At first, Marquee Hotel's low-key entrance on the fabled Parque Lleras is hard to spot. Located in Medellín's hedonistic El Poblado commune, this elegant stay offers a vibe shift from the clashing reggaeton, vallenato, and pop music blasting out from the open bars and discotheques beyond its doors. Decked out in warm, burnished tones, with high concrete ceilings and pendant brass lantern lights in the lobby, it's modern and art-centric, with a dash of Great Gatsby glitz.
Don't let the expansive entrance deceive you, though. With 42 rooms, Marquee has an intimate feel - and the staff go to great lengths to preserve it. You'll be on a first-name basis with the team from the get-go. Guests return to this grown-up hotel after a night out on El Poblado's tiles to rest, relax and refuel. And while the party appears to be kept outside, there's a scene of sorts hidden away inside, too. It's the kind of place that sells fat Romeo y Julieta cigars from a glass cabinet and, in a subterranean space beneath the lobby, a sophisticated bar specialises in smooth jazz.
We stayed in a Junior Suite, where floor-to-ceiling windows offered views across Medellín's complex architectural folds. Bedrooms are infused with an art deco spirit. Amber globe lights create a soft ambience, while rosy mirrors illuminate the room. It's incredibly comfortable: deep and luscious king-size beds have soft white linens and ample pillows. A French-tiled bathroom offers plenty of storage spaces and a large vanity stocked with L'Occitane products.
Yet it's the attention to detail that stands out, especially if you're in search of an urgent hangover cure. A well-stocked minibar (with necessary electrolyte drinks) pairs well with the enormous television screens, Netflix access and a full-menu room service, while the vast bathtubs (big enough for two in some rooms) offer space to continue the party. Just pour in the bubble bath and set the lights to "disco setting".
What's for breakfast?
Start with an organic Colombian coffee from the hotel's extensive Caffe Speziale list. Then, opt for the signature breakfast to scoff a selection of local fruit - including golden uchuva and lulo - followed by a luxurious main. Everything from blue crab pancakes to beef brisket and classic arepas (filled cornmeal flatbreads) are on the menu. Most guests around here breakfast late, so at 7.30am you'll have the place to yourself.
Lunch and dinner?
Head to Marquee's Italian-inspired restaurant, Abbiocco by Carmen, set in an intimate, covered patio filled with lush green palms, monochrome woven chairs and dove-grey, deep-seated armchairs. The menu offers comfort food with a flavourful Colombian twist. Think pizza topped with Paipa cheeses or salamito (sausage). Fresh, sustainable Pacific seafood options are also on offer, as well as classics such as 35-day dry-aged, 100 per cent Colombian beef steak. You can order to your room or, for a lazy lunch by the pool, ask to take your meal upstairs.
Is there a bar?
There are three: a rooftop bar, a lobby hangout and the moody Z Bar. Start sipping upstairs with views across the cityscape and the Aburrá Valley mountains, then slink down to ground level, where an onyx lobby bar curves around an amber-lit, floor-to-ceiling showcase of international spirits, to sip experimental high-ball Latin cocktails such as the tequila-based "four aces".
From Thursday to Saturday, the sunken Z Bar opens its doors for low-lit performances from jazz, soul, blues, Latin jazz, cumbia and Pacific folklore artists. The cavernous concrete speakeasy features wood panelling, amber lighting and velvet curtains. Shows start at 9.30pm and wind up around 1am.
Known as the "City of Eternal Spring", Medellín is renowned for generally being the perfect temperature, but the midday sun has been shining with an unwelcome intensity of late. Refresh yourself pre-lunch in the Marquee's rooftop pool or enjoy a late-night cocktail-fuelled dunk. While the bar is public, the pool area is only open to guests. There is no gym, but weights and yoga mats are available on request.
Hotel rooms come equipped with all the fluffy accoutrements needed for a mini-pamper (bathrobes and slippers included), but if you're looking for more intense wellbeing opportunities, the hotel has an agreement for guests to use facilities at nearby Celestino boutique hotel.
What are the hotel's eco-credentials like?
Reasonable. While the hotel has made changes to its amenities package, meaning all plastics in it are degradable, we did notice quite a few single-use plastics floating around. You'll find special filtered-water dispensers in each room for filling water bottles, and in the restaurant, only locally sourced ingredients and seafood caught using sustainable fishing practices are used.
What about accessibility?
All floors are accessed via a wide elevator, and wheelchair users can easily enter the large wet room-style showers, although we didn't spot any grab rails. The hotel recommends that you call reception ahead of booking to discuss any additional requirements.
A suite, left, and the lobby
What's the crowd like?
Bougie girls and boys hellbent on hedonism.
Within a short walk I can find…
While we wouldn't recommend walking around Medellín at night, much of the city's nightlife is near enough for you to feel comfortable exploring on foot. In the evening, make a nearby dinner reservation at Alambique and listen to a live salsa band, then head to Dance Free to get your bachata step on.
Things I should know
The best thing about the Marquee is that it's in the centre of the action, but that can also be one of its downfalls. Anyone who has travelled to Colombia will know that large blaring sound systems are considered part of the city's cultural heritage. Parque Lleras is no exception, and come evening, the sound soars. The hotel has excellent triple glazing, but book a room on the upper levels at the front of the hotel for less sound exposure.