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Hotel San Martin Cartagena
Ranked #20 of 156 Hotels in Cartagena
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 3 July 2014 via mobile

This is my fifth time coming to this hotel now, I'm from Cartagena, Colombia, but, I live in Indianapolis. I always have great service from the people that work there, food is good, close to interesting places, & excellent pricing. They have nice rooms, that are always really clean, and the bathrooms are sufficient. If you want to have a really good place to stay, with an affordable price, plus a taste of what people from town are like, come to this hotel!

Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
1  Thank Fabian P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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52 - 58 of 427 reviews

Reviewed 29 May 2014

I stayed here for 5 nights with a friend on vacation. I had a love/hate relationship with this hotel, so I'll categorize my comments for easier reading:

I'll categorize my comments for easy reading:

Accomodations/Value/Service/Location:
San Martin Hotel is in an OUTSTANDING location--a <10min taxi ride to the walled city (25min walking), there are tons of restaurants & shops on the same street, and the beach is a 5min walk across the street. The hotel itself is beautiful! It's very colorful, and it gives you the feeling that you're in Colombia. The rooms on the other hand...(see cons below).

Transportation:
Taxis are the best way to get around & relatively cheap. It costs about 6,000 pesos ($3 USD) to get to the walled city. Public transit is VERY crowded, and not very safe. If you don't know the city or have a resident tour guide, I wouldn't recommend anything other than a taxi. Avoid renting a car at all costs...it's really not necessary.

Food:
There are MANY food places within a 5min walk of Lancaster House. There areThe hotel has free breakfast, and it's pretty good! Fresh fruit, Colombian bread options, cold meat. It's a nice buffet...especially to be complimentary! You can sit outside and enjoy your breakfast, and it's an awesome start to the day. The wait staff is fantastic, and will make sure that you're comfortable, and have everything that you need.

Cons (That may be specific to the room that I had, and not the entire hotel):
1) We had two leaks from our ceiling. It may have had something to do with the air conditioning (the two guys to came to look at/fix it seemed to think so)
2) The actual rooms look a bit dated, and there are tiny ants in many places. I'm assuming it's normal for the area (maybe not indoors????), but it was a bit unsettling. There weren't TONS of ants, but there were definitely enough to make me uncomfortable
3)There was (seemingly) no hot water! Every shower I had was lukewarm. Not. Cool.
4) Beds arranged awkwardly--there were two of us, and two beds, but one was twice the size of the other
5) Housekeeping was late and inconsistent. Usually between 1:30 & 3:30
6) No one speaks English well--I didn't expect anyone to be fluent, but for a tourist town, I definitely expected someone to be proficient...or conversational.
7) Shower door & window broken--the shower was slightly off the track and/or the wrong size so it wouldn't glide easily to open/close. The window in our bathroom was open, and we couldn't close it. We called the front desk to close it & the guy ended up having to close it from the outside of the building because it was broken!

All in all, I would consider staying here again for the location & value alone...maybe. AND I want to go on record saying that the staff was VERY nice & accommodating...even with all of the challenges we faced.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Casheta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 May 2014

My room was very clean with a modern bathroom, good sized safe and minibar. It was on the ground floor with a window looking into the inner courtyard, and people walking past all the time, so no view or daylight, but I didn’t stay here for the view!

The WiFi was unreliable in my room but works best in the lobby and on the terrace. The staff are very friendly and speak a little English. It’s in the modern Bocagrande area which is a bit bland but very safe, and only a one minute walk to the beach. It’s so easy to find too; ask any taxi driver for the McDonalds and they’ll take you straight to the hotel, for a set COP6000 fare ($3). The old city is a few minutes away by taxi and it’s about COP18000 from the airport. In terms of food choices immediately closeby they’re all pretty much fast food places – McDonalds, Burger King, KFC and Subway, next door to their Colombian equivalents.

Overall though I’d have no hesitation in staying here again.

My tips for Cartagena itself. In terms of safety I felt no danger throughout my stay and I walked around with my DSLR camera for all to see, and I saw many others do likewise. There are plenty of police around so you always feel comfortable, plus the people are genuinely warm and friendly. The sellers will go away with a polite “No thanks” so that’s easier than in many other countries too. The massage girls are quite pushy though so you have to very firmly tell them to go away. The Getsemani area is slightly untidy compared to the main old city, with few tourist sights but it’s no less safe.

For food I went to Accion de Gracias, just off the Parque del Centenario on Media Luna 8B. It’s packed with locals and a main course with soft drink is about COP18000. Expect to pay double that at the Plaza de Santa Domingo, which has location on its side, hence the higher prices. The Café del Reloj (very close to the clock tower) serves good coffee and food, is air-conditioned and has clean toilets. You can also buy delicious fresh cut mango, melon, pineapple etc from the fruit stalls for COP3000.

I used a tour guide called Rafael Alfredo who works the Plaza de la Aduana, You can ask for him at the Hard Rock café. He gave me lots of good advice, a walk-around tour (1.5 hours) and I also booked the bus and Isla del Rosario boat tours through him. He speaks very good English and looked after me well.

The bus tour was good, entirely in Spanish but the guide took me and another guy aside to explain stuff to us in English so we didn’t miss out on anything important. The boat tour was OK (by Delys tours) – I was expecting to see some of the tiny islands close up but we never got near them. On the other hand, if I owned one of those houses I wouldn’t want boats pulling up every day taking photos either! There was an hour where you could either snorkel or visit an aquarium/dolphin show (both cost extra) and then two hours on Playa Blanca for lunch. You also have to pay the port fee so in total you can end up paying about COP90000 ($45), leaving the port at 9:30, returning around 4:00. It’s worth doing but won’t be a highlight.

Stayed: May 2014, travelled solo
2  Thank Bergkamp9999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2014

I booked this hotel after reading reviews on Trip Advisor. I have to say the hotel surpassed all my expectations. The location is great. The service was unbeatable (I later had the opportunity to stay at a 5-star hotel down the street and it was bad compared to this hotel). The front desk is extremely serviceable. The breakfast selection was great and fresh. The location was perfect. The beach is a block away from this hotel. There were no vendors on the beach approaching tourists. Very safe area.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled on business
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6  Thank kbloem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 March 2014

This is a clean quiet hotel in Baca Grande in the center of a well to do area with good restaurants, botique shops near the historical city. $2.50 taxi ride to historical area. A very good breakfast eggs cooked to order and fresh fruit.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank SacramentoStefano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2014

When booking the room make sure they give you an appropriate room, with window and ventilation
We got a bad experience and had to cancell our stay and back home. Lucky we live not too far but have to shorten our trip.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank Patricia B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2014

Honestly, this is a great budget hotel. Location is nice (right across the street from waffles and crepes, and a 24h mcdonalds), just few blocks away from the beach. You can walk to walled city in about 15-20 mins or take a 5 min cab. People working there were very friendly, although the English at the front desk was not what at most other hotels we stayed in in Colombia (although this one was much cheaper and they were still very helpful, sometimes we just had to explain what we wanted a little longer).
The patio area right outside is sweet. The rooms had a very nice bathroom (seriously!), a safe, comfy bed, TV... our room did smell a little weird, the window view was of the hotel lobby, and the wifi was a bit problematic at times. Overall, definitely a very good deal, but do not expect super luxury you get at highest rated hotels in Cartagena.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Paul P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel San Martin Cartagena

Address: Bocagrande, Av. San Martin No. 8 - 164, Cartagena, Colombia
Region: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 156 Hotels in Cartagena
Price Range: £41 - £84 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel San Martin Cartagena 3*
Number of rooms: 40
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