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“Total Boutique Hotel Experience - and Kid Friendly!!!”

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Bantu Hotel By Faranda Boutique
Ranked #14 of 154 Hotels in Cartagena
Certificate of Excellence
Lakeland, Florida
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Total Boutique Hotel Experience - and Kid Friendly!!!”
Reviewed 4 January 2009

A stay at Bantu is an experience in personalized attention and pampering, all in an atmosphere rarely found in South American hotels. Our family visited November 25-28, 2008 with our two small children (1 1/2 and 3 1/2 years old). As we arrived in the middle of a downpour, the staff met us with umbrellas and whisked us inside the entry for our first peek at the treat which awaited us. The view from the entry confirmed that we had made the correct hotel choice - a traditional Cartagena house redone into a beautiful, romantic, modern, upscale, boutique hotel. While the staff entered our baggage, we were escorted to the reception area (a huge log made into a counter) where we were warmly greeted by the Manager, Carlos Mario Arcila. We were then offered one of the most refreshing cocktails we’ve ever had while Mario chatted to us about how our trip was, the hotel amenities, Cartagena, etc. – true Colombian warmth. In the mean time, several of the hotel staff played with the children off in the courtyard allowing us to relax and enjoy the conversation with Mario. After finishing the cocktail, we were escorted to our room (a Jr. Suite) – we had spoken with the hotel several weeks before arriving in order to help us choose which room would meet our needs – we weren’t disappointed – the room was absolutely beautiful – several hundred year old original brick wall, very large (important when traveling w/ 2 children), baby crib already in place with linens, beautiful bowl of assorted tropical fruit, a sofa which converted into a bed for our older son – just perfect. As we got settled, the kids became hungry – we asked if we could order some soup for the kids, but the hotel restaurant didn’t open for another 2 hours – like everything else at Bantu, no problem -20 minutes later, 2 fresh chicken soups arrived, kids ate and went down for a nice nap. The days which followed were a dream of pampering - Mario and his staff took every opportunity to chat with us, play with the kids, give advice on restaurants, etc. Added bonus, the hotel has a babysitting service which was excellent and reasonably priced – we would specify the time, the young lady would arrive at our room and take care of the kids – kids loved her, we used her every night we were there so we could enjoy the Cartagena night life. The hotel is actually 2 houses which were put together – beautiful interior courtyards, plants/ trees everywhere, artwork – absolutely charming. There is a nicely laid out roof terrace which offers a nice pool (with a beautiful view over the old city), a steam room, a Jacuzzi, 2 massage tents and the mandatory bar. We took a look at the Presidential Suite – to die for – 2 separate bedrooms, living room, private terrace w/ Jacuzzi – next time we go, we’ll splurge for it – beautiful. If you’re in the market for a Jr Suite, 106, 107, 211 & 212 are all good choices. The location, just off the Plaza Fernandez de Madrid is perfect - in the center of the Old Town, everything within walking distance. As we left on the Friday, we were sad – thanks to Mario and his attentive staff, we arrived as guests and left as family – without a doubt we’ll return soon!!!

  • Liked — Felt like home away from home.
  • Disliked — We had to leave!
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank exploringwfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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504 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 (47)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
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English first
London, UK
Level Contributor
95 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 October 2008

Had the pleasure of staying in the Bantu Hotel for 3 nights on a recent trip to Colombia. The hotel is an excellent choice in Cartagena, located in the heart of the Old Town within walking distance to numerous sights as well as most restaurants and bars. The rooms are very clean and each delightfully decorated, each retaining the charme of this old building. The staff are extremely helpful and speak a decent amount of English. The hotel also has a great roof terrace with a small pool to cool off in after a days sightseeing. Just don't ask for a room with a balcony, they are likely to be pretty noisy. We asked for a quieter room and the staff immediately moved us to a brilliant and quiet inner room (216). A good breakfast is included and the hotel also has an excellent restaurant for evening meals, although one may prefer to explore the surrounding streets for a greater variety. Definitely a highly recommendable hotel with has retained a lot of Cartagena charm.

  • Liked — Location, service levels, rooms, staff
  • Disliked — Balcony rooms are noisy
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank jpi74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Douglas, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
134 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 July 2008

I stayed at this hotel and was impressed with the entrance area and courtyards. I did have a problem with biting insects and was not happy with the holes in the walls of the bedroom and the gap under the door. I went and purchased some repellent from the supermarket but was unfortunately badly bitten around my ankles during the night. Laundry service appeared to be non-existent and I finished up having to lug my washing to a launderette. Rooms were cleaned very late in the afternoon and at one point, there was no water for showers! The mains water supply was disrupted for a period of 3 hours. The other issue was the pool on the roof was being repaired so I was not able to go swimming. Not as perfect as it should be. Quite sad really as I thought the place had a lot of potential.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — rooms were to open to mosquito invasion!
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank mattsw1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pablocity
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 8 July 2008

We stayed at The Bantu for a 5 day wedding celebration in May, 2008 .

The service and attention given to our group by the owner and staff was superb.
The rooms are functional, comfortable and modern ( flat sceen TV, hot water ) in an authentic boutique hacienda setting.

The on-site restaurant was fine, and very satisfactory for our purposes.

The third floor ( top floor ) outdoor pool and pool area was a great spot to cool off, relax and socialize.

The location of The Bantu offers many other local options for food, refreshment and tourism.

As a Canadian, and first time visitor to South America, the ambiance of the Bantu Hotel provided a tropical Colombian travel experience in historic Cartagena's " El Centro " that was hospitable, favorable and very memorable in all respects.

I highly recommend The Bantu Hotel.

Pablo

Stayed May 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank Pablo97
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 May 2008

Excellent Hotel, Perfect Location Wonderful Service!

Bantu hotel offers chic modern accommodation in the heart of Cartagena's old town a stone throw away from all the vibrant restaurants, cafes, museums and squares. Room for two Approx USD 135, when booked directly.

All staff at the hotel are extremely helpful and eager to meet all your needs associated with your stay. The well appointed modern room we had was spacious, with high ceilings, air conditioner, plasma screen TV with international channels, shower, safe, toiletries. House keeping did a great job of tidying up.
The hotel has nice (small) pool on the rooftop next to 2 jacuzzi's and a functioning sauna.

The hotel restaurant is great, breakfast was included in our rate: fresh juice, coffee or hot chocolate, cereal, fresh fruit, choice of an american or continental breakfast,
The hotel also planned two of our well executed excursions to Islas De Rosario and El Totumo Volcano. Both trips cost around CBP 60000 and included transportation and a lovely traditional lunch by the beach (fish or chicken, coconut rice, salad, greens).
If you go to Islas del rosario I reccomend paing the extra CBP $ 15000 to go snorkeling with the guide. The coral and fish are amazing.

Cartagena is a magical place, bantu hotel is the place to go

  • Stayed April 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Yaounde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NY
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 February 2008

Let's begin with my travel arrangements to the hotel from the airport (Baranquilla airport). We flew into Baranquilla's airport for 2 reasons 1- Direct flight with close proximity to Cartagena and 2- it was cheaper that always helps. From Baranquilla we hire Inverotours to drive us from the airport to the hotel cost was about $60 US for 2 people not bad. The trip was about 2.5 hours long though it turned out to be longer because the driver didnt know where the hotel was. See Bantu is a small hotel more like a bed and breakfast type with about 20+ rooms. I finally got fed up with the driver and called the hotel myself to get some kind of directions for the driver. When I called the hotel Sr. Alberto answered this is the most pleasant young man I have interacted with during my stay. I gave the hotel a 4 but I give Alberto a 10+. He had the door man run out to meet us in a central location where we could meet him and he could guide us to the hotel. When we got to the hotel my first impression was hmm interesting. Well my wife and I walk in and the door man took our bags after asking if he could which was a huge thing for me I hate people just taking my stuff and assuming I want their help. I meet Alberto a 6'2" very soft spoken young man where he very quietly checked us in. The hotel itself is historic but renovated to a more modern style. It was the first time I stayed at this type of hotel. The hotel is located in the center of Old Cartagena, in my opinion the location is perfect for people that will want to discover the city. It is walking distance from everywhere but Boca grande if you want to go there you will need a cab. Our first day there we went for a walk around the perimiter of the walled city. Well worth the walk, It will allow you to navigate through the city and will teach you where landmarks are. The hotel is also walking distance from the pier where all the tours leave, this is a huge plus. We checked in on the 9th of Feb and were due to check out on the 16th. Here is were things changed a bit, on Wed the hotel experienced a "Brown Out" unfortunately the brownout affected the TV, Internet, and the A/C!!!!. Ugh things went south from there First my shower curtain kept falling so when you would take a shower all the water got everywhere. Next there are mosquito's (TAKE OFF SPRAY) with the AC on the mosquito's are liveable, just stay under the covers while you sleep make a tight seal with your partner around the perimiter of the bed and hope the fried arepa with egg he/she ate from the lady in the corner doesn't act up :). The breakfast is included in the hotel stay it is an option of Americano which is fruit and eggs and the "Bantu" which is an Arepa with egg inside, 3 slivers of tamal de elote, 3 pieces of chorizo, 3 slices of quajada (cheese) Coffee, orange juice, or freshly made hot chocolate. The influence that drove us to this hotel by the way was the price and the rank of the hotel in this website, this comment will play later in the review. Alberto is preety much on your beck and call the whole time he is the guru of the town he will tell you what, where , how, when to do things. I was running low on pesos on Sunday he had one of his employees exchange dollars for me. Alberto had someone come to the hotel to arrange my day tours so I didnt have to be harrased by all the street vendors who by the way will sell everything and anything even real estate property. He is by far the best concierge I have ever met or had to deal with. He is one of those people you would want working for you. The room was decent in size the sink was in the bedroom itself and the bathroom was off to the side. We had a Kingsized bed very comfortable, every staff member was very nice to us. To continue on the part where things went south on Thursday I tried to find out when the A/C was going to be repaired they told us it "should " be fixed the same day this was not something that I wanted to take a chance with being that I had to sleep wed night without a/c. I watch a lot of tv that night trying to stay awake to fight the mosquitos off. I even took 3 cold showers to cool off. A/C is extremely important in this country. Thursday morning I called the Hilton (where I usuallty stay) and reserved a room for the rest of my stay in Cartagena. The Hilton here is very expensive 2 nights is running about 350 night in the executive tower ( see review for hilton). What else is there to say about the Bantu hotel the location is great the problem they had was beyond their control, the problem was out in the street. Unfortunaley Its my vacation and I demand to be comfortable. They also have a pool and a jacuzzi just let front desk know you want to use it they will clean it up for you not big enough to swim in it just big enough to sit there and soak up the sun. We didnt spend much time in the hotel during the day we went to a different island every day. If you want more info email me I'll be glad to help. Ill upload some pics later.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Mosquitos
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank Sihaigit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 February 2008

Myself & two friends stayed at The Bantu for 9 nights in Jan2008. We booked directly with the Hotel via email/telephone.

My first impressions of the hotel were fantastic. It's set in the Centro Historico walled city of Cartagena on a narrow quiet street within easy strolling distance of all parts of the old city. The beach in Bocagrande can be reached by a short US$2.50 taxi ride. The rustic design & layout is typical of the Spanish colonial architecture which dominates the old city (very similar to Antigua, Guatemala, but better).

Ground floor comprises of three light & airy courtyards, the restaurant, reception, shop & 7 or 8 of the bedrooms interspersed with tables & chairs where you take your coffee in the morning. there is also an 'outdoor' sofa area for relaxing & viewing the large LCD TV. In the central courtyard there is an old well with a large tree that has grown into the 1st floor gallery surrounding the courtyard with a swing hanging from it.

Our rooms were on the ground floor & were extremely spacious with high ceilings, traditional tiled floors & LCD TV's with a wide selection of channels inc. movies & sport. Remote controlled air-conditioning was great. Cartagena is very hot, even at night !

On the 1st floor are bedrooms overlooking the courtyards which are a little smaller, unless you take the Presidential Suite which has private access to the roof terrace.

On the roof, is a small pool & two Jacuzzis. Tables & sunloungers are available to relax & soak up some sun.

The best part about the experience was the friendliness & helpfulness of the staff. The owner of the hotel is almost always on hand if required but most of your needs will be happily taken care of by the reception, restaurant & domestic staff. They gave us advise on where to go, places to see & even organised our hotel for an onward trip to Bogota. There is a night porter after 10pm for access & security. The young reception staff, Alberto, Nina & the lovely, but slightly enigmatic, Liliana were all wonderful !

When I am next in Cartagena, I won't even look at other hotels. I will go straight to the Bantu for sure ! It was a real pleasure to stay here & was very sad to leave. As with the town itself, the more time you spend here, the more at home & relaxed you will feel. Fabulous !

  • Stayed January 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Raymond1971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bantu Hotel By Faranda Boutique

Property: Bantu Hotel By Faranda Boutique
Address: Calle de la Tablada 7-62 | Historic Center, Cartagena 130001, Colombia
Region: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Cartagena
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#7 Spa Hotel in Cartagena
#8 Business Hotel in Cartagena
#30 Romantic Hotel in Cartagena
#34 Family Hotel in Cartagena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Bantu Hotel By Faranda Boutique 3.5*
Number of rooms: 28
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bantu invites you to discover a charming boutique hotel in the historic center of Cartagena de Indias, colonial city of Colombia, and one of the most amazing places in the Caribbean, full of warmth and authenticity. Distinguished with the category of 5 stars, Bantu Hotel offers an inside-edge design, colonial architecture and unique services: XVIII colonial infrastructure, chill out terrace, solarium, pool area, spa, bar, restaurant ... a bespoke luxury. Meet one of the most charming hotels in Colombia for couple getaways and business travel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bantu Hotel And Lifestyle
Bantu Hotel Cartagena
Bantu Hotel Lifestyle

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