The Charlee review

Yeah we know, if you’re older than 30 the first thing that pops into your head when you hear Medellin is not “trendy.” But this city is a magnet for the creative class and they’ve got an excellent hotel meant for them in the Charlee.

When drug kingpin Pablo Escobar ruled from his base in Medellin, the cold-hearted killer turned the city into one of the most dangerous in the world. He became one of the world’s top-10 richest men on the backs of the Colombians until he was killed by special forces from Colombia and the U.S. in 1993.

A lot has happened in the 20 years since, of course. Colombia as a whole is much safer and Medellin is the most dramatic example of how far things have come. “Medellín: Adelante y Sin Reversa” – which roughly translates to “Go forward without looking back.” This is now a city of artists and entrepreneurs, entertainers and expatriates. The tourism industry is picking up fast and the Charlee Hotel is the shining jewel.

We first mentioned this hotel when writer Judith Fein was gushing on about the cuisine in Medellin, in this story Cooking, Culture, and Cobblestones in Colombia. Her photographer partner Paul just gave us a full detailed review of Charlee though.

Call it a boutique hotel, a design hotel, or art hotel, but it follows the template of new luxury hotels catering to a younger and more creative clientele. Dramatic lighting and commissioned custom art work adorn spaces from bottom to top, including attention-grabbing images on the room doors like a woman reading while sitting on a toilet.

The balconies here are a big draw too:

The room’s star feature is the view through expansive glass windows of Medillín, bustling by day and glittering at night. The best place to experience it is on the huge balcony which sports oversized banana leaf armchairs, a bamboo sofa, an oval wooden table, and a kitchen with a Teppanyaki grill just waiting for a private chef to cook for you, in case you want to enjoy an intimate dinner.

This attractive 42-room hotel is small enough to enable personal service from the bilingual staffers and the main restaurant gets high marks in a city with plenty of good competition.

See our full review of The Charlee Hotel in Medellin or see more reviews of the best luxury hotels in Colombia.