Where to Stay, Eat, Shop and Sightsee in Bogotá: Your Essential Travel Guide

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Lodging

Bogotá isn’t as chockablock with hotels as some other capitals, but both the number and the quality of accommodations are steadily rising, with some notable additions over the last two years. Splashiest among them is the 1 B.O.G. Hotel, which was included on this year’s Hot List. It’s a sleek, slender tower with 55 rooms and a rooftop pool and lounge in a prime shopping and dining neighborhood (639-9990; doubles from $312). Farther north and less expensive, the relatively new 2 Hotel Cabrera Imperial has 39 beautifully furnished, light-filled rooms (636-0699; doubles from $243). For a much different experience, the 3 Hotel de la Ópera is a sumptuous early-nineteenth-century oasis in the historic center, La Candelaria, which oozes character but feels less comfortable at night than during the day (336-2066; doubles from $172).

Dining

For an introduction to traditional dishes and to the scale and luxury that characterize many of Bogotá’s most popular restaurants, head to 1 Club Colombia, a collaboration of the city’s most prolific restaurateur, Leo Katz, and perhaps its most revered chef, Harry Sasson. In an old stone estate, it has clubby rooms with tufted leather furniture and patios with a tropical languor. The weekend brunches are especially popular (Av. 82, No. 9-11; 249-5681; entrées from $5). Two great-looking and justly popular places in the Rosales neighborhood are the pastry shop 2 Grazia (Calle 69, No. 5-04; 702-1115) and Silvana Villegas’s 3 Masa (Calle 70, No. 4-83; 211-0899). A good mid-afternoon stop is Laura Cahnspeyer’s tea shop, 4 Taller de Té (Calle 60A, No. 3A-38; 255-4128), or 5 E&D Cafés, a coffeehouse cum lab (Carrera 4, No. 66-46; 248-6955). In the same hood are the New York City-inspired spots 6 La Fama Barbecue, where you tuck into ribs and pork loin at picnic tables (Calle 65 Bis, No. 4-85; 644-7766; entrées from $8), and 7 Gordo, Daniel Castaño’s paean to Brooklyn (Carrera 5, No. 66-84; 345-5769; entrées from $13). 8 Bruto is packed at lunch and at dinner with food-savvy Colombians eager to try the impressive Basque cooking (Carrera 10A, No. 70-50; 249-0314; entrées from $14). For empanadas, my friend John Magazino swears by 9 Empanaditas de Pipian (Carrera 9a, No. 73-11; 211-6514; empanadas from 50¢).

For a tighter focus on Colombian ingredients, there’s 10 Abasto, occupying a two-story house in the Usaquén neighborhood that seems like somebody’s fetchingly rumpled home (Carrera 6, No. 119b-52; 215-1286; entrées from $12), and 11Mercado, a new casual addition to the growing empire of chef Leonor Espinosa (Calle 93a, No. 12-73; 236-2500; entrées from $9). Nearby is the newest of the three 12Burger Markets, which secures its meat from a local university (Calle 93a, No. 13b-56; 635-3048; entrées from $9).

Forty minutes outside the city, in the suburb of Chía, you can savor the singular spectacle—and excellent grilled meats—of 13 Andrés Carne de Res (Calle 3, No. 11a-56; 863-7880; entrées from $9). If you’d rather not make the trek, try the newer, closer outpost, 14 Andrés D.C. (Calle 82, No. 11-57; 863-7880; entrées from $9).

This year’s Bogotá Wine & Food Festival is August 28 through September 1 (tickets from $20).

B.O.G. HotelSightseeing & Shopping

Be sure to walk around La Candelaria, where many of the loveliest nineteenth-century buildings are situated around the Plaza de Bolívar, the main square. Nearby, you’ll find the terrific 1 Botero Museum in a colonial mansion on Calle 11 (343-1212). The shopping center 2 El Retiro is leagues better than your typical mall and has Andrés Jaramillo’s remarkable food court (Calle 81, No. 11-94). For the best view of the Andean peaks and ridges around Bogotá, take the funicular or tram to the 10,341-foot summit of3 Monserrate. There you’ll find a seventeenth-century church as well as places to eat and drink.

Be sure to walk around La Candelaria, where many of the loveliest nineteenth-century buildings are situated around the Plaza de Bolívar, the main square. Nearby, you’ll find the terrific 1 Botero Museum in a colonial mansion on Calle 11 (343-1212). The shopping center 2 El Retiro is leagues better than your typical mall and has Andrés Jaramillo’s remarkable food court (Calle 81, No. 11-94). For the best view of the Andean peaks and ridges around Bogotá, take the funicular or tram to the 10,341-foot summit of3 Monserrate. There you’ll find a seventeenth-century church as well as places to eat and drink.

Source: Conde Nast Traveler

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