Travel can be satisfying, yet consuming. From time to time, fatigue laces the body and mind, and a comforting accommodation is necessary for the weary traveller. While a clean warm bed may be all that is sufficient, nothing beats the added value of true hospitality such as gold service, and thoughtful amenities congregated in a central location. Hotel Antonio Nariño in Villa de Leyva has all these and more.
Conveniently located in Villa de Leyva
Located northeast of Bogota and accessible by a 3-hour drive, Villa de Leyva is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Colombia. This quaint town is part of the Colombian National Network of Heritage Towns and has been around since 1572 when it was founded to house Spanish soldiers after the conquest.
Colonial architecture awashed in white and green lines the cobbled streets that span out to the 14,000sqm Plaza Mayor - the largest square in Colombia and one of the largest in Latin America. Just a stone’s throw away stands the colonial-style Hotel Antonio Nariño, which also happens to be less than 5 minutes walking distance from the bus terminal (gateway to Villa de Leyva).
While all attractions within the heritage town is pretty accessible on foot, it is awesome to simply cross the street to the House Museum of Antonia Nariño (Casa Museo Antonio Nariño), go for a morning/evening stroll in the Principal Park located behind the hotel or even enjoy delicious food options just down the street.
Knowledgeable, helpful and friendly staff
Cliché as it may seem, the term ‘home away from home’ applies well for the 24-room Hotel Antonio Nariño that has been expanding in recent years. More like a cross between a B&B and boutique hotel, one will instantly be put at ease upon stepping into the well-decorated reception area. The friendly and knowledgeable staff seem to know every guest personally!
Ran out of Colombian Pesos on a Sunday? The friendly staff may just be able to help with money exchange. Need recommendations to some of the town’s best restaurants? You will not be disappointed! Besides having an impressive knowledge of the town, the staff gives one a sense of Hotel Antonio Nariño being a people’s business rather than just a sleeping space.
Harmonious design with thoughtful amenities
The correct usage of space and energy can make a great difference in a room, and it seems like the good people of Hotel Antonio Nariño understood this. The conserved colonial building contains two central courtyards with water features that reminds one of the fengshui concept that emphasises on water (a symbol of wealth) and good ventilation. On hindsight, the familiar architectural style that resembles some of the historical buildings in Singapore makes sense since both Colombia and my home country were once under colonial rule, albeit very different rulers.
The 2-storey Hotel Antonio Nariño also delights her guests with considerate little touches such as heartwarming decorations to suit special occasions (e.g. Christmas), plenty of common spaces for lazy lounging, water dispenser with coffee/tea selection, etc. Art lovers will be delighted with the colourful paintings on the wall too.
Cosy room for the weary traveller in Villa de Leyva
While the standard double room may be small for some, the tall ceiling and smart use of space provide guests with everything that you may possibly need within reach. Digital nomads or tech junkies will be happy to know of the stable (free) Wi-Fi signal and multiple socket points. Those wall-mounted hooks, as well as a separate open closet area, are brilliant ideas, but most importantly, the comfortable bed with firm mattress and smooth duvet will ensure restful sleep! Unless you wish to stay up watching cable TV…
For those who can afford to splurge, the suites are almost double in size and contain a fireplace, antique-looking chairs as well as spa bath!
Family portraits lined the ground level corridor of Hotel Antonio Nariño. If you are an early riser like me, you may encounter the man in the picture who also happens to be the friendly hotel proprietor. Serendipity as such may open one to the lives and stories within Villa de Leyva, providing the perfect (and value-for-money) haven for the weary traveller.
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