We can’t promise you that Simon Bolivar slept in the grand home in Mompos that is now Hotel Portal de la Marquesa, but there’s a good chance. He spent a lot of time in this part of Colombia in his latter years. The area may feel a little deja-vu familiar if you’ve read the Gabriel Garcia Marquez book The General and His Labyrinth.
The river island city of Mompos doesn’t get all that many visitors from the English-speaking world, but Santa Cruz de Mompox (as it’s more formally called) is a UNESCO World Heritage City. Here’s that organization’s description:
Founded in 1540 on the banks of the River Magdalena, Mompox played a key role in the Spanish colonization of northern South America. From the 16th to the 19th century the city developed parallel to the river, with the main street acting as a dyke. The historic centre has preserved the harmony and unity of the urban landscape. Most of the buildings are still used for their original purposes, providing an exceptional picture of what a Spanish colonial city was like.
This hotel has been a labor of love for its owner and developer, a major restoration from the original Palacio de la Marquesa de Valdehoyos.”Ultimately, Alberto and his team were able to save many original architectural elements including arches, iron windows, floor and roof tiles (some of which are more than 300 years old), most of the original wood columns and pillars, and the original patios.”
Naturally they took the opportunity to modernize where needed while they were at it, so you get your Wi-Fi, your flat-screen TV, and a DVD player. They also have artwork from the modern age gracing the walls and some furniture that’s definitely not from the 1800s. Expect a comfortable bath with good toiletries and nice public areas with a sense of place for lounging around outside your quarters.
This hotel is like a bed-and-breakfast, with just five rooms and limited facilities. If the suite is not rented there’s a small pool, but if the suite is occupied they get it all to themselves. A full made-to-order breakfast is included in the rates, which are a great value even by current Colombia exchange rate standards—just $58 to $80 for an evocative historic boutique hotel.
See our full review with more photos of Portal de la Marquesa hotel in Mompos / Mompox, Colombia.