South America’s new standard
Donatella has the Palazzo Versace and the Missonis have their hotel, but neither compares to the intimate boutique inn that Silvia Tcherassi has opened in Cartagena, Colombia. The Miami fashion magnate modernized a spectacular family manor from the 1700s with all things Tcherassi, including bedding, fragrance and even the lighting. With just seven rooms (including one that boasts a private rooftop pool), the experience is intimate—for now. Soon, it will be replicated and super-sized one block away as the 40-room Tcherassi Hotel. The current space will be rebranded, aptly, as Tcherassi Mansion.
A hop and a skip from Cartagena lies Bogotá. I took a brief (and plush) flight there thanks to LAN Airlines. LAN Airlines has daily flights to Bogota from various cities. In Bogota, there’s a thirst for American simplicity. Chains like Bogota Beer Company introduce guests to a full college bar experience, while the BOG Hotel Roof has a more polished Gansevoort vibe. There’s even one restaurateur—known as Leo “Copy” Katz—infamous for naming his ventures after New York mainstays like Balthazar and ripping off their French bistro fare.
Any way you slice it, the city is taking cues from the Big Apple, and no one is mastering it better than chef Daniel Castano. The Bogotá native recently relocated back home after spending a decade in New York as a protégé of chef Mario Batali. He was also the shadowy figure behind A Razor, A Shiny Knife pop-up supper club, which once produced a full dinner service on the L Train. “Colombia is going trough a really great moment, both economically and gastronomically,” he says. “I miss New York every day, but having Gordo here, a Brooklyn-inspired restaurant, helps ease the pain.”
Gordo is the crown jewel of Castano’s four eateries in Colombia. The hot spot, named after his French bulldog, mixes wit with the trendiness of a Williamburg gastropub. It seems to translate seamlessly to the Colombian clientele, who have flocked there since its opening less than a year ago. Their favorite dish? The burger, of course.