CLICK CLACK HOTEL, Bogotá, Colombia
Seven months ago, my life changed. I had the incredible fortune of becoming The New York Times’ 52 Places Traveler and getting to travel around the world living exclusively in moderately priced hotels (and Airbnbs and on friend’s couches). Early on, I knew I didn’t need hotels with fancy amenities, but for my sanity’s sake, I couldn’t stay in chains. I wanted to feel like a person cared enough to scatter thoughtful details around, to ensure that guests felt like someone was looking after them. Boutiques or bust, all the way.
Some travelers look for escapes and retreats, for that feeling of being removed from everything. What makes a hotel really stand out for me is a sense of being integrated into the place where it is. My time is limited and I have to spend at least one full day — if not two — at every destination locked inside, writing, rather than outside exploring, as I’d rather be. The rare hotel that makes me feel that I’m not missing out but am absorbing a culture while taking care of my work, is a keeper.
I could name 10 that have done exactly that, from the decrepit glamour of the Columns Hotel in New Orleans, where the bed was so high it required steps to get into, to the hipster KEX Hostel in Reykjavik, where the rooms were bare, the bathrooms shared, the environs a screeching construction zone and the lobby the coolest bar in town, serving its own beers and filling with free jazz and happy dancers every night.
But the one I think about more than all the rest is the Click Clack Hotel in Bogotá. The chic lobby and rooftop bars drew a cosmopolitan, almost entirely Colombian crowd. My room, labeled an XS as in the clothing size, could only fit a single human, which somehow made it feel more tailored to me. Wry signs were scattered around like surprises: “Unless you enjoy exhibitionism, close the blinds” on the window, and a sanitation guarantee on the toilet seat reading “Break only in case of emergency.”
Every morning I had a breakfast of tropical fruits and made-to-order eggs under a skylight in a beautiful restaurant with a plant wall and chairs and couches upholstered with fake grass. At night, Colombian sophisticates would meet there or on the roof deck, with its incredible views, for innovative cocktails. That hotel more than anything made me feel a part of the cosmopolitanism of that incredible city that, when I couldn’t go to it, came to me. Carrera 11#93-77, Bogotá; rates from $136; prices drop on weekends and for longer stays; clickclackhotel.com/home
— Jada Yuan