I recently returned from a short girls’ getaway to sunny and warm Cartagena, Colombia. Over the summer, I took my best friend as a guest to a NYC event, and she won two roundtrip JetBlue tickets to a destination of our choice by correctly answering what ended up being the simplest trivia question ever (for curious minds, the question was “What nickname does Dwayne Johnson go by?”).
With two open-ended tickets in our hands, we decided to choose a spot that was:
a. warm in the dead of NYC winter
b. an easy flight
c. a place neither of us have visited before
d. a value-destination
Cartagena fit the bill and satisfied all of our requirements (nonstop service from JFK, year-round beach weather, a new country for both of us, and a place where the dollar goes far). Needless to say, we really enjoyed our trip!
Booking the Room
After we settled on travel dates, I was excited to finally check out the new Hyatt Regency Cartagena. The Hyatt Regency Cartagena opened in December 2016 and is a relatively large property with 261 rooms, including 28 suites.
Not only did the hotel have solid reviews, I ended up booking a room at a great nightly rate of ~$100. Free nights are only 8,000 World-of-Hyatt points per night – which truly is an fantastic deal when room rates are high during peak seasons.
Upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised by how inexpensive Cartagena was as a whole. Despite surviving an awfully-slow immigrations line, the 15-minute Uber ride from the airpot to the hotel only costs $3-4, and a taxi will runs about $7.
It wasn’t long before we arrived at the beautiful beach-front hotel, which is located directly next to a large and modern shopping mall and supermarket (with plenty of ATMs and places to change money).
Checking In / Lobby
The ground floor is modern, welcoming, and impressive in design, but the main lobby and check-in area is located on the 12th floor, so you’ll have to immediately hop in an elevator up. If you’re a World of Hyatt elite or have a Club Level room booked, you can check-in in the Regency Club Lounge on the 30th floor.
Globalist Upgrade to a Regency Executive Suite
As a Hyatt Globalist, I was able to check in on the 30th floor and was pleasantly surprised that I was upgraded into room 2822 for my three-night stay.
I soon discovered that I was upgraded into one of the property’s Regency Executive Suites, a spacious 114 sq m suite, complete with 1.5 baths, a living room (with a pull-out bed option), and a dining area with seating for eight.
When I opened the door, I was impressed with how large the suite was. I especially loved that there were floor-to-ceiling windows all around, truly providing an abundance of natural light and panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea and the surrounding city and naval base.
A small, delicious welcome amenity consisting of a sweet and savory cheese pastry and local granadilla fruit (an absolute obsession of mine – have you tried it?), along with a personalized card was waiting for me on the counter. I thought that was a nice touch.
To the right of the main entrance was a cute and modern powder room bathroom, and there was a small office space and giant walk-in closet in the hallway leading into the bedroom.
The bedroom featured a king bed (which was a bit firm for me) and lounge reading chair in the corner. There were universal outlets and USB ports on both sides of the bed.
The master bathroom was really nice and very spacious, featuring a full stand-alone bathtub, a huge walk-in rain shower with outstanding water pressure, and a two-sink vanity.
The bath products were by KenethMD, which is standard across most Hyatt brands. My only gripe was that I expected a better in-room hair dryer (the one provided was one where you had to hold down the button the whole time while in use).
Housekeeping was outstanding and consistent throughout the entire stay.
The Regency Club Lounge
I really enjoyed the Regency Club Lounge. Not only is it extremely spacious with beautiful sunset views, it’s a great way to pop-in for a snack, drink, or small bite throughout the day.
Hyatt Globalists are entitled to free breakfast in the lounge from 6am-10am daily, which primarily consisted of fresh fruit, cold cuts and cheeses, danishes, and two rotating hot dishes daily (one was always scrambled eggs).
You can pop into the lounge throughout the day for a quick snack or drink outside of the scheduled meal times.
There is an evening spread daily between 5pm and 7pm, where you can enjoy complimentary beer/wine and a variety of small plates and finger foods, such as grilled veggies, mini sandwiches, and desserts. There’s also rotating “main” dishes each evening such as ceviche, empanadas, and skewers.
The service from the lounge attendants was impeccable and top-notch; they all went the extra mile in making sure that they were as accommodating as possible with recommendations and itinerary suggestions.
For one of our days in Cartagena, we decided to do a super-last minute day-trip excursion to the Rosario islands, and the lounge staff handled the planning for us from start to finish – even at the last minute, which was very much appreciated!
I truly was impressed with how fantastic my stay at the Hyatt Regency Cartagena was. Not only is it in a great location and only about a 15-minute walk to the Old City, the property was an oasis itself.
I personally didn’t have time to enjoy the property’s signature pool deck and infinity pools on the 14th floor, but I would recommend you set aside time to spend time there during your stay.
I was really thrilled with my suite upgrade, and enjoying the Regency Club Lounge was a nice touch for access to beverages, healthy snacks, and fresh fruit during my stay.
Cartagena is a very vibrant and colorful place. Even without lounge access, Cartagena is a value-destination with a great food scene at extremely adorable prices. Just to give an example, my friend and I grabbed lunch one afternoon at a local spot after taking the Free Walking Tour (highly recommended) at a local Colombian diner.
We enjoyed full meals consisting of 2 main courses, 6 side dishes, some mojitos and cerveza for under $30 total including propina (tip).
Speaking of tips, I highly recommend you brush up on your Spanish before your trip to Cartagena, because English was a bit harder to come by than I expected. But don’t worry – I found the Colombian locals to be extremely friendly, welcoming, kind, and patient when it came to our interactions (even taxi drivers)! I’d definitely return!
Have you had a chance to check out the Hyatt Regency Cartagena?