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International Travel

The best new affordable design hotels around the world

There are some incredible design led hotels around the world that are affordable, that won’t blow the budget, including 2 from Amarla - whose fresh style and affordability has already grabbed the attention of a steady stream of young, socially conscious travellers. And the engaging hands-on owners, Asher Warr and Robin Faulkner, who left their UK homes in search of a more leisurely life, offer the most homely vibe.

Amarla Boutique Hotel Casco Viejo

Panama – a flurry of new resorts and a burgeoning local arts scene are reshaping this Central American region, in particular “Casco Viejo” - one of the hippest places to visit in the country and Central America. A decade ago, nobody came here; its buildings were literally crumbling. Today, Casco features a world-class culinary and bar scene, the country’s best nightlife, and some of Panamá’s most important historic buildings like the National Theatre and the Presidential Palace. 


Design lovers should stay at Amarla Boutique Hotel Casco Viejo and the new kid on the block. It’s unusual for a hotel to be greener on the inside than the outside, but behind the wooden shuttered doors of this hotel lies an urban oasis of giant palms and vertical gardens blossoming with jasmine and orchids. The exposed calicanto walls are strewn with photographs of indigenous tribespeople and wildlife in Panama’s dense rainforests, which enhance the hotel’s earthy, natural aesthetic. The handicrafts of native artisans tie each of the eight rustically styled rooms and suites to a Panamanian province. Fiery local flavours await in the restaurant and the bar has a spirited South American selection of mezcals and coffee (best sipped on the rooftop, overlooking the trendier-by-the-day Casco).

Amarla Boutique Hotel

For a twin stay, design lovers should head then to Cartagena - the Colombian city which works its magic with enchanting Spanish Colonial architecture, cultural riches, and a sophisticated international crowd. Amarla Cartagena is one of the chicest hotels within Cartagena's walled city. Surrounded by history, the Amarla Boutique Hotel is conveniently located in the center (Centro) of the old town of Cartagena de India, just a short stroll from the bastion of Santo Domingo. This area is one of the best-preserved and has the finest examples of colonial-era hotels in a walled city, within South America.


Its seven rooms have each been named after an exotic South American bird and display motifs of this in both the silk drapery and the individual silk gowns provided for your use. Each room also boasts bespoke and unique artisanal pieces of furniture, all of which create a beautifully styled haven of paradise from the busy surrounding streets. In addition, Amarla Boutique Hotel has a gorgeous courtyard garden where most of the meals are served (La Gloria restaurant specialises in classic Colombian cuisine), a comfy sitting area for chilling with a good book plus the all-important rooftop pool and terrace (the perfect spot for relaxing after a day pounding the streets). But not content with just providing super-stylish accommodation, Amarla also places good service at the top of their list of priorities. Adults-only means you can truly relax with your significant other and enjoy a seriously spoiling stay in the heart of this incredible city.

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