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“Excellent new hotel, but some issues”

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Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros
Ranked #32 of 158 Hotels in Cartagena
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 8 March 2014

A smart, modern hotel with large, opulent rooms for a holiday Inn, although its a bit strange that you can see into the shower from the bedroom. The staff are very friendly, and helpful, and most speak good english. Reception staff were particularly helpful.

We booked a sea view room,but were disappointed to find that the rooms are set back about 50 metres from the beach and there are apartment blocks extending out to the beach on each side. Rooms ending in nunbers 10 and 12 are very close to the adjacent appartments and rooms 10 look out mainly to the apartment balconies. See photos.

Although it was not clear on the website, check-in is at 3pm, and as we arrived at midday, we had to wait a few hours for our room. Reception staff did try to get access earlier, but as the hotel was busy, the room did not become avaiable. There is a corridor leading from the Reception area to the pool and beach, but it is badly signed, and as it is more direct, peope walk through the dining room in beach gear, which is inappropriate.

We also had an issue with sorting out the bill on check-out, which took time and resulted in delay. We made the booking on the Book Early and Save rate type. It clearly states on the confirmation that 'Payment is charged between the time of booking and day of arrival' and yet on check-out, our bill included the room cost as well as meals etc. and we had to trust the receptionist who told us that the payment had not been charged. In addition, the 'voluntary charges' for a donation and insurance were included on the bill, and when I requested that they be removed, the receptionist demanded that we sign a document to authorise him to do so.
I am not blaming the reception staff, because they were very polite in explaining the bill items, but the management should clarify the payment process in the reservation confirmation. In addition, they have no right to include the 'voluntary charges' in the bill or require staff to obtain the client's signature to remove the items. It certainly left a sour taste on leaving the hotel.

Room Tip: Avoid sea view rooms ending in numbers 10 and 12 that are very close to adjacent appartments. See ph...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank assheton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolidayInnCartagena, Revenue Manager at Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros, responded to this reviewResponded 14 March 2014

Good day Mr Assheton,

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience at Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros. I am sorry that your experience did not entirely meet your expectations; please allow me to express my sincerest excuses.

We will share your comments with our team. I am sure that this feedback will serve to all of our coworkers as we strive to always deliver the highest quality service.

We hope to welcome you soon again

Regards,


John Mario Villarraga
Revenue Manager

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Reviewed 8 March 2014

I am platinum status IHG Rewards member and tend to stay at a lot of their properties when available where I am traveling. This hotel, which is seamlessly blended into a series of "Morros" condominium complexes, far exceeded my expectations. It is very new, clean, and smells remarkably fresh for a seaside property being subject to on shore breezes of substance 90% of the time. I opted to spend a bit m ore money for a 10th floor ocean view room with balcony and amenities. Hotel rooms are not cheap in Cartagena, nor was this one, but it certainly was a much better deal than an aging hotel on Magnificent Mile in Chicago in December, and for less money. The beach is accessed with key card, so best if you have pockets with Velcro for a swim. The beach is unfortunately heavily populated with salespersons of all forms (fresh seafood 'on ice' - no thanks), sun screen applicators, masseuses, and the ever annoying purveyor of jet skis (why the users have to go back and forth along the beach right near swimmers rather than taking their mosquitos out to sea and ditching them there is beyond me). Kite surfers galore when winds are up. Sea is calmer in mornings.

I also will note that the hotel restaurant (Blue) is exceptional for lunch and supper. Don't be surprised if there are few people there at night (many go into old city for fun). The food I ordered was always fresh and tasty and original.

All in all, I have no complaints about this property and found it very well run.

Room Tip: Pay a bit more for a high floor ocean view with balcony. You won't regret it.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled on business
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Thank CLLtraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolidayInnCartagena, Revenue Manager at Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros, responded to this reviewResponded 14 March 2014

Dear MHKTraveller,

Thank you for your positive review of your stay at Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros. It is always especially pleasing to hear such great feedback from a seasoned traveller, and Platinum member of IHG. Our team is focused on delivering the highest quality of standards we are known for and I'm glad we have demonstrated it during your stay.

We are delighted that you had enjoyed your room with it's amenities, facilities and the great location of the hotel on beach front, near to International Airport . We will share with our Restaurant team and Cheff, your positive experience with the service and menu

We look forward to have you back soon,

Regards,

John Mario Villarraga
Revenue Manager

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Reviewed 7 March 2014

This hotel is located about 1 mile Northeast of the airport in a cluster of other hotels.
It's about 2.5 miles from the Old City (Historic Old Walled City of Cartagena)

Why I would come back to this hotel:
***************************************************************************************
It's new. If you have travelled enough you know that new is hard to beat.
They did a good job on the décor and design. It's too contemporary (cold) for my taste but it was clean and modern. (Did I mention that it's new?)
They do a good breakfast. The fresh squeezed juices are let you know that they take your business seriously.
It's one of those rare times when they have a really good crew. Big ups to the management for excellent training and dumb luck on having a great crew. (Corporate policy can help make a good hotel but without a good crew it doesn't matter what school your CEO went to.)
There was a really cool little petit girl that worked the breakfast shift. She always made me feel welcome and I looked forward to seeing her in the mornings,, never got her name tho.
This hotel has a pool and workout facility.
One of the best IHG properties I've seen.

How they could make it better:
I got some laundry done and it cost $60. It was folded immaculately but that's just a bit much to get some jeans and t-shirts washed.
When you have a meal at the hotel they don't give you a receipt. This caused some confusion about which meals I paid cash for and which ones were charged to my room.
Puts some lights out on the beach and take control of that area. (You cannot go out on the beach at night.) Not that it's some horrible treacherous area, just the hotel lookin out for you in a developing country.
Get rid of the incessant hawkers on the beach. (You will not really go to Cartagena to go to this beach, it's not very good,, you will go to Playa Blanca or other areas to do the beach thing but it would be nice to be able to walk out to the ocean at the hotel)
Make a decent hamburger!
If you are going to serve French fries,, serve good ones. Otherwise just take them off the menu.

Room Tip: A room facing the ocean isn't really worth the extra $.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled solo
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Thank russ m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolidayInnCartagena, Revenue Manager at Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros, responded to this reviewResponded 26 March 2014

Dear Russ m,

Thank you for taking the time to post feedback from your recent stay and your kind recommendations. We are delighted to know that our staff have made such an positive impression on your stay.

We look forward to being able to welcome you back when you next have an opportunity to return to Cartagena de Indias

Kind Regards,

John Mario Villarraga
Revenue Manage

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Reviewed 27 February 2014 via mobile

I see a lot of comments here about the pre-paid rate and credit card challenges. As long as you read the guidelines when booking, this should not be a surprise or a problem. I also booked the pre-paid rate because it saved me some bucks at the time of booking. Unfortunately for me I came in one day late due to cancelled flight, and lost that paid night, but that's not the fault of the hotel. They even arranged it so that I could use the lost night as a credit in a later stay.

I truly enjoyed my stay here. Friendly staff, the best ever breakfast buffet I've had at a Holiday Inn, nicely decorated and modern rooms, charming bar by the pool. You have exceeded my expectations.

It's a fairly short drive (10 minutes or less) to the beautiful old town. Taxis operate at a fixed rate (USD6=12.000 Colombian).

Will come back.


Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank great_squasher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolidayInnCartagena, Revenue Manager at Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros, responded to this reviewResponded 28 February 2014

Dear Great_Squasher

We was really delighted to read your feedback following you recent visit to us, thank you very much. We always try our hardest to make our guests feel at home and taken care of at all times. We have passed your comments to our team. We hope that you will come back to stay with us again soon.


Kind Regards,

John Mario Villarraga
Revenue Manager

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Reviewed 18 February 2014

This Hotel charges your credit card in advance for advance purchase room reservation, which is fine, but I reserved 2 rooms with two beds, We where 4 guys in the room and everyone wanted to pay separately, so upon check out, I told them to reverse my charges on my credit card which they charged for advance purchase and split the bill 4 ways on different credit card or one guy wanted to pay cash. The Hotel said no we can't do that....which is ridiculous and unheard off. They simply refused to get cash or other credit card for payment. I will never stay at this hotel...The staff is rude and unhelpful.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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3  Thank kenb81066
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolidayInnCartagena, Revenue Manager at Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros, responded to this reviewResponded 22 February 2014

ood Day Mr. Kenb81066,

Thank you for sharing your comments; we really appreciate any feedback that will make us be better every day. During your time at the hotel we informed you that because the rate you reserved was advanced payment and non-refundable, we were unable to adjust the charges made to your credit card at the time the reservation was made. Please know that we try our best to make the credit card charges as smooth as possible. However the Banks in Colombia take a reasonable amount of time to cancel a transaction, especially when it is during different dates. We apologies for any inconvenience this may have cause during your stay with us, and we sincerely hope to see you back at the hotel where we can show you our great Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros customer service we provide. In our webpage you will find different rate options for you to choose the one more suitable for your next visit.

It will be our pleasure to have you stay with us again. Below please find my e-mail address where you can contact me with questions or concerns you may have.



Sincerely,

John Villarraga
Revenue Manager

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Reviewed 16 February 2014 via mobile

We stayed at this hotel for only 1 night and thank god it wasn't a minute longer.

Check in was efficient and the front desk staff was friendly. She assured us that our room was prepaid and that we can put a credit card on file if we want or we can pay in cash. My fiancé and I are avid travellers and are used to the credit card procedures, so we put one on file thinking it would save us payment hassles.

Putting that credit card on file has been a mistake because upon check out, the front desk staff member, Waldo, attempted to extract more money from us than necessary with ridiculous add-ons to the bill. Mind you, he was quite rude about it too. There was an unsolicited "travel insurance" fee, and a "donation fee". Ok, we don't mind donating, but the hotel definitely has NO right in including that on our printed bill without even mentioning it to us first. Secondly, why would you assume that we have no travel insurance? The Holiday Inn should ask before putting that on our printed statement. When we asked the ever-so-rude Waldo about it, he adamantly insisted that "it's for the city", and kept telling us to hurry up and just sign it. Additionally, we had numerous other "taxes" on the bill. Our room was double charged, despite the fact that we have established that it is pre-paid from the first minute of being in the hotel. When queried about all this, Waldo printed another piece of paper "removing" the "travel insurance" - it was actually a bill for more travel insurance, and he was trying to get us to sign it insisting that it was because he had to retract it from head office.
No charge should have gone through the card in the first place as we haven't signed for its authorisation yet. Waldo must think we don't know basic "debit" and "credit" accounting principles because he had the added travel insurance as a debit on the card and wanted us to sign for it. The rate Waldo was going, I probably just signed over my first born child to him.

On top of all this, we had dinner at the hotel restaurant. They were playing dubstep remixes of Pendulum songs - really!?! Dubstep at what was decorated as a formal dining area? As I ate my tasteless/terrible and overpriced pasta (the worst I have ever had), the dubstep remixes were, quite frankly, stressing me out and giving me a headache. Being a fan of the music genre myself, I'm telling you now Holiday Inn, you are playing it in the wrong setting.

You are have harbouring unrealistic fantasies if you think you will receive any sort of professionalism from this place. The meal prices were more exorbitant than the beautiful 5-star JW Marriott!

And for those extravagant tasteless pasta prices, you'd think that the Holiday Inn can now afford to place a towel rack/hook in their rooms.

Because of this terrible experience with the Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros, we have cancelled the rest of our Cartagena trip even though we were booked in an executive suite at the Hilton for 7 days. It made us feel as if tourists will be scammed and milked for as much as possible without remorse.

To Holiday Inn Management: you are driving away business and tourists from your town. Your distrustful and dishonest staff should be reviewed and audited.

I wouldn't stay at another Holiday Inn if you paid me.

Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
5  Thank Janelle S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolidayInnCartagena, Revenue Manager at Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros, responded to this reviewResponded 22 February 2014

Good Day Ms. Janelle S.,

Thank you for your feedback during your recent stay with us. We truly appreciate you taking your time and sharing your comments to enable us to be better every day. We sincerely apologies the misunderstanding regarding the hotel insurance policy and fees that apply. Please know we have taken immediate action and spoke and educate our Front Desk Staff to reassure we are all explaining very detailed the hotel insurance fee and the “Shelter in Storm” donation to our guests.

Kindly note that the hotel insurance fee applies to all hotels in Colombia with the idea of covering a medical incident or loss of personal belongings a guest may encounter during their stay at the hotel. Since the hotel insurance fee as well as the “Shelter in Storm” fee are optional, the hotel provides a Folio prior to check-out so you can review the charges and inform us if you approve or disapprove any charges.

We also appreciate your comments on the Restaurant music as well as the menu and we have passed on this information so we can evaluate and take into consideration your suggestions. Once again, thank you for sharing with us your comments, please know that we do take into consideration all suggestions and feedback brought back to us. Being part of an international hotel brand, we strive on having the best customer service and exceeding our guests’ expectations.

We look forward to seeing you soon at the Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros; below please find my email for any questions or concerns you may have.



Sincerely,

John Villarraga
Revenue Manager

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Reviewed 12 February 2014

I did not expect scam attempts from the Holiday Inn.

I stayed at this hotel one night. The receptionist informed me correctly that the room was prepaid, however I agreed to provide a credit card to cover extras.

Upon checkout at 4am there was a "donation" and a "security fee" on the bill. The security fee is apparently an "optional" insurance policy slipped into the bill with no warning or explanation. The receptionist was deliberately misleading, then rude and dismissive, and finally the following arguments ensued:
1) "The insurance is optional, but you still have to sign the bill. Then if you don't want it you can cancel it." No.
2) "Okay I have printed the room and insurance separately. You have to sign to show that you don't want it." Wrong. Not only is this still an authorisation of payment, but I am not required to sign for something I never asked for in the first place.
I could not be bothered arguing about the mysterious $1 donation because I had a plane to catch. So I signed and left.
Only once I was at the airport did I remember that the room was prepaid, that the staff KNEW it was prepaid, yet they double-charged me for the room anyway.

There were other disappointments. The awful food, the loud dubstep remixes playing during dinner, the lack of any towel racks in the bathroom... really? How is that possible? The attempted scam and double-charge is just the icing on the cake.

This will be my last Holiday Inn. If you are going to pay double anyway, you might as well go five star and get a towel rack for your trouble.

Room Tip: For a better stay, make sure you request a room that isn't in this Holiday Inn.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank TimAdd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HolidayInnCartagena, Revenue Manager at Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros, responded to this reviewResponded 13 February 2014

Dear TimAdd,

We appreciate the time that you took to share your experience. We taken note about each situation during your stay. As you mentioned, we apply an optional contribution to our Corporate Program " Shelter in the Storm ", it is a worlwide program of our Company, our goal is help the community affected by Natural disasters.

We are working with our team in order to improve the billing process, and inform opportunely about this optional contribution, and the insurance charges. Please accept our excuses for this situaction on your check out.

We hope a new opportunity to assist you and be your host in Cartagena,

Sincerely

John Mario Villarraga
Revenue Manager

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Additional Information about Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros

Address: Anillo Vial Cra. 9 no. 34-166 La Boquilla, Cartagena 130002, Colombia
Phone Number:
Region: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #32 of 158 Hotels in Cartagena
Price Range: £65 - £183 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros 3.5*
Number of rooms: 140
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to our new Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros Hotel. It is our pleasure to offer you the most modern hotel for business and leisure, surrounded by a natural environment located in the north of the city at the exclusive area of Los Morros. It is a just few minutes from the Rafael Nuñez International Airport. We are specialists in providing security, quality, technology and excellent service.Just 5 minutes from the Rafael Nuñez Airport, with a spectacular view to the cienaga de la Virgen and direct access to the beach. You will enjoy our modern and comfortable rooms, restaurant, bar, pool, gym, parking, meeting rooms. ... more   less 
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