Casa San Agustin is a world class luxury boutique hotel sitting in the heart of Cartagena’s enchanting Old Walled City. It is the epitome of romance and old world charm mixed with the lively culture and history of Cartagena. We spent some time there and loved every minute of it. Their hospitality is excellent, the property is stunning, and the dining is unforgettable! I can’t say enough good things about the hotel. It is by far the best hotel in Cartagena and worth a visit.
Whether you stay there or not, you should experience their mixologists and exquisite dining at Alma Restaurant, under the direction of Executive Chef Heberto Eljach. We had one of the best meals we’ve ever had abroad at Alma. There is a variety of seating areas, from their beautiful open air courtyard accompanied by tropical foliage to their indoor rooms, filled with rich leather furniture and rustic tables. The bar area is swanky and understandably gets quite busy at night.
To start with, Jonathan tried a Caipirinha, his South American favorite, and I had a fancy gin and tonic made with 24 year old gin. Alma is well known for its craft cocktails. We spoke with the bartenders, and they truly are passionate about creating unique and tasty drinks.
Following cocktails, we tried two cold appetizers. One was a burrata di bufala (buffalo cheese) surrounded by a nest of tomatoes, lettuce, tomato chutney, pesto, and balsamic vinegar. It was a more advanced version of a caprese salad and tasted better too. Our other appetizer was a unique ceviche with a Cartagena twist. It featured shrimp in a Kola Roman sauce and double fried plantains, which really are twice as crispy and delicious as regular fried plantains. Kola Roman is a red soda made famous in Cartagena in the 1800s, and it reminds me of Big Red if you haven’t had a chance to try it for yourself. The shrimp ceviche paired with the soda-based sauce was a unique and tasty twist on regular ceviche.
Now on to the mains, where I had the best soup of my life. Alma makes a Cartagena style seafood chowder that is to die for. Name a seafood, and it’s in this dish. It’s made with lobster, shrimp, squid, octopus, prawns and mussels, all in a lobster bisque made with coconut milk and served over coconut rice. This is something you must try if you are in Cartagena. Do not leave the city without trying it. I mean it! The other main course we tried gets five stars for presentation. It was a red snapper cooked with onions and tomatoes, all wrapped in a palm leaf. Delicious!
Did we try dessert? Of course we did. Something is wrong with us if we don’t get dessert. We tasted coconut lemon sorbet, coconut pie, ghost berries with shimmery gold dust, and a meringue with ice cream. They topped the meal off in a sweet, refreshing, and very Colombian way.
Overall, we give Casa San Agustin and Alma a solid five star review for creating a luxurious ambiance, amazing food, and excellent hospitality. This hotel is a must-see while in Cartagena and a perfect combination of romance and culture!