The Hotel Santa Clara (from $250) in Cartagena’s old town was visited last year by Liev Schreiber, Javier Bardem, and the rest of the cast of Love in the Time of Cholera, the long-awaited film adaptation of the Gabriel García Márquez novel, opening this November. Just steps away from some of the city's best restaurants, this former convent has a vibe that's both spiritual (check out the saint statues, confessionals, and crypt) and tropical, with an inner courtyard that receives morning visits from wild toucans. Ask for suite 501 on the top floor—it’s the only room out of 119 with ocean views.
The year-old Casa El Carretero (from $150), a restored colonial two blocks from the nightlife strip of Calle del Arsenal, is great for groups—the entire hotel can be rented for as little as $550. To really feel like you own the place, ask the housemaid to prepare a breakfast of arepa de huevo, a griddlecake stuffed with a fried egg, and dig in while relaxing at the rooftop pool.
Situated near the massive fortress that helped Cartagena fend off pirates in the sixteenth-century, the four-month-old Casa Boutique Veranera (from $150) has a spa, yoga studio, and just five suites. The most popular, the Yoga Room, has transparent glass doors covered by billowy white curtains, and a hideaway bed that leaves plenty of space for downward-facing dogs.