent stay at this remote and lovely spot. The ultimate getaway if you're looking for peace and quiet. The food was great, the service was excellent and the casitas were beautiful. The location is great on a nice bay (no beach), but the staff are happy to take you to a nearby pristine beach or out snorkeling or just touring in the boat.
There are a couple of cons worth mentioning so that you go in eyes open.
First, the casitas are up a long flight of stairs, so if you have mobility issues I would give this resort a pass.
Secondly, it's on an island, so there's no access to amenities and the staff can't fulfill all requests. I found the wine list lacking (there were only two choices, one white and one red) and the bar didn't have any champagne (haha, well, they found a bottle for me in a storage room, but it wasn't on the regular menu). This isn't a huge issue and can probably be easily solved by planning ahead a little. If you like a certain type of liquor, snack, or fancy cocktail, or have specific dietary restrictions it might be worth asking ahead of time (ask Andreas or Luis) so that they can stock up in anticipation of your needs.
Finally, there are only two casitas on the island, so it's very quiet. That said, it can be really weird when you're a couple there for a romantic getaway and a group of people shows up to occupy the other casita. Your rooms are totally private and you do have private terraces and a plunge pool, but if you want to be by the ocean that is totally common space. Obviously, at any other resort you have to share with lots of other people, but somehow it's weirder when it's just two distinct groups.
From interacting with the staff it's clear that they are committed to providing the best possible experience for their guests and are working hard to fix some of the smaller issue with the property. I thought it was an excellent place - a bit of a quirky paradise!

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jen G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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33 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Edinburgh, UK
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 November 2013 via mobile

Stayed for 3 nights at Agua which has just been taken over by the San Augustin in Cartagena. We were looked after by the new manager Andres Tejada who is working hard to improve the service and ambience with a completely new team. The place is stunning and the rooms were clean, spacious and well appointed. You can eat on the balcony of your room or down at the sea side- food was simple but good. You are brought fresh water at every opportunity and the service was always attentive. We really enjoyed our stay and thank Andres for his tireless work. You do have to be fit for the climb to the rooms and boat tours are an extra which we did not realise.

Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank edinburghdoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2013

Pros: beautiful location, very remote, good food.
Cons: horrible service, poop in pool, dirty bed sheets, dirty towels, bed bugs that owner claimed don't exist in Colombia. Turns out they do.
WARNING- stay elsewhere!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Beth W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 November 2012

Worst operated and managed property I have ever stayed at. After years of extensive travel. Having been to over 50 countries, and hundreds of hotels, I have never experienced such a pathetic display of incompetence on the part of management.
There were so many problems. The place was a disaster. Stained sheets, fecal matter in the pool, no hot water, etc...
When I brought some of these issues to the attention of the staff, I received a call from managment(who are not located on the premise), who spent their time denying and arguing with me that what I was saying wasnt true.

Room Tip: The property is located in a beautiful area, and all the rooms have great views. However, that does...
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Don W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sergio c, Propietario at Agua Bed & Breakfast - Baru Island, responded to this review, 24 January 2013
Google Translation
Estimado Cliente, Muchas gracias por su comentario, esto hace que valoremos mas lo que tenemos y ofrecemos. Solo quiero agregar que considero su comentario falto de criterio y fundamento. De manera muy respetuosa se le aclaró a usted cada detalle y a lo cual usted respondió no de muy buena manera y aludiendo que tenia amigos que acreditaban lo que usted decía a través de fotos enviadas por usted. Y finalmente usted accedió a seguir en el Hotel pues había quedado tranquilo con la explicación, de lo contrario nada le obligaba a quedarse si estaba tan mal para usted. respetado Señor creo que 10 años de funcionamiento nos dan un criterio muy valido para explicarle a usted que no siempre el cliente tiene la razón. Sin embargo, agradezco sus comentarios.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Madrid, Spain
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 September 2011

First off, the setting is spectacular and the boat ride out quite thrilling. The hillside rooms are also beautiful (though a tiring hike up the hill. Please don't stay here if you are not in shape!) These would be the only reasons I would award two stars instead of one.
The hotel has no management whatsoever in situ. All management functions are farmed out to the main hotel on the mainland. This means that any problem arising on the island can be solved only after numerous calls from the staff on Baru back to the mainland. The staff on the island lack basic people skills or the simple common sense to solve problems. As I mentioned to the management - if you don't trust them to do a check-in or check-out (you do this on the mainland) why do you entrust the with my holiday experience?
You have to order all food before leaving for the hotel and any changes or special requests set the staff into confusion. A change from a dinner order of two pasta and two fish to three pasta and one fish (made at breakfast - just in case!) resulted in one of us simply being served no food at all! the upside was that i can say he ate the best of any of us that night, as the pasta was something Mr Heinz would have been proud of.
Staff are entirely reactive rather than proactive. We had to hunt for them to order drinks (though we were the only people there!), negotiating various visiting family members and loudly barking dogs to find them. They did not suggest trips to the more interesting coral beaches because it was easier for them to deposit us on the nearby pretty but uninspiring sand spits (though picking us up proved rather more problematic - we were left in pitch darkness with two kids on a beach when they returned late).
The hotel is expensive - but we know that before setting sail and it seems pointless to comment on that. Nor will i say "one expects better for these prices" because i would have expected better at ANY price. The hotel simply is not a hotel in any meaningful sense. It has no management in place and cannot function properly until it does. One does not look forward to dinner because the food is poorly prepared and presented. Chasing around after staff for every little thing means you cannot truly relax.
I do hope the owners address these issues, because the hotel could be lovely - but there is a long long way to go.

Room Tip: Rooms are Lovely - but beware a very steep climb!
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank MadridAnglo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 September 2011

We spent two days & one night at Aqua Baru and it was great experience - very glad we went!! Just about everything that's said in the other reviews posted is true - it IS expensive, but you know that when you book it. We were provided with prices for all the meal choices before we booked so there were no surprises. The boat ride out was just beautiful - the boat is immaculate and very chic. It is true that none of the staff spoke any english and I would've been completely lost if my boyfriend wasn't fluent in Spanish. I can't decide whether the staff was good or not - they often treated us as though we were bothering them, but at other times were very friendly. It felt very different than staying at other similarly priced resorts because of the staff. They were there, but they weren't super-accommodating.

The rooms were very beautifully decorated and very very clean. Make sure you close the glass doors at dusk to keep out the bugs and close the door to the bathroom tight since the bathroom window has no glass. You will find a lot of bugs in your room in the morning, but they didn't bother us.

The one thing they should tell you but don't is about the hill - the rooms are up a very steep hill. If you have a disability or lack stamina there is no way you can stay here. We tried to reserve the more private bungalow #1 but it was already taken and ended up in #3. #3 had a great view (if you have the choice, take #3 over #2), but one unforeseen drawback. Bungalows #2 and #3 are in the same building and share a common pool. We had extremely amorous neighbors and inadvertently looked down to the pool and caught them in the act!!

The staff took us to a lovely beach in a small boat with two other couples staying at the resort. It was a relaxing and romantic afternoon. Several locals stopped by to sell their wares, but they were not intrusive and it did not feel at all unsafe. The water off the dock is deeper and not clear. One of the other patrons was stung by a jellyfish which put a damper on our desire to swim off the dock at the resort. There is no beach immediately at the resort, but they are very willing to take you by boat.

Overall, it was a great experience and I would probably recommend it to a friend, if money was no issue for them.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank NYCSalsaGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Healdsburg, California, USA
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 July 2011

I stayed here for three nights with my girlfriend and it was truly an unforgettable experience...its a good honeymoon spot. When we arrived to Cartagena we went straight to the Agua in Cartagena where we checked-in. The staff there was really nice and very accommodating. Then we headed to the pier with other guests and were greeted by the owner. Once we got to the island, the staff handed us drinks while our rooms were personally being inspected by the owner. Keep in mind that you come here to relax. There isnt that much to do, but thats the beauty of it. Highlights: views from the rooms are absolutely amazing, we had a private pool, outdoor shower, friendly staff, beautiful architecture, incredible beach close by, and breakfast. Need to improve: Food selection (keep in mind that they have to bring everything on a boat)...
This is really a steal for what you get. A hotel like this in other parts of the world would be 2x as much. However, some things arent that cheap so always ask for prices.

Room Tip: Get room #1. You get a private pool and amazing 360 views
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MBworldtravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Agua Bed & Breakfast - Baru Island

Property: Agua Bed & Breakfast - Baru Island
Address: Baru Island, Isla Baru 130017, Colombia
Region: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Isla Baru
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 11 B&Bs / Inns in Isla Baru
Number of rooms: 5
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Also Known As:
Agua Bed & Breakfast - Baru Island Hotel Isla Baru
Agua Bed And Breakfast - Baru Island

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