Cartagena, Colombia

Casa Manantial


Tells-many-tales hideaway


Old-town Cartagena





You might have an heirloom or important piece of furnishing making a statement at home, but at Colombian hideaway Casa Manantial, almost every carved wooden sofa, wicker bed frame with butterfly-shaped flourishes, intricately tiled side-table, ceramic pot or cheetah sculpture looks like it’s lived a rich, eventful life. The owners certainly seem to have, collecting many pieces on their travels and making this colonial residence in the center of Cartagena’s old town a place of wonder. Here, you’ll have a private pool sheltered behind plant-encased walls, an alfresco lounge for sundowners, and staff to take care of you (including an in-house chef to cook breakfast each day) – the sort of setting where you’ll feel like part of the – and akin to – the well-travelled furniture.

Smith Extra

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A reception with drinks and canapés on arrival

First Glance

  • Around 500sq m in size.
  • Decor is bohemian with a cosmopolitan Colombian edge, and most of the furnishings are antiques found by the owners on their far-flung travels, with low wicker couches, carved tables, sculptural ceramics, iron chandeliers, terracotta floor tiles, local handicrafts, colourful textiles and bold artworks (we especially like the tiger prints and cheetah sculptures). The owners even have their own accessories and interiors brand, established in the San Blas islands, where they work with local artisans via Fair Trade co-ops.
  • Entryway with huge wooden antique door.
  • Lounge on the ground floor.
  • Salon on the upper floor which doubles as a workspace, with a desk.
  • Full kitchen only used by the in-house cook (all breakfasts are included, other meals for an extra charge). Their excellent repertoire gives you a taste of the Caribbean, with fresh seafood, fried plantain, juicy shrimp and coconut rice.
  • Laundry room for staff.

Villa highlights

  • Museum-piece furnishings
  • Historic colonial casa
  • Central old-town locale

Sleeping arrangements

  • Sleeps up to 10 guests in five bedrooms.
  • Bedroom one (35sq m) spans the whole first floor and has a double-height vaulted and beamed ceiling. There’s a king-size bed, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the interior courtyard, an ensuite bathroom with a jazzily tiled sunken bath tub and walk-in shower, and air-conditioning. This room is bright and colourful with terracotta floor tiles, patterned rugs and textiles and antique furnishings the owners picked up on their travels.
  • Bedroom two (20sq m) is set close to the master suite and is ideal for children, with twin beds and an ensuite bathroom with a walk-in shower. There’s a ceiling fan, antique artworks and some sweet touches, such as fish-shaped cushions on the beds.
  • Bedroom three (20sq m) is on the upper floor with a view over the interior courtyard. It’s light and lofty with antique furnishings from the owners travels, a queen-size bed, and a decoratively tiled bathroom with a walk-in shower.
  • Bedroom four (20sq m) is on the ground floor and has a selection of antique furnishings the owners picked up on their worldwide travels, a double bed and ensuite bathroom with a decoratively tiled walk-in shower. There’s a Moroccan flavor to the decor, plus some vintage bird illustrations hanging on the walls.
  • Bedroom five (20sq m) is cheerily coloured with zesty orange accents, coral woven rugs and soothing blues, eye-catching art is hung on the wall, and furnishings are antiques picked up by the owners on their travels, including the four-poster queen-size bed, armchair and seats, and bedside tables.

Key kit

  • A continental breakfast made for you each day with fresh fruit, bread, arepas and coffee
  • Free WiFi
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Ceiling fans
  • Air-conditioning in the bedrooms
  • Locally made Loto Del Sur bath products
  • Free bottled water
  • Available to hire all year round
  • In-house cook to make breakfasts, or other meals for an extra charge, on request
  • Daily housekeeping
  • House staff can do laundry for you (just leave it in the basket provided)
  • Children are welcome to stay but they need to be supervised when swimming
  • Pets aren't allowed
  • This villa is accessible for guests with mobility issues (with an easy-access bedroom on the ground floor)
  • While this isn’t a full-on party pad, small events can be hosted here
  • Check-in is at 3pm and check-out is 11am; both times are flexible subject to availability and on request


  • Private 40sq m unheated pool (up to two meters deep) with a stepped entrance in a sheltered interior courtyard with palms and tropical plants climbing the surrounding brick walls.
  • Small lounging space with a day-bed and cushioned loungers.


  • Roof terrace with sunloungers and views of Cartagena.
  • Covered alfresco lounge beside the pool with seating and dining spaces, ceiling fans and greenery.
  • Covered walkway on the upper level.
  • Small, street-facing balcony.
  • Water fountain.


  • The house is one of the most historic houses in the area, set at the center of Cartagena’s picturesque Unesco-protected old town.
  • Rafael Núñez International Airport is the closest, just a 15-minute drive away. It’s well-connected for international arrivals, and a number of direct routes land here from Europe, and North and South America. Return airport transfers are included in the hire rate.
  • There’s no parking on site, but some public carparks close by.
  • Playa Las Américas is the closest beach, a 15-minute drive away.
  • There are plenty of monuments and historic squares to stop at here: the Castle San Felipe de Barajas, Plazas de la Trinidad and Santo Domingo, Las Bóvedas, Las Botas Viejas… But, there’s also an exciting eating and drinking scene. Try Alquímico, which offers farm-fresh ingredients in exciting drinks inspired by tradition, and a different menu for every floor. Or rustic-chic institution El Barón, who operate very sustainably. For food, there’s Celele, whose flavor is staunchly local, with Caribbean-flower salads, beef tongue served in a cream made from orejero seeds, confit hen with sour guava and coconut oil, and other tropical treats. Or stop into more traditional La Vitrola for dinner with a side of live music.

The Guestbook

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Price per night from $1,731.09