Click Clack Medellín might seem stern at first, being housed in Brutalist blocks, with imposing crossed girders and concrete follies inspired by the piercing shadows cast by the (very strong) sun here, according to architects Plan:b. However, inside it’s as fun-loving as can be, encouraging people to get together for good times, whether that’s over festival dining with street-style eateries (Thai, Greek, a Chinese bao stand), in convivial work and play spaces strung with greenery and packed with local art, or at happenings designed to ignite a spark. Rooms have chic, often comedic stylings and cheeky bathrooms, and design throughout is equally irreverent – from the slides in the lobby right up to the rooftop pool deck – all guaranteed to turn the most solemn-faced frowns upside down.
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Three hours of free hire of skates or e-bikes a stay
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £139.33 (COP677,350). Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of 19% per room per night prior to arrival.
Rates include a breakfast of hot and cold drinks, granola, breads and arepas, ham and cheese and fruit, plus a hot dish – enough fuel for exploring this mountainous city. And the first round of minibar drinks is on the hotel.
Outdoor film screenings often take place in the hotel’s courtyard.
At the hotel
Roof terrace, central courtyard, leafy lobby lounge, art gallery, charged laundry service, free WiFi. In rooms: Smartphone with 20 free minutes and city guides, TV, minibar, air-conditioning.
Our favourite rooms
Rooms and suites have all have a sense of Dada-esque humour, in design choices such as the oversized camera-lens lights, white-boards in the bathrooms so you can leave notes for your fellow guest, and see-through shower doors that only lovers could love. And, they have a penchant for the practical too, with one-fits-all modular storage, pegboard headboards hung with leather pockets to hold magazines, phones and Click Clack knick-knacks. Choose the M (for Medium) rooms and up if you want a balcony, an XL if you want a lounge to stretch out in, and the 2XL if you want all the above, plus a personal bar, kitchenette and more exhibitionism in the form of a freestanding bath tub steps from your bed.
While the bulk of the hotel is busy being a serious piece of architecture, the colourful roof deck and pool (open 9am to 8pm) are having a whale of a time celebrating the city’s ‘eternal spring’ weather, splashing around in the water, then wallowing in cocktails. Admire the Aburra Valley and the city’s mountain-high skyscrapers from a cabana, deck chair or floating lounger; do some very casual networking; and join the DJ-led parties at weekends.
To keep you both soothed and in shape, the hotel’s partnered with a local spa and the Power Club gym, although treatments and classes are charged at both.
The city may sweep through a valley, but there be mountains too. So, bring footwear that can cope with hills and more arduous treks on day trips. Click Clack’s indoor-outdoor, let’s-all-get-together feel is what makes it special, but it also means dressing for display among the bright young things.
To ensure guests don’t get too overwhelmed while out and about, or hit by data charges, the Smartphone in your room is loaded with city guides and a free 20 minutes of out-and-about call time.
Furry friends are welcome for a charge of COP50,000 (around £10) a night. This includes a comfy bed, bowls and wet wipes. Your pet’s vaccination certificate must be shown at check-in. See more pet-friendly hotels in Medellín.
Children can stay, technically, but, um, it’s our turn on the slide.
The plants that seem tucked into all nooks and crannies of the hotel, and climbing the walls in vertical gardens, include 45 species native to the region. Dining follows the hotel’s acronym FLOSS (fresh, local, organic, seasonal and sustainable), and the Click Clack brand was dreamt up as a way to showcase local talent, so paisa artworks and handcrafted furnishings are shown throughout.
See what’s trending among the city’s cool cats at a table for discrete spying in the courtyard.
Smash that clash, turn up the volume on your colour palette, and wear flowers in your hair – you’ll be nodding to the traditional ‘pollera colora’ skirts, chameleoning into hip cliques and standing out against the Brutalist black. Flip-flops are a no-no.
When it comes to dining, Click Clack follows the FLOSS acronym: fresh, local, organic, seasonal and sustainable. So all bases hit. In practice, this means four eateries all bringing something delicious to the table. Start with breakfast at Click Clack Kitchen under the sun in the central courtyard (fried potatoes topped with eggs and Serrano ham; deep bowls of tropical fruit; toast with avo, salmon, tarragon and lemon; oatmeal and banana pancakes), all washed down with very rich single-origin Colombian coffee. Maybe linger for lunch or dinner too, when chefs whip up the likes of chicken stuffed with dates, pistachio and cream cheese; brioche croque monsieurs; and three-cheese mushroom casserole – plus soups, salads and grain-plumped bowls. Turkish- and Greek-style restaurant Egeo is laurelled in greenery and carries on around a sociable bar island. Dips are the order of the day (of the 11 kinds of hummus, we like the smoked trout and orange, and tabbouleh and pork varieties), but the gyros are many and crudo with green harissa, saganaki goat’s cheese, rack of lamb, and tahini-dipped eggplant and chicken dumplings bring the Med to your mouth. And on the first floor is Mekong, a tropical-in-feel Thai restaurant with curries of all colours, ‘buda’ bowls and stir frys, and more flavour-burst takes: lobster tail on green papaya; fish with coriander kaffir lime, galangal, lemon and basil; rotis stuffed with pork, mango, edamame and pickled onions. And Big Baos is a casual grab-and-go stop serving the pillowy Chinese buns.
The rest of the hotel might be a moody industrial goth, but in La Deriva it’s sunshine and lollipops – and mai tais – with rays flooding the terrace, DJs on the weekends, and beachy colour pops of coral, yellow and turquoise. Set by the pool on the rooftop, you’re privy to sweeping Aburra Valley views, and Colombia’s coolest ebb and flow through here sipping on lychee martinis; punches loaded up with bourbon, rum, mezcal and juices; and barkeep concoctions such as the Hook, with tequila, naranjilla, guava, ginger, apple, grape shrub, pepper and lemon. Keep things on an even keel by ordering up a round of fish tacos, tiradito and tostadas. Then take your tastebuds on a trip east with Mekong’s offerings: a Thonle Tom with bourbon, smoked cinnamon, pineapple nectar and passionfruit; or a Mango Thai with tequila, coriander honey and green mango. And the Click Clack Kitchen has yet another list of signature sippables – we like the Plot Twist, with more tequila, passionfruit, chocolate and salt; or the Boiler Beer’s simple blend of a local cerveza and bourbon.
At the Click Clack Kitchen breakfast runs from 6am to 10am, then food is served throughout the day till 10pm.
Dubbed a 'bed picnic' by the hotel, room service is available from 6am to midnight.
Click Clack is following up its success in Bogotá by hitting Colombia’s valley city in El Poblado, a watering hole for hipsters heaving with shops, bars and clubs.
José María Córdova airport is just a 25-minute drive away. Transfers meander through Antioquia’s verdant hills and cost COP150,000 (around $40) for up to three guests, or COP175,000 (around $45) if you’re arriving between 10pm and 5am.
The nearest Metro station is Poblado, a 10-minute taxi ride away – it’s on Line A, which runs from north to south.
Driving in Medellín takes patience and vigilance – traffic delays can be long and you’ll wonder what you did to offend the many motorcyclists, but generally not overly stressful. With the city’s metro and cable-cars and trips easily arranged out of town, you might find you don’t need wheels. Should you bring them, there’s no carpark at the hotel, but the valet will take care of things for COP50,000 a go.
Worth getting out of bed for
Medellín is a city powering forward, where skyscrapers vie for loftiness with the mountains sheltering the Aburra Valley it occupies and an innate go-go-go-ness (whether the local paisa are working or playing) keeps this dynamo’s energy high and makes its troubled past seem like a distant memory. El Poblado neighbourhood where the hotel is set is perhaps most emblematic of Medellín’s drive; it’s certainly the city’s coolest, thronged with indie boutiques, picnicking parks, myriad restaurants, and vivacious bars and discotecas blaring reggaetón – here’s where in-the-know locals and tourists alike come to let their hair down. At the hotel you can kick things off with a leisurely swim on the roof terrace, and from up here you’ll get the lay of the land. Then muse over the modern Colombian and Latin American works in onsite art gallery La Cometa before furthering your knowledge at the Medellín Modern Art Museum and Lokkus Arte Contemporáneo. Medellín’s most infamous son, cartel leader Pablo Escobar, may be long dead (indeed, his gravesite in Itagüi is still causing controversy – an outcry was had when rapper Wiz Khalifa laid flowers on it in an alleged homage), but his (larger than) life and staggering wealth (around $30 billion at his peak) still hold some sway in the city. See artefacts from his empire at the Casa Museo Pablo Escobar, and take a day trip to his crumbling countryside estate, Hacienda Nápoles, where you can play paintball in his former stables if you wish. The Memory House Museum offers a more sobering look at Colombian conflicts, and the art deco Museo de Antioquia winds the clock back further. After delving into such a gritty history, go green and find leafy respite at the Jardín Botánico, which has striking pavilions, a butterfly house, cactus garden and Orchideorama – home to rare varieties. And close to the hotel you can pick up snacky things and spread a blanket out in Parque Lineal La Presidenta (on Sundays the farmer’s market is set up next door) or lively El Poblado Park, where there are art installations and often screenings or fairy-lit parties. Be sure to hire a bike too: Sundays are reserved for Ciclovía, where parts of the roads are shut down to encourage people to bike or walk about. For unique souvenirs, Makeno Concept Store showcases the work of paisa artisans, from fashion to ceramics to jewellery; but locals also love rummaging through the flea markets at San Fernando Plaza and Parque Bolivar. Comuna 13 – a sprawl of former slums to the west of the city – was once its poorest and most dangerous barrio, but its transformation into a thriving, diverse community has been drastic – and, thankfully for both the residents and tourists who don’t want to climb hundreds of steps – its infrastructure has been boosted by escalators and lifts. Most tours focus on the dynamic and message-laden graffiti art that scrawls through its streets; the hotel can help you to book. To get yet another view on the city, try from up above on the cable-cars that run along lines J, K and L. And, if you have a day or two to spare, head out to see how Colombia’s turbo-powered coffee is made with a visit to a plantation, or go to Guatapé to climb the 649 steps to the top of rock formation El Peñón before unwinding with watersports. On request, the hotel can organise private helicopter rides and tours focused on culture, flowers and history.
The essence of true Colombian cuisine is hard to nail, but its past is entrenched in worker roots, using hearty, hardy dishes to energise those toiling away in the mountainous climes, add in some Creole influence, abundance from the tropical landscape and a strong barbacoa tradition, and you might end up at the word sabrosura, which roughly translates to ‘delightfulness’ – it’s what the locals say anyways. A new crop of chefs aim to show off the country’s edible treasures and revive pre-Hispanic recipes. Take Tal Cual, where prawns come in an edible ‘watercolour’ of smashed avo, lima beans and sauce; beef neck comes very slowly cooked and served on corn arepa purée; and you can order up a platter of various tiraditos and ceviches. Carmen lets the chef do the heavy lifting when it comes to choices, with a seven-course tasting menu. Its Cordon Bleu-trained, Cali-hailing owners might serve you ember-roasted cauliflower with yucca and turmeric curry; wild duck with parsnip, passionfruit, granadilla relish and farmer’s cheese; or crab rice soaked in a citrus bisque and green sugar-cane liquor; but here the flavours of the month are all exciting. At El Cielo, dishes such as ice-cream made using Achira biscuits, with a cheese arepa, spinach emulsion and potato; and scallop tartare with cauliflower puree, corn nuts and Bloody Mary sorbet in a tomatillo and jalapeño soup, arrive looking like trays of moon rocks and gemstones, invariably textured, smoking or just deliciously otherworldly. On the more casual side of things, pizzeria Zorba knows how to top up with the likes of spinach with pistachio, caramelised onions and macadamia cream; or sundried tomatoes steeped in red wine with Monterey Jack, feta and honey.
Yes, Medellín is gaining ground when it comes to elegant eateries, but Colombia’s culinary excellence comes from the streets. Just take Anthony Bourdain’s word for it – when he visited for Parts Unknown, he made a beeline for the Plaza Minorista José María Villa market, home to around 2,500 stalls, most of which sell food. Pass by the piles of tropical fruit and pungent fish and meat counters to get stuck into a plate of calentao, heaped with pot-luck leftovers intended as a breakfast for busy workers. Close to the hotel, Criminal Taqueria is renowned for putting delicious things in hand-sized wraps – get one of everything and a Gran Burro burrito for good measure. And for pastries with tropical fillings, stacked bagels and healthier brunch picks, try Rumah Soul-Up.
El Social lives up to its name – its charmingly slapdash interiors (a terrace with rainbow tiles, seats that bear no relation to one another, spill-out-into-the-night tables) fill with good-spirited revellers looking to find the same in their drinks. Conversely, Bastardo does not live up to its name and is filled with a rather lovely crowd. Their terrace has neons and fairy lights, the margaritas are strong and they serve such a thing as a sangria tree.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this capsule creative-community of a hotel in made-good Medellín and unpacked their sacks of weapons-grade coffee beans and rave-hued mochila bag, a full account of their action-packed break of social engagement and engagements will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Click Clack Medellín in Colombia…
Have the Borg landed in Medellín? You might ask while looking at the Jenga-for-goths exterior of the Click Clack hotel, which – with its criss-cross black girders, expanses of black wood and steel, and Brutalist concrete accents – could easily get mistaken for a menacing spacecraft. But, look again – do marauders really have that much time for gardening? Is that contented chatter you hear in the distance? And, is that a slide?! Beyond the stern exterior, amid the extravagant tufts of tropical greenery that stop things from feeling too funereal is a wonderland for creatives, where you can indeed slide into the lobby (many of the stairways come paired with one), dine festival style at various indoor-outdoor street eateries (Thai tacos, pillowy baos, Greek-Turkish menus of many hummuses and more) and stay in super-styled rooms designed with a Dada-esque humour (take the oversized camera-lens lights for example), and showers with opaque doors best suited for lovers. Vertical gardens, colourful collect-and-connect work and play spaces, and a rooftop swimming pool where winding down involves mai tais, punch bowls with heroic amounts of booze, and floating loungers looking out over the mountains, conspire to make a place where languor, luxury and lightbulb moments come together. In reception you’re even greeted by a sculpture of an enormous lightbulb-headed entity, which, like the hotel, looks rather extra-terrestrial, but very much comes in peace.