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Colombia’s hotels, once largely limited to domestic and Latin American brands, are now becoming as varied as Colombia’s diverse tourism landscape. Formerly known for its social conflicts, Colombia is slowly becoming renowned for its cosmopolitan urban centers and excellent eco-adventure activities. Located in the Andes mountain range, Colombia is the only South American country to have beaches on both the Caribbean and the Pacific coasts. Furthermore, the country’s proximity to the U.S. (Columbia is less than a five-hour flight from Miami), Europe and the rest of Latin America makes it an easy getaway for visitors.
All this newfound attention had the publishers of Michelin Green Guide take notice. Michelin released a Colombia edition of its book in February of this year, making it the first country in South America to have a completely dedicated green guide.
As visitors to the country increase, so does the number of international investors seeking to open hotels in the country. Indeed, Colombia is seeing a hotel boom, with such brands as InterContinental, Hilton, Sofitel, Sonesta, Ibis and Wyndham all planning developments in the country.
“In recent years, Colombia has achieved international recognition as a tourism destinatioLn,” said Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of Proexport Colombia. “Between 2009 and 2011, the country opened more than 1,600 new hotel rooms with the some of the most prestigious international chains.”
What follows is an overview of some of Colombia’s hotels in development.
BogotaColombia’s cosmopolitan, capital city, Bogota, is a popular destination for both business and leisure travelers. It has been forecasted that by 2014, there will be 2,253 new rooms in Bogota, up from 1,616 new rooms in 2009.
The much-acclaimed Sonesta Bogota opened this past March, making it the third Sonesta hotel in Colombia. The city is also celebrating the recent openings of the JW Marriott (July 2010), the Ibis Bogota Museo hotel (late 2010) and the locally owned Ar Hotel Salitre (2010)
InterContinental Hotels Group opened the 191-room, eight-story Holiday Inn Bogota Airport in July 2011, making it the first Holiday Inn in the country.
Other hotels slated to open soon include Aloft Bogota Airport Hotel in November, a new Tryp by Wyndham property in December and the 140-room NH Parque de la 93 hotel at the end of 2011.
In January 2012, the 245-room Bogota Hilton will open in Bogota’s North District, making it an ideal location for leisure and business guests.
Hotels in the planning/development stages include a Hyatt property and a second Ibis property.
CartagenaLong touted for its colonial charms, Cartagena has numerous hotels in development as well. Among the city’s most famous properties is the Sofitel Santa Clara hotel, which was originally built as a monastery in 1621 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Center in 1984.
In 2010, three boutique hotels, the Hotel Altamar, Hotel Zalmedina and Sahna Plus Hotel opened in Cartagena. Larger brand hotels such as the Sonesta Seaway 935, Holiday Inn and Royal also made an appearance, while existing properties such as Global Resort, Estelar Cartagena de Indias Marbella and Estelar Playa Manzanillo all underwent renovations.
Sonesta Collection announced the opening of its fourth hotel in Colombia, the 114-room Sonesta Hotel Cartagena in May 2011, joining its sister properties in Bogota, Barranquilla and Valledupar.
The Las Americas Resort also opened a new property in May 2011, the Las Americas Torre del Mar, a five-star property with 279 rooms.
InterContinental Hotels Group has two properties in development in Cartagena. The Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros is scheduled to open this month (August 2011), while the InterContinental Cartagena, with 282 rooms, is slated to open in 2013.
The Cartagena Hilton is currently undergoing a complete renovation of the guestrooms in its main tower, which is expected to be completed in July 2013.
Marriott International, Inc. has announced it will open the 278-room Cartagena Marriott Hotel in 2014, making this the third Marriott International endeavor in Colombia.
Other brands planning new properties in Cartagena include Melia and Iberostar.
CaliKnown as “The Salsa Capital of Colombia,” Cali is Colombia’s third-largest city. Cali’s first five-star property, Hotel Spiwak Chipichape, opened in 2010 in the heart of the city’s developing business and commercial district. Future hotel developments include a new Courtyard by Marriott (2012) and an Ibis property anticipated to open in 2013.
MedellinAs the second-largest city in Colombia, Medellin, is known for its welcoming locals. Earlier this year, the 123-room Four Points by Sheraton underwent a complete renovation. The property celebrated its 15th anniversary this year.
In June, Wyndham Hotel Group opened the Tryp Medellin, the first Tryp by Wyndham property in Colombia. The 14-story, four-star, select-service Tryp Medellin is located on Calle Colombia in the heart of the Colombian state of Antioquia’s capital city. The hotel’s opening reflects Wyndham Hotel Group’s strategy of introducing the Tryp by Wyndham brand in key urban markets throughout the Americas.
Future hotel developments in the works in Medellin include an Ibis property, anticipated to open in 2012. Marriott Hotels has also indicated they are looking at Medellin as the location for a future property.