When most people hear the name of Cali, Colombia, “hip boutique hotel” is probably not the first phrase that comes to mind. With all the incarnations of Escobar shows, movies, and telenovelas that have been released lately, it’s going to take a while for the city to shake off its sordid past. When a place like Now Hotel opens up, however, it’s proof that times have changed and investment is flowing back in.
This is not an over-the-top luxury hotel nor a retreat for new-money millionaires looking for a place to run up $1,000 bar tabs. Rates top out at $150 before taxes. Now Hotel is designed like a place meant to please the crowds in South Beach or New York though.
The NOW Hotel sets the tone from the moment you walk into the airy lobby, which is full of arresting touches including bright umbrellas hanging from the very high rafters, playful graphics on the walls instead of boring signs to mark elevators, and a retractable roof. The overall effect is urban, industrial, and sexy. It’s the kind of space where a fashion shoot could be happening in the lobby while a business meeting is going on upstairs.
It can be a little too clever for its own good sometimes, the unwanted side effect of many a modern boutique hotel. Like the remote control meant to adjust everything, but with nothing intuitive about the controls. Or the pool that is a nice backdrop for photos shot from the right angle, but it too small for more than a plunge.
The 19 rooms are well-equipped and attractive, however, with positive touches including under-bed lighting, a music player with iPod dock, a four-head shower in the bathroom, and a furnished balcony or terrace.
The main restaurant serves breakfast in the morning and then transitions into a sushi restaurant popular with locals. You can belly up to the bar off to the side or have drinks in the lounge chairs while colorful umbrellas are suspended from the retractable roof overhead.
This property is located in an area that gave Cali its original claim to fame–as the supposed birthplace of salsa. Dance the night away nearby and then come back to modern times in this sleek hotel.
See our detailed review of NOW Hotel Cali in Colombia.