One of the greatest consolations after returning to the bustling city of Bogota with her cold, grey skies and unfathomable bad traffic must be the instant greetings of those familiar faces; “Señora Karen, Buenas Tarde!” (Good afternoon, Ms Karen!) I was pleasantly surprised that the staff at Hotel Excelsior remembered my name and asked about my side trip from the capital city.
In a bustling city of almost 10 million population, Hotel Excelsior exudes a heartwarming charm where service is first class in a hotel that has only been rated three (due to its size and facilities). However, having stayed in another reputable 5 star hotel in Bogota on several occasions, I felt justified to share my comparison and without a doubt, the boutique Hotel Excelsior is my top choice mainly for its great service, good location and simple, delicious breakfast.
Top-notch service with a heart
While good service is easily taken for granted, staff at Hotel Excelsior exudes professionalism with friendliness and great humor - I cannot help but to wonder how the management found these employees but surely, they are the gems of the hotel! From the friendly welcome, smooth check-in to making sure that guests are settled in the room, it is difficult not to feel at ease with the charisma and knowledge of these hoteliers and naturally, there is the assurance that one is in good hands.
Location and security
Tucked away in a quiet corner of the so-called “Zona Rosa” area, the unassuming Hotel Excelsior provides great convenience to those who loves to dine and party. This north-based neighbourhood is also known to be a safer zone as compared to the Bogota downtown area, and as a solo female traveller, I felt safer strolling the streets in this area. In any case, the security of the hotel is tight and the entrance is locked at all time with a dedicated staff to open and greet guests who are entering or leaving. Hotel Excelsior is also a mere 15-minute drive (during normal traffic) from Usaquen, a pretty neighbourhood in Bogota for dining, shopping and hipster bars.
Rooms and comfort
This Bogota-based boutique hotel has 24 rooms with standard rooms and junior suites set within a 3 storey white-washed building. There is no elevator but your friendly and very strong porter will carry your luggages with ease and the only effort you need to make is to climb the short stairs.
While some rooms are somewhat dated, facilities are well-maintained and there are cable TV with English channels! This is a rare treat in the Spanish-speaking country! Those who loves firm mattress will also be pleased, although the soft pillows may not provide the same satisfaction. In particular, room 302 has a high ceiling (in case you are a high-ceiling lover like this author) and two huge queen-size beds that are good for a family of four. For the junior suite room, there is a separate sitting area with writing desk and a kitchen counter that has a microwave. Mini bars are well-stocked at all times. You are advised to bring your own toiletries when travelling in Bogota (and most parts of Colombia), even though the hotels do provide toiletries.
Simple breakfast but delicious!
While the breakfast option may seem simple to some, quality rules over quantity and the breakfast at Hotel Excelsior is something to look forward to every morning if one is staying in Bogota! Their breakfast is even better than that of the five-star hotel’s and the coffee is just divine. If you are an early riser and coffee lover like me, you will be pleasantly greeted with the deliciously aromatic scent of brewed coffee (mind you, not instant ones!). The breakfast includes a glass of juice and a choice of hot beverages between coffee and tea, fruits, pastries and the option of sandwiches or eggs. Try the sizzlingly fluffy scrambled eggs with tomato and onions - a traditional breakfast dish in Colombia - and I assure you, it’s one of the best that you’d get to try in the country.
Despite the distance from downtown Bogota (often made worse by the bad traffic), Hotel Excelsior is possibly one’s best option in the city for safe location and the great service will ensure a comfortable stay. I know I am amongst friends when not only the staff remembers my name but I remember theirs.
Address: Carrera 14 Nº 86A-96, Chapinero, 110221 Bogotá, Colombia (see map)
Contact: 0034 928 92 34 17
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