We decided to head south for the winter and explore Medellin, Colombia for the very first time. We had an amazing one-month long assignment house and cat sitting in the Provenza neighbourhood (I’m already missing Ollie, our adopted cat).
Since we happened to be in the city, we added a short stay at Selina Medellin at the end of our trip. I’ve been wanting to experience the Selina brand of accommodations for a while. As a start-up in Panama, it is now an international network with more than 50+ locations around the globe. Selina is not your typical accommodation. It’s not a hotel or hostel and it’s difficult to classify exactly what it is, other than it’s a whole new way to stay.
Selina locations are all uniquely designed. They are fun and quirky, modern yet free-spirited created in the most unconventional way. They are built from empty buildings left abandoned, like a factory, former school, or old hotel and revitalized back into sustainable and economic spaces. All the furniture is up-cycled from reclaimed wood and hand crafted by local artisans. The staff also hire local artists to create colourful street art and murals throughout.
Each room is designed differently. In Medellin, there are eight floors and 92 rooms ranging from trendy loft-style rooms, to dorms for budget travellers on a shoestring. If you want more high-end accommodation, they also offer suites and full apartments.
We had a standard, private room which exceeded our expectations. It was immaculately clean, spacious, and stylish; our showers in the morning were hot, and our floor was always quiet – which is more than you can say for typical hotels out there.
Aside from creating a sustainable impact from the ground up, Selina also runs a Give Back program for staff and travellers who want to volunteer, whether it’s through beach clean-ups, neighbourhood clean-ups, reforestation, teaching a skill, or participating in classes run by locals. It can feel really rewarding to stay here. You can get involved in a different activity each day, give back, and make a difference.
Of course, one of my favourite concepts was their café, which serves up delicious coffee that is sustainable and supports local farmers.
Selina Medellin may not have your typical hotel amenities like a spa or pool. Instead they focus on lifestyle and purpose-driven experiences. There is a free co-working space designed for digital nomads – to support creativity, community, and entrepreneurship.
I especially appreciated the wellness activities. Their morning yoga classes were my favourite way to start the day, and the weekly meditation sessions took place in a very zen atmosphere.
If you want to do something more active there is always a variety of options to choose from for a very reasonable price. You can go hiking one day or visit a coffee farm the next. In other places like Costa Rica, you can take surfing lessons or join free salsa classes.
I took yoga classes in Medellin for about $6 each, so even if you are not staying here anyone can join a class or sign up for a tour. They really are all about community!
The large restaurant downstairs had really good options for food and drinks when we got hungry. The space is cool and hip, great for a game of ping pong or pool, or just sipping on cerveza at the bar.
At the last minute I decided to host a Travel Massive pop-up (which connects like-minded travel-preneurs from around the globe). Since Selina is all about community, entrepreneurship, and purpose-driven travel, it was the perfect space to grab a bite, meet digital nomads in Medellin (there are many of them!) and other travel bloggers.
If you visit, try the burgers and empanadas – they are excellent!
Selina Medellin is located just on the outskirts of El Poblado, one of the most popular areas to stay in the city. It is stumbling distance from the coolest bars and trendy restaurants, as well as a short walk to Parque Lleras and El Poblado metro station.
The neighbourhood attracts foreigners and expats so it’s a good place to stay if you want to get your bearings for the first time.
The Selina brand really caters to anyone looking for a different experience and not a conventional hotel stay. Or a hostel. Many of the travellers staying here were around their mid-20s or 30s so it seemed to attract a more mature crowd. The only negative is that breakfast is not included in your booking but the menu prices at the restaurant and café are reasonable. If you’re visiting Medellin I highly recommend staying at Selina. It’s one of the most interesting places we’ve stayed at yet.
Have you ever stayed at a Selina? Our experience has made us want to check out their other locations around the world.
My stay was sponsored by Selina Medellin. As always, all opinions are my own.