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Design gems, made from true local crafts, materials and designs – created to live up to their localities

 Amarla Hotels. A new emerging boutique hospitality group founded by British childhood friends Asher Warr and Robin Faulkner. They launched their first property in Cartagena in 2018. The 17th-century mansion, a former tobacco factory, celebrates the community via authentic experiences—a pillar of the newly founded hospitality brand. Next came Amarla Casco Viejo, the eight-room boutique that is reimagining Panama’s hospitality scene.


The British entrepreneurs are rethinking hospitality by creating hotels centered around what they call a heartfelt hospitality approach—one that transcends the property and immerses visitors into the location. They have created hotels that shows local craftsmanship, materials and artists' hand-crafted works in Panama and Cartagena. Both offer a perfect balance between local craftsmanship and modern aesthetics.

Robin and Asher created Amarla Hotels with the main aim to fill the buildings with site-specific works by local artists and designers. They were especially keen for the properties to be a showcase for the community of creatives locally – and for design more widely. A melting pot of styles. More than 50 artists from the local Panamanian and Columbian crew and further afield have contributed pieces to the hotels – from door handles to the artwork in the rooms. Every detail is commissioned like a work of art.

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In Panama 

Every room (of the eight keys only) is designed differently, but there’s one thread that ties everything together in a beautiful, artisan-crafted bow. The hotel’s love of local artistry is woven through every individually styled space, like the hand-decorated coffee cups painted by a Panamanian tribe, and the hand-spun textiles draped over your bed. And much like the multicultural Panama City, elements from far-flung corners have found their place beside the locally sourced treasures, including brassware from Morocco in the bathrooms, Indonesian silk in the British-made kimonos, and Portuguese linens.

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In Cartagena - each of their seven suites and guest rooms symbolises a different native bird, reflecting the color and beauty of Colombia. Every room has its own unique character and is decorated using original art, ornaments and furniture created by local artisans. 


Collaborating with local designers and suppliers to support the local design and artistic community while creating an experience that is eclectic, bold, and colourful is key to Amarla’s process. Amarla forms the core of a community of like-minded businesses in Casco Viejo, a neighborhood that is fast becoming Panama’s creative hub, and features the restaurant Kaandela which is a unique collaboration that combines local Panama cuisine with Amarla’s design and architectural expression.

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