The First Of Two Four Seasons Locations In The Colombian Capital Re-Introduces An Esteemed Hotel As A Signature Four Seasons Experience
Casa Medina, long the favorite of the city’s power players and an international clientele ranging from rock stars to heads of state and a beloved landmark, now begins a new chapter in its storied history with the opening of Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogotá (Avenida Carrera 7 #69a-22, Bogota, D.C. Colombia, +(57-1) 325 7900, http://www.fourseasons.com/bogotacm/) on October 15, 2015. Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota will be the brand’s first opening in the Colombian capital, to be followed by Four Seasons Hotel Bogota in early 2016.
Originally built in 1946, Casa Medina was the creative vision of artist and architect Santiago Medina Mejia, who was born in Medellin and educated in Paris in the early part of the 20th century. Salvaging architectural treasures from the recently demolished colonial convents of San Agustin and Santo Domingo, he brought stone columns, flooring and hand-carved wooden doors to the building he planned as an exclusive enclave of beautifully appointed apartments. He personally oversaw the crafting of intricate wrought iron details to enhance the historic elements.
In 1984, Casa Medina was designated for its architectural heritage. In 1988, the building was restored and transformed into the Hotel Casa Medina Bogota, which quickly established itself among the city’s power elite and international travelers of note. Now under new ownership, Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota is now accepting reservation for its early October opening.
“I am among those who remember Casa Medina fondly, so it’s both an honor and a pleasure to reintroduce this very special hotel as a signature Four Seasons experience,” says General Manager Luis Argote, who leads a team that includes many familiar faces who look forward to welcoming return guests and proudly showing off their city’s charms to a new generation of visitors. “If you haven’t been to the city in a while, it’s an opportunity to rediscover Bogota in new ways, and if you’ve never been here before, now is the time.”
Situated 2,621 meters (8,600 feet) above sea level, Bogota continues to re-invent itself. The cicloviá – when city streets banish cars in favor of cyclists and pedestrians – originated in Bogota decades ago and has since been adopted by urban centers around the world. The Jardín Botánico José Celestino Mutis (or Botanical Garden) highlights the city’s 5,200 parks (yes, 5,200!), and hikers needn’t go far to find plenty of open space, with the climb up Monserrate offering a particularly rewarding view of the city and surrounding Andes Mountains from 3,152 meters (10,341 feet). the Jardín Botánico José Celestino Mutis collects and displays the flora of all the regions of Colombia, from Andes to Amazon, including endangered species, xeric plants and thousands of orchids.
Bogota is the gateway to both commerce and growing tourism in Colombia. Nearly one-third of the country’s domestic companies are headquartered in this modern city of skyscrapers. Yet the capital also reflects its colonial past, most evident in the charming streetscapes of the old town known as La Candelaria.
The city’s many cultural institutions, theater, music and film festivals, as well as the cultural sophistication of its people (Bogotanians), have earned it the nickname “Athens of South America.” In recent years, UNESCO selected it both as a City of Books and a City of Music – and not merely for the sound of the native Colombian cumbia. As Colombia produces more than half the world’s emeralds, Bogotá might also be called “Emerald City.”
An emerging food scene has re-christened an area of the city Zona G – for Gastronomy – near the financial and commercial core, where Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina is also located. Since pre-Hispanic times, art has always been important to local culture as seen in the city’s many historic churches and the spectacular Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), and today it’s exemplified in the internationally-renowned Museo Botero featuring Colombia’s own Fernando Botero as well as many other artists. Juxtaposition with the city’s highly developed graffiti culture vividly illustrates the many facets of modern Bogota.
For elegant romance by candlelight or the very best table for a high-powered business lunch, the Zona G is the place to eat in Bogotá. Whatever your taste, choice after choice in five-star dining waits side by side within just a few blocks. The Zona Rosa, and especially the Zona T at its core, is not only where it all happens for Bogotá nightlife, but where the chic come for upscale shopping – including centers such as the exclusive El Retiro – and every flavor of top restaurants. No country in the world produces more high-quality emeralds than Colombia, and the International Emerald Museum, a small private museum, gives visitors a glimpse into their production and beauty. An added perk: bird’s-eye views of Bogotá from the 23rd floor of the tower.
With its cobbled streets and 17th-century villas, the neighborhood of Usaquén is a picturesque setting for its lively Usaquén Sunday Market. Peruse the colorful stalls, bargain for handicrafts with local artisans, and watch street performers. Colonials began constructing the Iglesia de San Francisco (Church of San Francisco), located in La Candelaria in 1557. It remains one of the oldest churches in Bogotá. On your visit, take in its 17th-century interior, magnificent altar and mysterious statue of Christ.
Careful restoration of the residential-style hotel has retained the French and Spanish-influenced design details of artist and architect Santiago Medina Mejia’s original 1946 building, while technologies have been fully updated and modern luxuries added for today’s most discerning travelers and local guests. Sixty-two rooms and suites – no two alike – have been beautifully redecorated taking advantage of unique features such as fireplaces or beamed ceilings.
An all-new dining concept will also be unveiled upon opening: Castanyoles Raciones y Tapas, named for the traditional hand-held percussion instruments also known as castanets. With a wood-burning grill and Spanish tiles inside and a broad terrace beneath a new glass atrium outside, Castanyoles will serve a Spanish-influenced menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails, as well as offer gourmet items and Colombian coffee to go. With most seating in a new, naturally-lit courtyard with glass atrium as well as a covered outdoor terrace, this new concept promised to be a favorite of the city’s power elite as well as visiting dignitaries, executives and celebrities. The 16-seat private dining room is ideal for intimate celebrations, family dinners and business meetings.