Bogota, the capital city of Colombia is a large sprawling metropolis located at an average altitude of 2500 metres. Cradled by chilly Andean peaks in the east, it is located in the south-eastern part of the Bogota Savannah. The beating heart of Colombia, it is the third largest capital of South America.
In stark contrast to the other tropical parts of the country, Bogota flaunts a sub-tropical highland climate. Dry and rainy seasons alternate throughout the year. With the driest spell lasting from December to March, the weather is quite unpredictable. July and August are the best months to consider a visit.
Bogota is where colonial meets cosmopolitan. It is a culture filled gem that presents surprises at every turn exuding vitality and verve. Its colonial architecture, eye-catching murals and colourful graffiti make sure you down some Colombian coffee and tackle the city with the energy it deserves.
The Gold Standard
Bogota crossed the boutique hotel frontier a few years ago with the B.O.G Hotel in La Cabrera, whose sumptuous interiors inspired by Colombia’s natural treasures of gold and emerald, landed it in the clique of Design Hotels™.
Portuguese designer, Nini Andrade travelled for a month around the city looking for inspiration and materials till she stumbled upon Bogota’s renowned Gold Museum where she found her muse.
The Hotel echoes the Colombian capital’s mix of ancient and modern. Its lobby ceiling takes its cue from gold panning. Glass and gold film around pillars in the lobby evoke a museum display case. A large sculpture at the check-in-desk has its concept rooted in how the earth looks once gold is mined from it. The elevator and halls are very dimly lit, in the way a precious artefact is lit in a museum display case.
The overall bronze and gold palette feels very modern and the materials used are intentionally tactile, inviting you to touch the woven wall covering behind your luxurious bed and pet the shockingly realistic animal print wallpaper squares.
The same attention to detail is evident in the amenities and finishes in each of the 55 rooms. The in-room stunners are the showers which are tiled from floor to ceiling in tiny gold squares. Locally crafted hats behind the welcoming lobby bar add spunk to the sophisticated interiors.
Like most Latin American capitals, Bogota has a charming historic centre. Its Teatro de Cristóbal Colón is the oldest opera house in South America. The theatre recently opened its doors after more than six years of restoration. While state-of-the-art light and sound technology was provided by the Japanese Government, the Italian Government sponsored the work of one of its most eminent restorers, Ruggero Martines.
The 122 year old theatre has also been fitted with seismic reinforcements and now offers disabled access as well as a new electrical grid for better lighting. The building’s opulent restoration has been cleaned and re-sculpted but the most impressive achievement is the meticulous restoration of the ceiling mural.
With a 3000 seating capacity and spread across a width of 6,20,000 sq ft it was named one of the seven wonders of Colombia in 2007. Strong traces of Neo-Classical and French styles are recognised in its architecture that speaks volumes of its glorious past.
Spain In Bogota
Designed by Saul Sasson, Castanyoles – the first floor eatery of the Four Seasons Hotel imitates a traditional neighbourhood Spanish restaurant and tapas bar. Built beneath a stunning glass atrium, the integration between the indoor and outdoor sections has been most adroitly tuned by warm colours, Spanish tiles and modern furnishings that construe a chic and inviting atmosphere.
While rustic bricks add dimension to the walls, rough cut masonry adorns a full wall that accentuates the local flavours of Spain. Earthy shades of taupe, burnt orange and chocolate brown along with indigo blue influence the ambience of the restaurant. White plates with blue motifs add flair to the accessories while wooden framed windows and ceilings bring in the conventional charm.
Installing a combination of hardwood and terracotta has very felicitously taken care of authentic Spanish flooring. While Spanish interiors are incomplete without a metallic touch, hanging lights in lattice frames and painted metal chairs render the scene complete.
The Primary Code
The Anglo Colombiano School in Bogota is based on the simple premise: learning by doing. The interiors showcase a world crafted for children where colour and geometry set the pace of the space. Blue, green, yellow and red were chosen to fill different rooms representing the hues of the school. There colours were also used to symbolise different houses of the school.
While vivid colours graciously separate the space, some walls are clad in cushions which can be taken out by students to sit on the floor or make sculpture-like structures. These empty nooks in the wall then serve as private reading corners. The cushions can be stored back creating a pattern or a sort of puzzle for the children to solve. A set of hanging trees are given a second role as whiteboards, allowing kids to play around and paint on them. The library is vastly illuminated and small geometric shapes carved out beneath the staircase offer a peep across. Gabled movable houses in the library create intimate spaces that kids enjoy.
Text By Kanupriya Pachisia