"In Cartagena, Colombia, I found one of the most genuine boutique hotels I have seen. Casa el Carretero has all the amenities one would love — personalized service, 24-hour pool service, Bose stereo systems, laptops, iPod stations and flat-screen TVs. They have a beautiful decoration, that is a mix of Indonesian and Spanish colonial style. Cartagena is very beautiful and definitely worth the visit. I think it is a diamond in the rough."
Casa el Carretero , 10B-18 El Carretero St., Cartagena; (415) 508-3927, www.casaelcarretero.com. Doubles from $150, including airport pickup.
--Camilo Sarmiento, Thousand Oaks