Casa San Agustin
The most fabulous lodging in town comprises no less than three 17thcentury mansions decorated with local antiques. Two courtyards are connected to accommodate an L- shaped pool, while a third serves as the outdoor seating area of Alma, a gourmet restaurant with live music and a fashionable cocktail bar. Try the ceviche marinated in Kola Roman, a popular local soft drink.
Spanish interior architect Ignacio García de Vinuesa has decorated his Casa Lola with antiques and art from around the world. The 10 spacious rooms are all different but each is infused with a quirky sense of fun. The best thing about this boutique hotel is its multi- level roof terrace with three pools. Located in the Getsemani neighbourhood near Celele.
Bars and restaurants
Located in a tiny space on the corner of the lovely Plaza de San Pedro Claver, this is the place for the best cocktails in town. Order the gin basil smash.
Café del Mural
Found at 25- 60 Calle San Juan, a quiet street in Getsemani, this is where coffee savant David Arzayus brews only the purest and the most unusual coffee concoctions.
Highly innovative New Caribbean cuisine, run by two of Colombia’s rising stars. The focus is on food and traditions from the country’s Caribbean coast, served with the kind of creative expertise one can expect from young chefs trained in some of the world’s most prestigious kitchens.
Modern Colombian cuisine enriched with international touches from chef Alejandro Ramirez, who worked in the best kitchens of New York, Tokyo, London and Mexico City.
Easily the most elegant restaurant in town. Opt for the ceviche of lionfish: an invasive species that the region is trying to get rid of — hence not just delicious, but also guilt- free.
Elsewhere in Colombia
Medellin: Hush Hush Dinners
Chef Juan David Moreno prepares special private dinners in the fabulous homes of Colombia’s elite. The locations can vary according to the preferences of his guests, but usually there is a focus on architecture or art. While Juan prepares dinner, Marta guides her guests through her extensive collection of contemporary art from up- and- coming Colombian artists. For more information and bookings, call Claudia Espinal of Muvon Travel on + 57- 314 697- 8356
Colombian celebrity chef Leonor Espinosa’s flagship restaurant in Bogota offers journeys though indigenous ingredients and gastronomic traditions that even most Colombians would rarely have been exposed to. Her current menu, called
Ciclo- Bioma, explores the ways new species can be used in the kitchen. Think alligator and big- bottomed ants paired with curious drinks such as arrechón ( an aphrodisiac) and a fantastic salty cocktail inspired by the Pacific Ocean.
Barranquilla: Gay Carnival
For most of the year, the port city of Barranquilla doesn’t have much going for it except a statue of the singer Shakira, who was born there. But during carnival, this is the place to be. Next year’s dates are 22- 25 February but make sure to arrive a week early for the huge gay carnival that takes place the Saturday before ( 15 February).