Palm trees thrive inside the courtyard garden, which is now a romantic restaurant serving an elegant fusion of local and French cuisine.
A voluptuous Botero sculpture seems very relaxed in this lush setting, although the current guests of the Hotel generally dress a bit more modestly.
Colombian flowers, exported throughout the world, add color and warmth to this dream-like setting.
Relaxing here in the tropical rattan lounge chairs with a white martini supplied by the hotel bar is guaranteed, for a while at least, to make one forget just about everything out there in the real world.
Just outside the Santa Clara is the 500-year-old wall that has protected the old city from outside invaders who were particularly intent on seizing the great amounts of gold stored there. Besides walking on top of the wall, visitors enjoy unobstructed views of the nearby Caribbean Sea through arched openings at street level.
Continuing a stroll by the Sea, one can look back and see the Santa Clara's additional accommodations, and a wall hiding the home of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Next door is another restored convent, this one housing nineteen condos considered to be the most luxurious in Cartagena.
With all original architectural details restored, modern amenities, such as private swimming pools and Italian designer kitchens, have been seamlessly added. The classic lines of the old architecture are mirrored in the modern updates as seen from the front entrance looking outward.
Inside, the beautiful historic colonnades remain surrounding the main lobby, with water flowing in small canals built around palm trees.
Inside one apartment, even the view from one of four bathrooms is surprising, revealing terra cotta tile roofs, a glimpse of the Sea, and modern Cartagena outside the old city.
In this interior, the unfamiliar Middle-Eastern art imported from Dubai adds even more of a feeling of being "away from it all".
More beautiful details recorded by Blanche's unerring photography delight the eyes as one slowly drifts off for a short nap, savoring the reality that our Cartagena truly is an escape to paradise.