So far we’d been on the coast for some no-frills adventuring to a cheap touristic hotel in the Andes. It was time for a bit of opulence at the Hacienda Buenavista. The drive from one hacienda to the other was over another mountainous, winding road that worsened as we went. By the time we were approaching our new hotel’s gate, the road had become little more than a dirt track. This was remote.
The Hacienda Buenavista on a hilltop in the distance
The Hacienda Buenavista (“good view”) lived up to its name. It was perched on top of a hill overlooking a valley forged by the meandering La Vieja river. Everything around was green and lush, the traditional Colombian countryside. But, little within the Hacienda seemed Colombian; the decor was grand and colonial, the food was international and the rooms had air conditioning, the first AC I’d ever seen in Colombia. Only the cornflour arepas at breakfast reminded you of where you were.
Also, the hoteliers, Floris from the Netherlands and Lynn from Scotland, were a married couple who ran everything with European delicacy and precision. For example, any taxis they reserved were warned to turn up 5 minutes early, otherwise they wouldn’t be summoned again. The TV cables were hidden in the rooms and the towels they handed us were warm when we got out of the infinity pool. Everything was just so.
One of their tastefully decorated living rooms
This is all starting to sound like a brochure in an in-flight magazine. But if the hotel seemed perfect, the couple were not, and that only added to the charm of the place. This was not a sterile environment managed by a militant or creeping husband and wife, this was Fawlty Towers, with an undercurrent of “who wears the trousers” present in many of their interactions. At the first dinner Floris muttered to Lynn, loud enough for us to hear (I think intentionally) something like “I thought you were going to have a go at me for not pouring the fucking water fast enough”. I loved it. You could almost hear him groan “yes dear” every time Lynn asked him to do something.
Don’t get me wrong – they’re a couple in love, with a great sense of humour and a natural tact for hosting. With only room for four highly-pampered guests, it felt more like you were staying with Mum and Dad than at a hotel. It’s the perfect place to relax in if you want a bit of opulence without the slimy, fawning service that normally comes with it. They even lent me a book for the rest of our trip.