Room Request! Casa San Agustín

by Natasha Wolff | April 18, 2024 4:07 pm

From the moment you enter the stone walls of Cartagena’s old city (an UNESCO World Heritage Site), you are at once transported into another era. Spanish colonial architecture—dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries that appears virtually untouched. Housed within three conjoined 17th-century mansions, Casa San Agustín[1] has a swimming pool as its lobby’s focal point and you can spend the day at a private beach on Barú Island (45 minutes away via private boat). The award-winning Restaurante Alma (helmed by chef Heberto Eljach) serves regional cuisine (serving up what is arguably the most delicious ceviche in town) and the location is convenient to sites like the Cartagena Cathedral, the Gold Museum and the Palace of the Inquisition. With just 31 rooms and suites, the staff forms a personal relationship with each guest, offering insightful recommendations to first-time visitors. The concierge has even been known to make magic happen—like arranging a coveted Saturday night reservation at the hottest restaurant in town on just a day’s notice. At Casa San Agustín, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World[2], each room is designed with an authentic Colombian aesthetic: rich dark wood, a palette of cool and refreshing blues and greens, natural fabrics and textures and bathrooms feature gorgeous mosaic tiling. Local artisans were commissioned to create bespoke furnishings including ironwork beds, chandeliers and sconces in combination with vintage pieces and artifacts, reflecting a sensibility that is more like a luxurious private home than a hotel.

The courtyard at Alma Restaurante at Casa San Agustín

The courtyard at Alma Restaurante at Casa San Agustín

DuJour spoke with the property’s marketing coordinator, Jairo Cuesta, to discover what makes it so special.

What’s the most requested room at the property?

Well the Penthouse of course! But more realistically I would say the Capital Suites.

What makes it so special?

The Yabu Pushelberg loft-inspired design of these seven suites gives a real sense of elegant open planned living and the separate living room space is a great advantage. But, I would say the biggest draw for these suites is the iconic London views. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow the guests to gaze out over some of the most recognizable views in London. Located on the corners on the property, they have the most fantastic wrap-around windows, affording a view over the hustle and bustle whilst you are cosseted inside this glorious apartment-like space. The key feature for me (as I love to entertain) is the dining table, six guests can dine comfortably creating a real home feel.

What is the nightly rate for this room?

On average £2,995

What’s your favorite design element on property?

There are so many, but the vaulted ceiling above the pool in The Retreat is quite impressive, it gives the illusion of natural sunlight pouring into the space whilst simultaneously being around 20m or so underground. It’s phenomenal.

Suite Del Virrey at Casa San Agustín

Suite Del Virrey at Casa San Agustín

What’s an interesting titbit about the hotel that speaks to its status as an icon?

As a condition for the planning approval for The Londoner, we were required to contribute an artwork to the surrounding community and we chose to integrate the piece into the building itself, holding a competition that Ian Monroe, a local based artist won.  So the glorious glazed blue tiles, which adorn the exterior of The Londoner, are in fact art. Which leads us perfectly to the extensive art collection which resides throughout every area within the hotel.

What’s your personal favorite room? Why?

The Signature Suite. It is my dream apartment, high above the city, overlooking Trafalgar square and beyond.

What special perk or amenity do you offer that no one knows about?

The Residence. It feels like a private club hidden above the ground floor. A mezzanine floor made up of three unique spaces only accessible to hotel guests, it is somewhere to relax, work or socialize and complimentary breakfast pastries, antipasti, soft drinks tea and coffee are served throughout the day. There is even a secret rare whisky room hidden past the powder rooms.

How about one more fun fact about the property?

Yabu Pushelberg designed the hotel to be like a theater set to tie in with the nearby West End. My favorite story of local performance legend is that of Léotard, a French acrobatic performer, who made his music hall debut at the Alhambra Theatre in May 1861 with his flying trapeze act. He invented and made famous a skin-tight one-piece garment and wore it for his performances. This went on to be used by the ballet and in the circus and came to be known as “the leotard.”

Alma Restaurante at Casa San Agustín

Alma Restaurante at Casa San Agustín

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