The Star Diamond Standard

The number six is the highest number of stars that a property, restaurant, product, or brand may receive from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. For a long time, five stars was the Academy’s top honor; however, in 2009, we discovered that there were just a handful of entities that went above and beyond even our highest five-star expectations. In recognition of such an extraordinary display of extra effort, we created the coveted extra star.

In this issue, I am breaking the mold—with good cause—and only presenting four locations: two luxury resorts and two restaurants. The reason for this is to honor the country of Colombia as one of the best kept secrets in the world of luxury travel. The Academy received several tips on some of the country’s luxe locales, and after several trips to vet these properties, we decided which to award Star Diamond status to. Visit our website for a full listing of recipients of our award:

Habitel Hotel Bogota

This hotel in Bogota was the first locale in the entire country to receive a Star Diamond Award, in the category of Best Business Hotel. While many of our award-winners are luxury resorts in the truest sense, designed to cater to those on vacation, Habitel operates with the executive VIP in mind. The architecture is made up of a medley of brick, wood, steel, and marble, and the minimalistic attributes demonstrate how the city of Bogota is pushing its way full force into the future.

While some of the in-room amenities may not be as plush as what we have seen in other destinations (the phrase “simple elegance” comes to mind), Habitel has embraced the 21st century and offers 32-inch LCD TVs, iPod docks, 330-threadcount linens, and Wi-Fi in every room.

Of course, we couldn’t begin to consider a hotel property for the Star Diamond award without also understanding its culinary philosophy and standards. At Habitel, Chef Juan Pablo Mayorga saw to our stomachs’ every desire at his restaurant Manduka, where he incorporates locally grown, organic ingredients into his dishes. When we weren’t being tended to by Chef Mayorga, The Steakhouse was where we chose to satiate our appetites. This hotel restaurant is a favorite with the business execs who roll through town as well as with the local VIPs. Its variety of aged cuts of Colombian beef are absolutely unbeatable and worth the trip alone.

While I did not have the opportunity to take up a game of golf during my visit, I highly recommend you make the time. Guests of the hotel have access to the links at the prestigious Bogota Country Club, where there is also an on-site spa worthy of a visit.

Avenida del Dorado 100-97
Bogotá, Colombia