Arrival/Check-in: When riding in from the airport, one’s first sight of Medellín is from high above, and the road drops into it through a posh hillside neighborhood. Halfway down, suspended above the city, stands the InterContinental. Still wowed by the dramatic approach, we stepped out of the taxi, from which the bellman took our luggage. It arrived at our room less than five minutes after our speedy check-in by the English-speaking reception staff. The marble and glass lobby is large, airy and bright, with several comfortable seating areas opening to a lounge and bar. That space is surrounded by glass and overlooks the hotel’s large swimming pool, set in a garden terrace with trees. (29/30)
Guest Quarters: The room was spacious but not huge, with a king-sized bed covered in high-count sheets and a light duvet. A desk was long enough to accommodate both of our laptops and allow us each workspace. WiFi is free, the minibar well stocked, and the bedside and desk lighting are excellent. We especially liked the fact that we could open the windows, given Medellín’s year-round spring climate. That did prove a bit noisy on Saturday night, since our fifth-floor room overlooked the front entrance, where a wedding made for a lot of exuberant coming and going. (Quieter rooms on the city side, which we will ask for next time, have sweeping views.) The large closet had a safe, shelves, ample hanging space with padded satin hangers and sturdy suit hangers. The bathroom had a tub, shower and sink along with counter space and good lighting. The amenities were InterContinental’s own label, and the very complete travel accessory box contained a comb, razor, nail care kit, sewing kit and several other handy items. We were grateful for the two soft terry robes (why do so many hotels expect two people to share a robe?). Housekeeping was a tad uneven, with towels not replaced one day (solved almost instantly by a call to the desk), but otherwise good. Our wake-up calls were prompt. (27/30)
Services/Amenities: Staff members always greeted us pleasantly and were helpful. The English-speaking concierge gave us a detailed city map on check-in and offered good advice on restaurants and getting around the city on its excellent metro system. Breakfast was served in a sun-filled room with a garden terrace; the extensive buffet offered not just the international standard hot dishes and made-to-order omelets but a changing selection of local specialties that included delicious warm cheese buns and tasty mild tamales. The selection of fresh fruit and fresh-made juices of exotic (to us) fruits every morning was astonishing. In the lower lobby are a gift shop and ATM. Off the main lobby are a well-stocked little drugstore/bookshop and a smart beauty salon (ladies’ cut and style, $10!) The day we flew home, we had to leave the hotel just at dawn, before breakfast was served. As we were checking out, a waiter appeared with a tray holding glasses of fresh-squeezed orange juice — a nice send-off touch, and very welcome. (40/40)
The Experience: The InterContinental overlooks Medellín from the stylish El Poblado neighborhood, along a palm-lined boulevard that’s home to some of city’s best discos and nightspots. It’s a short ride into the city center below, which is now a safe destination and very hospitable to foreigners. We were very comfortable at the hotel and would certainly choose it again.
Total Score: 96/100
Calle 16 28-41 Variante Las Plamas
tel 57 4 319 4450
After driving through the arts and entertainment district of Delray Beach, I was expecting the lively and vibrant energy to follow me to my doorstep at Crane’s Beach House that evening. I was pleasantly surprised when the spirited rumble of a night downtown halted right at the front gate. As I walked the pathway to the front office for check-in, I was welcomed by a quiet rustle of the greenery and flowers that guided my walk, strung with lights and colorful, tropical décor. At check-in I was provided with a complimentary parking pass; although I would only be there for one night, I much appreciated this unexpected perk. I received my room information, including a pass code that would open my door. Keyless entry was a nice touch.
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