Cartagena de Indias was founded by Spanish explorer Pedro de Heredia in 1533 and since the moment of its creation, it became one of the most important ports of the Caribbean Sea. The city’s iconic walls, beautifully conserved despite the passage of time, were built in order to prevent attacks by pirates, who came to the city on their way to the wealthy Incan empire.
These days, the aforementioned walls surround a great number of plazas, historic convents, colonial houses and buildings, all which are evidence of a glorious past and
make Cartagena de Indias the beautiful and unique destination that was named a
Historical and Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO.
At the beginning of the 17th century, Mrs. María de Barras y Montalvo, a wealthy noblewoman of Cartagena, ordered the construction of the Santa Teresa convent in order to spend the last years of her life with the Carmelita nuns. This is the reason why the first convent in the walled city was built.
Towards the end of the colony, the peaceful corners that served as a basis of inspiration and meditation were interrupted by Colombia's war for independence. After the establishment of the new republic, the nuns were forced to abandon the corresponding facilities of the old convent, which were then converted into a consecutive series of institutions including: a barrack, a jail, an all-girls school and a pasta factory. Throughout this time, the building suffered several architectural modifications and a considerable portion of the initial construction was transformed to the republican style.
In the 20th century, what was once Santa Teresa convent was used as the headquarters of the Cartagena Police department. During the 1980s, it was bought by the Banco de la República which eventually sold it to Hoteles Pedro Gómez y Cía. It was this organization that carried out its final restoration and transformed it into the exclusive and luxurious Charleston Santa Teresa hotel.
This is a place where history is alive, where the aesthetic combination of the colonial and republican styles offers an extraordinary and harmonic contrast for the full enjoyment of the senses. Restored by expert hands, the sophistication of every detail can be appreciated throughout the entire hotel, from its stately facade to its splendid yet warm interior.