But there are many unique experiences in Cartagena, Colombia’s famous Caribbean city which still has six miles of its original defensive walls, built 1605 to 1805 with limestone hauled from 15 miles or more. Stay in the the iconic Santa Clara (Sofitel Legend) luxury hotel in the San Diego part of the Old Town, perhaps in its top Botero Suite, breakfast in the indigenous garden in its inner courtyard, lie by its lovely outdoor pool and then take a stroll through the narrow streets around. You will undoubtedly pass ladies in fabulous local dress, says the gal.
You might, however, miss St Dom unless you know about this sensational new boutique (it is at Calle Santo Domingo 33-70). Here you find pieces by Amelia Toro, POLITE, Kika Vargas, Johanna Ortiz, Andrea Landa, Caffe, Flor Amazona, Mercedes Salazar and Suki Cohen, and many more, plus racks of colour Azulu beach-type gear.It is honestly one of those shops, winding as it does around an inner courtyard, that engages the senses, and your credit card. Were I not travelling, as always, with hand-baggage only, I would indeed be tempted.
I coincided at St Dom with its owners, Maya Memovic and Alex Srour, who were fortunately visiting from Bogota, where they are based – they already own the Azulu fashion stores both in the Colombian capital and here, in Cartagena.
I would certainly put St Dom into the category of a must-visit, for anyone coming to Cartagena (the concierges and butlers at Santa Clara can show you how to find the treasurehouse of design, and also, if you want to dine away from the hotel, La Vitrola, or go for seafood at Marea, by Hermanos Rausch). We drove though the upping-trendy Getsemani area of town, passing some of the most famous hole-in-the-wall dance venues of the calibre of Havana and Quiebracanto.
Then, sadly, it was time to leave Santa Clara, truly one of the top luxury hotels in the world. I was sent back to Silver Cloud in a car with nibbles, water wrapped in perfumed linen, and satellite versions of today’s Financial Times and the New York Times. What more can a travelling girl want?