In the building where the Don Pepe hotel stands today, it was built four years after the arrival of the founder Bastidas, the house that was part of the first convent of the order of the Dominican brothers in South America and therefore forced arrival of the first guests: the Europeans who would colonize the rest of the country, among them Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada who lived in the convent before leaving with 600 men to found Bogota, capital of Colombia, although at their destination only 180 arrived alive! !!
To Santa Marta came Don Pedro de Heredia, founder of Cartagena de Indias, captain Gonzalo Suarez Rendón, founder of Tunja, Pedro de Ursua, founder of Pamplona in Norte de Santander and captain of riders Antonio Díaz Cardoso.
Santa Marta thus became the bridge between Spain, Santo Domingo and the new continent, being the first continental city overseas. However, pirates and filibusters made incursions into this Caribbean land as well as in Cartagena de Indias. French, English and Dutch pirates attacked the city during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, overwhelming the tranquility and making stealing, suffering and insecurity became the daily bread of the inhabitants of Santa Marta. Of the initial city there were not even the vestiges … impossible after being burned more than 20 times.
Of aggressions with fire to the city, the historians make reference to the attack of the 3 of December of 1655 on the part of the English vice-admiral William Goodson and Juan Cuchillo, a pirate and renegade Spanish, who attacked, burned and they took the city during 15 long days . Three years later the English corsair Edward Doyley and the pirate Cristóbal Mings, repeated exactly the burning, as a dejá vu that leaves almost two centuries of Samaria history in a limbo of ruin and ashes. The part of the convent of Santo Domingo, today the place where Don Pepe stands, survived in an incredible way despite the pirate attacks and the historic earthquake of 1834: On May 22 of that year at two in the morning, the telluric movement it destroyed almost the whole city, and the replica of it on the 24th finished destroying the constructions. But the house, I’m still standing. In 1837, when it was still a convent, a historical event took place that is part of the magic and culture of this house: the honorable remains of the liberator Simón Bolívar were sheltered from being thrown into the sea.
From the modern and conceptual history of the construction of the hotel, we will return to the fact that Don José Benito Vives acquired the house in 1996. Three months after the purchase he died, without knowing that the beautiful place that receives people from all over the world would be built. They are impressed by the beauty of the construction and the stories it contains.
Don José Benito Vives, the eldest son of Don José Benito Vives de Andreis, graduated from the famous Celedón high school, a place that inspired in part the music of Rafael Escalona. He graduated from the modern gym in Bogotá as an economist and returned to Santa Marta to give life to the nascent coffee, banana and African palm businesses. He was lucky to find his life partner in Doña Rosa Lacouture, with whom he had 10 children: José Benito, Silvia Rosa, Luis Eduardo, Juan Ignacio, Raúl Alberto, María Teresa, Patricia, Roberto Eusebio, Mauricio and Álvaro.
Family names to hotel guests, since ten of the twelve rooms have their names. The remaining two that make up the accommodation offer pay homage to his life again: The Rosita and Pepe presidential suite and the Gran Pepe luxury suite.
Don José Benito left a wonderful legacy that is remembered every time these stories of the house are told. Every time we remember that there are men and women who are part of the creation of the cities and become inspiration for magical places full of life, Places like the Boutique Hotel Don Pepe.