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Maddy1982
Melbourne, Australia

Amazing & brand new Santa Marta option

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 13 Jan 2024
I travelled to this hotel in January 2024 with my husband and two children aged 8 and 6 years, in the city-view room with two double beds. We had originally booked this hotel for one night, as we were in transit, but we unexpectedly loved it and decided to stay two nights!

Beach - This hotel has absolute beach frontage. There is a large sandy courtyard with sun lounges where you can relax on the sand while still being served by the hotel. This is gated and they have a security person vetting who comes in. You may also leave the hotel precinct to visit the main beach and water. There are many nuisances on the Santa Marta Beach, including many touts selling jewellery, offering massages, offering cocktails, and offering a shady spot. I would suggest being polite but firm, as on one occasion I actually had a woman grab my foot and refuse to let go - she started putting lotions on me and doing a massage even though I was saying “no” and “no necesito”. I had to pull my foot firmly out of her grip. Therefore, this experience leads me to believe it’s a bit of a “give and inch / take a mile”. Be polite but firm. We ultimately did pay a small amount for a beautiful shady spot under the trees with chairs. I also took my chances on a beach cocktail, which I would not personally do as a solo female traveller, but my husband was with me. The water itself is remarkably warm and a good reminder as to why everyone loves the Caribbean! The water was calm.

Lobby, gym and common areas - wow! We were blown away by architecture, furnishings and art. Checkin was more or less seamless if a little slow. We would have liked to have known where to get drinkable water. I was also confused when the staff member said the water is potable but not drinkable, as I thought that potable meant drinkable by definition.

Gym - the gym is very fresh, bright, and well-equipped (albeit it doesn’t have a huge amount of equipment). It was very well used by guests, but I didn’t have to wait for any machines. The mats are hard to find - they are hanging in the entry. There are free weights that had a number of weights suitable or me (5kg, 7.5kg and 10kg) - I’ve had trouble finding those in hotel gyms here. There were treadmills and bikes. The sea view was nice. Well air-conditioned. Water by the cup and towels are available.

Restaurant - we had the included breakfast each day and the service was not great, especially in the outdoor areas. I would suggest arriving early for breakfast, as by about 9:30am the staff appear to be overwhelmed by doing all the coffee orders whilst also doing normal waiter stuff like fetching omelettes and pancakes. My husband and I are very chilled out, but on one occasion we had to laugh - both he and I had separately asked for coffee four times each. At one point my husband got up to request coffee, and the waiter still never came over. Meanwhile, they seemed very confused about how to add milk to the coffee - I think long blacks must be the norm here. The breakfast offerings themselves were lovely though.

We also ate at the poolside restaurant, which was delightful and a real joy (all seafood). The staff kindly accommodated our kids. There were some kid-friendly options. The wine list was good. The view of the pool was nice.

Rooms - we were in the cheapest room category but it was absolutely marvellous, spacious and exceeded our expectations in all ways. The bathroom was enormous and fitted out with marble (no bath). The main area was likewise spacious, comfortable and clean. The beds and linen were very nice. The couch was lovely. The wardrobe was huge and contained all the usuals, e.g. safe etc. We unexpectedly had a lovely balcony from which our son in particular loved to watch all the interesting construction work and the cranes (it wasn’t noisy at all though).

Pool - the pool is a bit too cold for our kids lol. Not the pool’s fault. They do love a warm pool though. Aside from the temperature, the pool is spectacular! Lots of shallow play areas for the kids. Very chill vibes and no petty people reserving sunlounges with bags of food or towels hours in advance of their actual intended time of use (Hamilton Island in Australia was the absolute worst for this behaviour!). Being from Australia, we are conscious of sun safety, so we were happy that the pool was in the partial shade for much of the morning - no need to bother with sunscreen at that time!

Wifi - strong, consistent.

Summary - I would definitely recommend staying here to a friend, with the caveat that the service can be a bit all over the place at times. Nevertheless, the staff is very friendly and kind!
Date of stay: January 2024
Trip type: Travelled with family
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
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Oriol Marquez, Director General at Hilton Santa Marta, responded to this review
Responded 15 Jan 2024
Dear Maddy1982,

Firstly, I would like to thank you having chosen the Hilton Santa Marta for your stay in town. Likewise, I would like to thank you for taking the time to provide comprehensive feedback on the hotel and the services. We are thrilled to read that you enjoyed the hotel, the location its services and above all the team hospitality. We are a bit far from Melbourne, but we certainly would love to welcome you back again.

Kind regards,

This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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5 - 10 of 51 reviews
Reviewed 11 December 2023

Amazing stay for 5 nights! Giancarlo checked us in and he was amazing, super informative, and friendly. Our room was perfect. To address some previous complaints by others, the air conditioning worked fine and the hotel is directly on the beach. By the Hilton having a private area you can lounge without being hassled by vendors and at any moment walk through a gate and onto the beach and into the water. It is a lovely beach with mostly local tourists which we loved. The breakfast was always good and the employees always welcoming, especially Jesus! Also, we loved the roof infinity pool, especially Kevin and the lifeguards. My wife and I both work in hospitality and Kevin knows what it takes. Please figure out some shade at Sikunu, we hate to see your team members dealing with the sun! Matilde in the second-floor restaurant was good to us and Samuel the chef came out to ask how everything was and if we had any critique, which was very cool. This hotel is new and may still be working out some kinks, but that is expected...the hotel we work for in Chicago is 98 years old and still improving. Again thank you Giancarlo and hope to be back soon.

Room tip: Nice mall nearby and skip the Whitehouse restaurant across the street.
Date of stay: November 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank markp6765
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Oriol Marquez, Director General at Hilton Santa Marta, responded to this reviewResponded 18 December 2023

Dear markp6765,

Firstly, I would like to thank for having chosen the Hilton Santa Marta for your last stay in town. Likewise, I would like to thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on your last stay with us. We are thrilled to read you had a great experience with us. Happy to that Giancarlo, Kevin, Matilde and the team had a positive impact you your stay.

We are looking forward welcoming you back.

Kind regards

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 September 2023

Based on the reviews, we were worried that this hotel might not be ready. But we took a gamble. And as of September 2023, this hotel is great! Feels finished.

First, location! It is not in the main part of Santa Marta, but south. It is much more quiet than main Santa Marta. It has direct access to a beach as well as a private sanded area attached to the hotel (not next to water). It will take about 30 minutes to get to the marina or the old town.

The actual hotel feels really new and nice. The lobby is massive and the rooms were great. Strong air conditioning, firm bed with good pillows, and a shower with strong water pressure.

There are two pools! One on the roof that overlooks the beach and the sunsets. And a larger one on the 2nd floor that seems to be more for families. The food and drinks on the rooftop were amazing. In fact, one night (to our surprise), there was a really fun drag show on the rooftop! Packed with people and good times!

The staff was also amazing! They all spoke English and were eager to help. We had to leave at 5am for a tour and they packed a breakfast for us. I needed a late checkout at 1pm for a Zoom for a job interview and they were able to accommodate it. All in all, we felt very well taken care of.

There is a concierge who can book tours. We did the hike to Cabos San Juan and it was ok. Hot and a lot of walking to crowded beaches. The other tour we did was a boat tour of the national park and 3 beaches. THAT was amazing. Playa Cinto was incredible. Literal paradise with almost no one on this long golden beach. We could have stayed there all day.

Granted that this is one of the more expensive hotels in Santa Marta, it does feel like it is worth the value.

Date of stay: September 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank evilkarrot
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Oriol Marquez, Director General at Hilton Santa Marta, responded to this reviewResponded 2 October 2023

Dear evilkarrot,

Firstly, we would like to thank you for having chosen the Hilton Santa Marta for your stay in town. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you as well for taking the time to write this review on your stay with us. We are thrilled to hear you had a pleasant stay, that you enjoyed our rooms, the pools, Sikunu and above all our team hospitality.

We are certainly looking forward welcoming you back to Santa Marta.

Kind regards

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 September 2023 via mobile

The hotel is great: Everything brandnew and clean. Also the staff was very nice and supportive. They tried their best even though the English level was low. We enjoyed three relaxing days at the beach.
The food was also very good. Fresh, nice taste, good quality.

Date of stay: September 2023
Trip type: Travelled with friends
Thank kapisunshine
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Oriol Marquez, Director General at Hilton Santa Marta, responded to this reviewResponded 24 September 2023

Dear kapisunshine,

Firstly, I would like to take the opportunity to thanks you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We are happy to read you had a great experience and the team when the extra mile to acomódate you.

Looking forward welcoming you back to Santa Marta.

Kind regards

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 September 2023

I have been loyal to Hilton properties for years, and this was by far my worst ever Hilton stay. For context, my husband and I decided to use ALL of our over 400k Hilton Honors points to go on our first family vacation with our four month old son. We selected the Hilton Santa Marta because we knew it was a brand new property. Based on online reviews I read before, it appears at first the hotel was working through some kinks when first opening, but more recent reviews reported a great stay. Unfortunately this was not our experience and the earlier reviews of clueless front desk staff and lack of services and solutions were correct.
We booked the most premium room, king suite with ocean view, to have all the amenities and space for ourselves and baby for five nights.

First at checkin, Yon took nearly an hour to check us in. It was a ridiculous amount of time and the hotel was not busy. There was zero consideration that we were standing there with a baby. This complete disregard for the well-being of our baby continued throughout the stay.

The room itself was large, clean and beautiful and the balcony and view were spectacular. However, there was no refrigerator installed yet. So the staff had to bring one up since it was required for our stay as I am breastfeeding and need to store milk overnight. There was no microwave either. Making it a chore each time we need to warm a bottle. Ice was also “available” on odd floors only? and we were on the 12 floor.

Then we went attempted to go to lunch on the second floor overlooking the pool, but the pool had overflowed into the restaurant. We ate at the first floor restaurant and it took nearly an hour and a half to get the meal. Again, this was not due to a busy restaurant. We were there from 1:30-4:30 pm. I was at one point walking around with a crying baby trying to put him asleep because the food had taken so long. Food was mediocre.

After lunch and the storm had passed, we went up to our room to enjoy the balcony to find it was swarming with flying ants. Hundreds! I was so nervous all night worrying that the baby would be biten because we have him in a travel crib on the floor. The hotel is fully aware of the bugs. This must be why there is NO FURNITURE on the balconies to sit outside and you can see the cleaning staff sweeping the balconies to clean the bugs up.

The next day we hit the pool, which is full sun after 11:30 am and not one umbrella in sight! The Sun is very hot in Santa Marta and our days were 90 degrees, feel like 102! Insanity to not have umbrellas for the guests.

That second day in the afternoon by BIL, who we booked a second room for for two nights, joined as as the pool and informed us his air conditioning was not working. When we returned to our room ours was not working either, and we learned the AC was turned off by the hotel. From this point on we were miserable.

The air conditioning was not fixed during the rest of our stay, 5 long hot days and 4 long sleepless nights. Our baby was miserable, unable to sleep, unable to seek refugee in the pool for extended time, because again no umbrellas. 82 degrees AT NIGHT in a hotel room is DANGEROUS temperature for a four month old. The staff could care less.

Periodically we would check in with the front desk staff for an update and ask for help to ease our discomfort. Each time, they told us something different but have NO SOLUTIONS. We asked for a fan, they said they would check and never got back to us. We asked to be moved to another Hilton property—there is a Hilton Garden Inn nearby, the staff said they has no affiliation with them and that was not an option. We attempted to leave, but there were no comparable hotels because of a Corona Sunsets music festival that weekend. The staff told us not to worry that the Hilton was going to refund us 50% for the nights affected by the outage. Since we booked with points, we asked if this would be refunded in points, the woman went to ask the manager nearby and she confirmed we would be refunded our points.

From this point we just tried to make the most of it. But each day was a struggle with the baby. And so much for using the balcony or enjoying the view bc we had to keep the curtains completely shut to help ease the heat in the room.

No fan ever came.
When the AC was “fixed” on the fourth day, it was still 76 degrees in our room overnight.

The night before checkout we stopped at the front desk to settle our accounts to avoid doing in the morning before going to the airport. The women informed us that we would be refunded for four nights. But the manager in the morning would help us. She gave us her card MARÍA ALEJANDRA YONOFF and said she would be there at 8 am to help us.

Of course the next morning, Eduardo wasted an hour of our time with lies and confusion and mixing up everything and informing us that Maria was NOT there to help. There was an assistant manager in the back room that would not come out and speak to us. Eduardo had to keep going back to ask her questions but nothing was resolved. He needs more training. Zero help. As designed, we ran out of time to resolve our issues and had to leave for the airport.

They insultingly suggested that we would get no refunds and attempted to comp two days of food and beverage which would have totaled $133 US. A FRACTION of our stay and points used. Since we were out of time and had to leave from the airport. due to the staff being so slow and confused, we said we would have to take up the complaint with Hilton Corporate. I need a respond and resolution to this ASAP. I will be back in the US on Friday 6/23 and will call to follow up then as well.

Hilton corporate finally responded to me on Sept 1 saying a credit was issued for food and beverages—which is we did not receive a credit and this is not an acceptable response to the issues with our stay.

Date of stay: June 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank cassidyjoyh
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Oriol Marquez, Director General at Hilton Santa Marta, responded to this reviewResponded 7 September 2023

Dear Cassidyjoyh,

Firstly, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for taking the time to provide us feedback on your last stay with us. I understand that your experience wasn't as you had imagined. It is correct that some areas were still on the finishing steps when you visited us (the minibars already arrived, and the balcony furniture started to arrive last week). I understand as well that the team didn't see the additional needs a young baby has and that some processes need a different approach. I sincerely thank you for that feedback that allows us to fine tune our delivery policies and adapt to all kind of circumstances. Checking with the team I learned that a service recovery under the form of Honors points has been agreed.

We truly regret you couldn't enjoy your vacation on full and in the case you would give a second opportunity to make it right, please do let me know in advance.

Kind regards

Oriol Marquez
General Manager

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Reviewed 6 August 2023

WOW this hotel got it all location convenient luxury and service the staff is extremely attentive and smiley they will make your stay unforgettable thanks everyone from valentina at the front desk to the restaurant staff you guys are amazing Muchissima gracias

Room tip: Hilton delivers once more this hotel is a jewel
Date of stay: July 2023
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank mouradb769
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Oriol Marquez, Director General at Hilton Santa Marta, responded to this reviewResponded 8 August 2023

Dear mouradb769,

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback on your last stay with us. We are thrilled to read you an unforgettable stay, enjoying the hotel location, the luxuries and above all out team hospitality. Rest assured that we will recognize Valentina and the Front Office team as well. .

Kind regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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