Hotel Review: A 'Wonderful' Room at the W Bogotá in Colombia
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The W Bogotá had been high on my list of Starwood properties to check out, so when I was planning a recent trip through Latin America, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Although this hotel is listed as a Category 4, its snazzy décor and sleek vibe gave it a much cooler feel. Here's what it was like to stay there.
Booking online was a breeze. Prepaid room rates on the SPG website were $190 or 10,000 Starpoints per night for a "Wonderful" room, and I used my Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express to book because I wanted to rack up bonus Starpoints since I was using my card for an SPG purchase. I was only planning to stay three nights this time around, but had I wanted to stay four nights or more, I would have used my Citi Prestige Card, which would have given me access to the 4th Night Free benefit.
Located in the Usaquén/Santa Barbara section of the city, the hotel was in an affluent and safe area that's home to many offices and businesses. Although it was only about eight miles from La Candelaria, the historic city center, it took ages to get there, thanks to the terrible traffic in Bogotá. Since there wasn't a metro system, I had to rely on taxis to get back and forth to many areas of town that were known for dining or tourist attractions.
The airport is about 11 miles away, but it still took me about an hour to get to the hotel. I was warned not to accept any rogue offers from drivers approaching me at the airport and instead took an official yellow taxi. The taxis had a payment system where the meter displayed a number that you checked against a laminated sheet telling you the amount of Colombian pesos you owed. If you saw that the taxi didn't have this sheet or if the driver refused to show it to you, your best bet was to hop out and find another way.
The good thing about the hotel's location being within an office park was that there were plenty of coffee shops in the vicinity. I favored Tostao, a Colombian chain, but spotted Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts nearby. I also discovered a shopping center across the street from the office park where you could exchange money, shop or find something to eat. Behind and around the shopping center were plenty of international restaurants and bars I visited when I didn't feel like sitting in traffic to get to the city center. I felt safe walking around in the area near the hotel, even when it was dark.
Check-In and Lobby
The W Bogotá had two different entrances, one for vehicles off a big highway in the back and a pedestrian entrance that opened out into an office park on the other side of the building.
The lobby was accessible by the vehicle entrance and was small, but full of eye-catching designs. When I walked in underneath the mirrored ceiling, I noticed a few chic armchairs to the left in front of a glittering gold wall — this really was the extent of the lobby seating though.
To the right, I passed the check-in desks and another small seating area, complete with fruit-infused sparking water, cookies and sweets.
Check-in was a breeze. The staff members were friendly and efficient, so it only took a few minutes for them to run my SPG Amex and assign me room 904. When I asked for a room upgrade, I was told there were none available. What I didn’t know then was that I would later be so enamored with my hip digs that I wouldn’t even care about that.
The only confusion was when they told me the internet wasn’t free, but I corrected them, saying that as an SPG member I should have free Wi-Fi. When connecting to the Wi-Fi, though, I had to accept a $12-a-day charge on each of my devices, which would later be wiped from my bill when I checked out — it was. I was also given two welcome drink coupons.
After I checked in, I took the elevators to the third floor, where you'll find the pedestrian entrance, the bar, the Market Kitchen restaurant and concierge desk.
The third floor was the spot to hang out and have a drink or wait for friends — the lobby on the first floor seemed just too small and quiet, while the seating area up here was much more spacious.
There was a separate elevator bank around the corner that had access to the room floors (five and above) and W Fit, W Wet and the Away Spa on the fourth floor. Note that you'll need your room key to use those elevators.
I was in "Wonderful" room 904, in what was essentially a standard room, but I ended up pleased as punch anyway.
The elevators were dimly lit with tiny bulb-lighting fixtures, similar to other W properties I’ve seen around the world. The hallways were also dark and I slowly found my way to my room.
My immediate impression of the room was that it was bright, spacious and inviting. I loved the funky gold-and-black design and I couldn't believe this wasn't an upgraded room.
On the right was a large white closet with lots of hangers, which I thought was fantastic, because I always have to request more. It also had shelves, a bathrobe — the other one was hanging in bathroom — an umbrella and an iron with an ironing board.
The in-room safe was large enough to hold my laptop.
There was a three-way, full-length mirror with a stool in front of it, the perfect place to try on various outfits and check yourself out from all angles.
To the left was the bathroom, which wasn’t really a separate entity — this is a common phenomenon with many W hotels.
A small bar area had a fridge with mini-bar and snacks, an ice bucket and a couple of wine glasses. I get that the W tries to make things trendy, but what I really needed was a coffee maker or kettle. Then again, that was the only real downside to this room.
The hotel offered two bottles of complimentary water each day, but you could request more free bottles by calling the Anytime, Anywhere number. I did this each day and was immediately brought two more whenever I called — note that drinking the tap water probably isn't the best idea in Bogotá.
The bed was obviously the focal point of the room — and it made a bold statement. Decked out in black and gold with a cool fabric headboard that ran underneath the bed as support and up to the ceiling, the whole look was impressive.
The best part was that it was not only trendy and fun but practical and comfortable at the same time.
Finally, the room had enough lighting, with a switch system that was easy and simple to master — sometimes at W properties, figuring out the lighting is like solving advanced algebra equations.
I was also thrilled with the borderline excessive amount of outlets, which is almost never the case at hotels. With a few placed near the beds, some in the bathroom, some near the bathroom and a whole charging port along the desk that included USB ports — with US outlets as well as European outlet options — I finally found a hotel room that allowed me to plug in all my electronics at once! I was working during my trip, so the touch-sensitive desk lamp was useful.
The desk and chair workspaces were comfortable, even after a few hours of typing on my computer.
The bedside table had an alarm clock with an iPhone 7 plug-in. A flatscreen TV hung across from the bed.
Besides all the necessary amenities, the room was full of extra little touches, like fashionable coffee table books and pillows saying “gold digger.”
A chic black leather couch was another spot you could relax in, covered with shiny pillows.
The window spanned the entire side of the room, and the view was nice, overlooking the office park with the mountains in the background.
Here's another peek out the window from my room.
The room seemed fairly soundproof until the third night, when a group of party animals came back around 1:30am screaming and yelling, banging on doors and blasting music. I called the Anytime, Anywhere number to complain, but the noise wouldn't subside. I finally managed to fall back asleep, but was surprised the hotel staff hadn't remedied the situation. I later mentioned it during check-out and was immediately comped for my breakfast as a result.
The bathroom was bright and beautiful, with emerald tiles and a separate rainfall shower and toilet.
I loved the double sinks and double-sided vanities, with sinks on one side and space on other side with a stool to sit on and do my makeup or hair. This, combined with the full-length, three-way mirror and stool, was like having my own dressing room and makeup table.
The shower pressure was great, and the usual Bliss amenities were provided.
Lemon + sage scented shampoo, conditioner and body wash were also provided.
The whole open-concept bathroom that many W properties have could be weird if you need a lot of privacy. In this particular case, there was a curtain you could close to separate the bathroom area from the rest of the room, but if you aren't traveling with someone you know well, it could be really awkward, or simply bothersome, if you needed to blow dry your hair while the other person was sleeping.
The Away Spa, W Wet and W Fit were all located on the fourth floor. The pool was interesting, a cross between a large hot tub and a small, warm pool. I didn’t really understand the concept and there wasn't enough room to be able to swim laps. I went in for a little while, but it wasn't as hot as a traditional hot tub, so I didn’t stay very long.
The fitness center was large and made up of several different rooms. One small room was open 24 hours a day and had three cardio machines and one large multi-use weight machine.
The other fitness spaces, which included a large room with cardio and weight machines...
...a CrossFit area...
...and a separate room with yoga mats and balls, had more restrictive hours.
I didn’t try any of the spa services, but the female locker room had a steam room, an added bonus after a long international flight. There was also one in the male locker room.
Food and Beverage
The Market Kitchen was the only restaurant at the W Bogotá, and was open for buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast was 45,000 Colombian pesos (~$15) per person, and consisted of a fantastic spread.
There were Colombian specialties like arepas as well as breakfast items like eggs, bacon and sausages. It was also fun trying Colombian fruits I had never seen before.
Salad, cold cuts and a large pastry selection were also available — the yucca bread was spectacular and unlike any bread I’d ever tasted.
I also enjoyed a quiet dinner in the Market Kitchen one evening.
I decided to try the carne de res, a tender beef topped with a spinach quesadilla.
I also had salmon with kale in a truffle marinade (pictured below). Both dishes were excellent and reasonably priced. In fact, the bill was about $26.
I ended up spending more at some of the nearby restaurants, but the food wasn’t even as good. I highly recommend eating at the hotel, especially if you’re tired and don’t feel like fighting traffic to head into the city.
I also loved my free welcome drinks at the W Bar, which was artfully decorated with fancy fringed chandeliers and spray-painted designs on the walls.
I tried a glass of Chilean wine and a Colombian cocktail called Cloud Nine, which was made of Pampero rum, coconut water, passionfruit and lime, topped with coconut foam with bits of lime.
I also sampled an appetizer of edamame topped with parmesan cheese and paprika, which was delicious.
I loved my stay at the W Bogotá. The rooms were gorgeous, practical and comfortable and I took advantage of amenities like the steam room, fitness center and the complimentary welcome drinks. That said, it would have been nice to have a coffee maker in the room. I was also frustrated at times with how long it took to get to the city center, but, of course, that's no fault of the hotel. Just make sure you leave plenty of time to get to where you need to go, especially during peak hours when there's more traffic.
Have you stayed at the W Bogotá in Colombia? Tell us about your experience, below.
All images by the author.