Published on March 13th, 2016 | by Mark Chesnut
Here’s What $55 Buys You on Airbnb in Bogota, Colombia
Everyone knows that Airbnb provides vacation rentals — as well as business-travel accommodation options — at a variety of price points around the globe. But what you get for the money can vary widely, especially in Latin America. So what does $55 a night buy you in Bogota, Colombia?
Colombia is one of the best places in South America for great hotel deals right now — and during my recent business trip to Colombia‘s capital, I stayed several different places that fit a variety of different traveler types. One, the Morrison 114, is an upscale Bogota hotel that my client, Great Value Vacations, uses for some of its Colombia vacation packages (read my review of Morrison 114 here). The second place I stayed, Hotel Living 55, is a budget-priced property that offers apartment-style accommodations in a central location (you can check out my review of Hotel Living 55 here). And finally, I decided to experiment with Airbnb offerings in Bogota — and I must say I was quite pleased with the results. Here’s why.
THE BUILDING: For $55 a night, I stayed in what was billed on Airbnb as a “Fantastic one bed duplex penthouse,” and I consider the description to be pretty accurate, especially for the price. The modern apartment building, which is staffed by a doorman 24 hours a day, soars nine stories above Chapinero, a bustling central neighborhood that’s just a few minutes by car from most of the popular tourism sites and business districts, and is also the biggest hub for Bogota’s gay nightlife. The apartment building has a gym and is walking distance to bars, restaurants and the trendy shops that feature the work of local Colombian clothing designers. It’s also about a 20-minute walk to the Museo Nacional, the National Museum, and people like me who love to walk would have no problem in continuing further to the historic neighborhood called La Candelaria.
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THE ARRIVAL: Since I arrived early, the owner, a British man named David, allowed me to stop by and drop off my luggage. He was very attentive in general, sending me a text message with the full address before my arrival (via WhatsApp, which is always a good app to have when traveling internationally), and a follow-up message after my full check-in to make sure everything was in order.
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THE APARTMENT: The apartment sits on the top two floors of the building, with attractively modern decor including some interesting photography, plus very good WiFi (much more reliable than the two Bogota hotels where I’d stayed previously on this visit). The entrance floor featured, in addition to the full kitchen, a half bathroom, dining table with four chairs, and comfortable seating area that’s accented by a fireplace, a bookshelf that’s filled with mostly English-Language fiction and non-fiction (including some handy Bogota and Colombia travel guides) and — most impressively — floor-to-ceiling doors and windows on one wall, which open onto a terrace that offers views of the city as well as the surrounding mountains.
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I loved the modern design of the staircase, which leads to the apartment’s upper level, where the large bedroom has a king-size bed and TV with cable and DVD player (there were even some DVDs in the apartment to watch; there is no TV in the living room, which was fine with me). A large walk-through closet offers lots of storage space, and the full bathroom was modern and clean (furnished with bath amenities), with a shower stall that I especially liked because of the skylight that lets in natural light during the daytime. Also among my favorite aspects of this Bogota apartment rental is the second-level balcony, which sits off of the bedroom and is even larger than the one off the living room. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the view (Carrera 7, the street where this apartment is located, is heavily trafficked, but being eight or nine stories up helps to minimize some of that noise).
BEST FOR: Leisure and business travelers looking for apartment-style accommodations with extra space in Bogota, in a secure, doorman building, at a reasonable price.