Published on March 6th, 2016 | by Mark Chesnut
HOTEL REVIEW: Hotel Living 55 Bogota — Is It an Apartment or a Hotel?
My on-going consulting work with Great Value Vacations recently brought me to Bogota, Colombia, where I helped the GVV team to scout out new hotels for exciting new Colombia vacation packages (the consulting I did with them for Panama has resulted in some really great deals that include airfare and hotels, so stay tuned for some cool options for Colombia, too).
After our work was done and the Great Value Vacations Team left Colombia, I stayed a few extra days to catch up on a few more things in Bogota. For one night in between accommodations, I checked into Hotel Living 55, an budget-priced rental facility in the Chapinero district. If you’re looking for a centrally located, attractively priced apartment-style hotel in Bogota, it may be a good option. Here’s a review of my experience.
THE STYLE: Depending on where you see it listed or advertised, this property in Bogota’s Chapinero neighborhood may be called Hotel Living 55 or Apartamentos Living 55 — an indicator that this is more along the line of an Airbnb-style accommodation, albeit with a receptionist, tiny lobby and breakfast included. An extremely nondescript entrance on a busy side street in the Chapinero district is marked with a sign so tiny — and a door so unimpressive — that when I first arrived, I thought I’d mistaken the address. But once inside, the property is compact but pleasant, with contemporary decor touches like plastic mid-century reproduction chairs and retro-cool music playing in the small second-floor lounge. (In case you were wondering, the “55” in the Living 55 name refers to the street where it’s located; a common practice in Bogota, as evidenced by my earlier review of the upscale Hotel Morrison 114.)
COLOMBIA TRAVEL TIPS: Looking for something more luxurious but style affordable? Check out my review of Hotel Morrison 114 in Bogota
THE ROOMS: I stayed in room 308, which is essentially a compact studio apartment with all of the necessities, including a seating area and kitchen equipment that includes a full sink, microwave, nearly full-sized refrigerator, two-burner stove, and utensils for eating and cooking. The large closet has a safe-deposit box, and the king-size bed is framed by vintage ads for beds and women’s cologne. The bathroom is tiny but serviceable (although I found that water leaked out onto the floor when I showered) and the small balcony, which looks out into an interior terrace, was a pleasant option for enjoying Bogota’s moderate climate. The the main window looks out on a rather busy thoroughfare, and some noise from traffic did seep into my room. I paid a rate of about $34 for one night, which I found extremely reasonable for a clean and up-to-date Bogota hotel (there are other options for slightly more that feature more space or a larger terrace).
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HOTEL FEATURES: Among the elements I most appreciated at this Bogota hotel were the free WiFi (although it was sometimes weak in my room) and the small, second-floor lounge, where a computer, free coffee and tea and a filtered water dispenser sat, making it easy to refill water bottles.
The free breakfast is another nice plus, and you can choose from four different menu options, ranging from healthy to eggy — as well as the option to eat in your room or in the lounge.
Chapinero is a middle-class commercial neighborhood that’s not particularly attractive (especially on the noisy commercial strip of Carrera 13, which my room faced), but it’s more central than many parts of town, making it relatively easy to reach the historic city center as well as other neighborhoods popular with foreign visitors. Since Chapinero also happens to be Bogota’s biggest gay neighborhood, Hotel Living 55 is also a good option for travelers looking to take part in the city’s thriving LGBT nightlife; the majority of which is within a few blocks of the property — including the massive Theatron nightclub complex.
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BEST FOR: Budget-minded leisure travelers looking for pleasant accommodations and an apartment-style experience (with full kitchen) as well as hotel services such as free breakfast, maid service and reception desk. It’s also ideal for LGBT travelers who want a Bogota vacation within walking distance of most of the Bogota’s gay nightlife.
This is such a small-scale property that it doesn’t seem to even have its own website, but it can be booked via sites like Hotels.com, Booking.com and — of course — through LatinFlyer’s own booking engine, which compares more than a dozen top travel sites to get the best rates.
PRICE: About $38 and up, including free WiFi and breakfast.