The Finest Hotel in Bogotá, Colombia
Colombian architect Santiago Medina Mejia built the stately Casa Medina as an apartment building, using materials salvaged from the relocation of two colonial convents in Bogotá — San Agustin and Santo Domingo. Stone columns, wood flooring and hand-carved doors arrived on the job site and were placed alongside wrought-iron railings and stained glass. Medina built the house with nooks, narrow hallways and hidden staircases that gracefully eschew the grand logic of modern buildings. The ceilings are low. The floors creak. Each of the 62 rooms — including those in the newly built wing — is unique. The Four Seasons, which took over the property in 2015, has outfitted these dwellings with the luxuries of modern life, but the character of the balconies, the small windows, the curve of the hand-carved wooden banisters, remains.
A modern accoutrement to Casa Medina’s historic charm is the exemplary Colombian hospitality, and with the hotel’s small capacity comes an extra sense of community. Staff greet you by name (or rather, surname), and learn your quirks (two cups of coffee in the morning, black). Dining or entertainment reservations are made without hesitation, and confirmations are delivered in envelopes slipped under your door. The hotel is also defined by its excellent displays of flowers — one of Bogotá’s unsung specialities (and, behind coffee, its second largest agricultural export). The bouquet at the end of the foyer is the centerpiece, spiraling up with layers of local, fresh-cut flowers, and every time you return to the hotel this sculptural bouquet quickly spins you back into the alternative world within these red-brick walls.
Rooms and room service are never presented without the decoration of a small blossom, and though it’s a light touch, and perhaps an antiquated one, it is one that nonetheless conforms to the lifestyle that Casa Medina creates. One morning, a nattily dressed Bogotá business-woman summed up the experience best. Before turning back to her breakfast, she stated curtly, “I hope you enjoy yourself; you have chosen the finest hotel.”