Hotel El Dorado in Bogota, Colombia REVIEW
Review of Hotel El Dorado in Bogota, Colombia
*NOT a sponsored post – We paid for our stay.*
*may contain affiliate links*
When it comes to choosing a hotel – location is the most important factor. Choose correctly and you are in a spot safe within walking distance of shops and cafes. Choose poorly and you’ll be looking over your shoulder IF you venture out at all or paying for taxis to take you to the hot spots in the city. We have a list of more tips for choosing the perfect hotel.
In Bogota, Colombia, choosing an area is more complicated than in other cities. The city is broken up into neighborhoods and each one has pros and cons for choosing it as your hotel location.
My first choice was to stay in the Candelaria neighborhood. It is a historic area and we love strolling around at night seeing the locals in the evening and historic sights lit up at night. The prices were also insanely inexpensive. I thought I had hit pay dirt! Like all places, though, there are pros and cons. I read the Candelaria neighborhood was ‘shady’ at night. The stories of drug deals and prostitution in the wee hours of the morning gave me pause but then I thought:
- We are a family traveling with kids so we are safely tucked in bed during the wee hours of the morning.
- My mom always said nothing good goes on between midnight and 6 am…but that could be said of anywhere. (And she said that about anywhere. 😉
But what made me choose another area than Candelaria was actually talking to Colombians (thank you online forums like ‘Girls Love Travel’) where I heard that the ‘shady stuff’ like drug deals and prostitution IS visible during the early evenings, too, and that the Candelaria area isn’t really the best choice for families.
So, we chose to use booking.com for our hotel choices. (BIG MISTAKE) I have a love/hate relationship with the site. I love the great prices but hate the tricky fine print and bait and switch.
*WARNING – Some travel bloggers partner with booking.com and make money through referrals. But I DO NOT!! I do NOT partner with booking.com because I don’t trust them. *
Use booking.com ONLY if you plan on reading the fine print TWICE.
We chose the Hotel El Dorado. The reviews were fantastic and the address was listed on booking.com as in the Chapinero neighborhood. This neighborhood gets RAVE reviews as safe and full of shops, restaurants, bars, and nightlife spots.
Imagine my surprise when we arrive and find that the hotel is actually in the quite (and restaurant, shop, bar, and nightlife spot FREE) area of Usaquen – 2 blocks away from the Parque de la 93 Zona Rosa. Thankfully this neighborhood is safe but it wasn’t at all what we wanted – a place to stroll in the evenings.
In spite of the bait and switch location, the hotel is amazing. More expensive by Colombia standards but a bargain by US standards.
Firstly, this is a very modern hotel with all the bells and whistles – beautiful entrance, restaurants, friendly staff in uniforms, a cafe, bar, gym and a lovely atrium. We especially enjoyed the garden like the atrium with a living wall. Beyond the usual amenities you would expect from a nice hotel, I love the theme – El Dorado.
A quick refresher on the Legend of El Dorado
Once upon a time, a Kind of the Muisca people covered himself with gold during celebrations. He would go to the center of Lake Guatavita on a raft and then dive in the water washing off the gold dust. The locals then threw offerings of gold and jewels into the water to appease the underwater god.
When the Spaniards conquered the tribe they thought there must be a city around nearby that had great wealth. They didn’t find the city but drained the lake finding lots of gold sacrifices.
Some of this gold is on display in the Museum of Gold in Bogota – the largest display of Gold in the World.
So, the El Dorado hotel has a gold theme which I just LOVE. Gold chains hang from the front windows and replicas of ancient gold art hang on the walls. My favorite themed items though is the GOLD chaise lounge in the room. I mean, really…how fabulous that this??
We had lunch here the first day. The food is good, but the fruit juices are the star here. They are so fabulous we each had several on the very first day. You just need to try them. We had them with water, but you can also get them made with milk. If you are an ice cream fan you’ll love them made with milk!
P. S. We drank the hotel water and had ZERO tummy issues.
My daughter’s favorite pick for the fruit drinks is strawberry. The hubby and I favor tangerine. Now, we have tangerines in the US and they are good, but these tangerines, proudly grown in Colombia are at least twice as sweet and so amazing! Our son fell in love with the juice drink called Mora, which means blackberry, but in this case is a mixture of blackberry and passionfruit.
In 4 1/2 days, we drank 23 between us! LOL! I felt good letting everyone drink all they wanted because as far as vacation treats go this one was super healthy! Just fruit juice, water, and a little bit of sugar. I had to make this at home!
Here is my recipe for the Colombian fruit drinks we enjoyed!
1/4 cup mango sorbet
1/2 cup of water
2 artificial sweetener packets (I like splenda)
Blend and enjoy!
I like Haagen Dazs’ sorbet for this drink!
I’m not much of a cook, but this was simple and the whole family just loved it. If I can do it, so can you! Enjoy and feel good about giving the family something healthy, too.
In addition to the cool El Dorado theme, there is so much color here! Glorious fresh flowers and art. I love colorful things so this part really appeals to me.
Check out these fresh flowers. Colombia is the world’s 2nd largest exporter of fresh flowers! Aren’t they amazing! We were thrilled to visit a flower farm as a day trip from Medellin.
Love the living wall which is beautiful, cleans the air and takes up very little space. We saw several examples of living walls in the city, too.
One night we were pooped and skipped dinner so of course, we needed a bedtime snack. Room service to the rescue! We chose something simple and light – veggies and rice, which hits the spot.
I like to bring snacks in the suitcase for the midnight munchies because we have something familiar and then you don’t have to order from room service, wait 30 minutes, and pay too much. Here are the things I always have on hand. I always pack Cheerios even though my youngest kid is 12. Why? They really are a great snack if anyone has a queasy stomach. They are cheap, travel well, and last forever.
The staff was warm and welcoming and extremely helpful. The night before we were to leave I tried over and over again to check in for my flight on my phone. But, I was having no luck. I went downstairs hoping that the desk clerk could help me and help me he did! I would never have been able to get through the online check-in process for our flight without his help. He really went above and beyond his job to assist us.
I would recommend this hotel to anyone who is traveling to Bogota.
Natalie, The Educational Tourist
It was interesting to read your review. I have had some problems with Booking.com in the past but I still use them because I can’t find their prices and variety anywhere else. Do you have suggestions on what to use? Also, did you google the hotel address before booking? I do this every single time because they can say the hotel is x distance from the center and I do not find this accurate. I have seen hotels that totally out of the way but advertised as being in the “city center.”
Googling is a great idea. Wish I had done that this last trip! Since I had trouble the previous time I read and re read the fine print thinking that would be all I need to do. I like VRBO, too, and we’ve found some really great properties that way – once we rented apartments in Rome and Bologna with the best locations ever. But, sometimes a hotel is a much better idea, especially if you need help from the front desk.
Once you started googling the location have you had any other problems with booking.com? Maybe that is the solution! Yeah, you!
Sounds like you did your research and ended up in the right place for you.
I’d love to visit Bogota but like you would want to feel ok about walking at night. Pity about Booking.com but I usually look at several sites before booking directly on hotel sites where there’s often decent discounts. That Mango drink though – add fruit!!