When I was younger I stayed at the Platypus Hostel in the Candelaria district of Bogota. It was and still is the best hostel I ever stayed at. It wasn’t so much that the facilities were great, but that the community that the Platypus contained was unparallel. Owner German was helpful and always gave his wise advice. In the dorm rooms and private rooms in the annex across the street were young writers, photographers, actors, backpackers, travelers, and occasionally locals. In the main lobby, kitchen, office, and entertainment room everyone hung out together and each night there was wine and conversation.
On my most recent trip to Bogota I wanted to stay at the Platypus, but I think I’ve officially grown out of staying in dorms, partly because now I carry expensive camera equipment with me and need the extra security. I checked the hostel’s website and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the Platypus had just opened earlier in 2009 a new hotel a few blocks away called Casa Platypus. Awesome. I booked for 2 nights immediately.
When I arrived I was immediately impressed. The restored, two level colonial building is immaculate. There’s art and handicrafts all over the walls and beautiful woodwork throughout the building. There is a community vibe like in the hostel, but it is more relaxed and private. Shorter term travelers and older travelers tend to be the main guests here, as opposed to the perma-guests at the hostel. A computer lounge with free Internet use and a sitting area is big and spacious. There’s a sizable kitchen and a separate entertainment room that looks out onto the street.
Rooms are big. Those on the second floor have slanted ceilings. The bathrooms are new and modern. The beds could be more comfortable and the sheets a bit nicer for the price you are paying. Unexpectedly, I was surprised that there was a flat screen LCD TV in my room with cable.
At $70 (150,000 Colombian Pesos) per double, I think the rooms are somewhat overpriced, but there are few options that aren’t $400 a night or $5 a night. During my stay the Wi-Fi signal and the hot water went out simultaneously during the second day. Like I said it is a new hotel and they are still working out the kinks, but I had to change hotels because of these issues. They didn’t mind though and apologized for the inconvenience and didn’t charge me my second night. They are so kind that I felt bad leaving, but I got shower in Bogota is a must for me. These weren’t long term issues -they had more to do with work being done on the outside – so this wouldn’t stop me from coming back, which I think says a lot.
Carrera 3 No 16-28
Tel: (57-1) 281.1801
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.