A Cheerful Holy Week at Four Seasons Hotels Bogotá
In Colombia, the Holy Week is the most important Christian feast apart from Christmas, locally known as Semana Santa. Starting this year on April 2, 2023, a week of church services, pilgrimages, and family gatherings marks the Crucifixion of Jesus, and his resurrection on Easter Sunday (Domingo de Resurrección), April 9.
As with other Colonial Colombian towns such as Popayán and Mompox, recognized for the devotion with which they celebrate this holiday, Bogotá plays its part, congregating prayers and visitors around two main Catholic landmarks: the sacred Monserrate Mountain and The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá (La Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá).
Millions of pilgrims climb Monserrate, located at 3,150 metres (10,334 feet) above sea level, 550 metres (1,804 feet) more elevated than the city is. They make this laborious effort in to visit The Basilica Sanctuary of the Fallen Lord and Our Lady of Monserrate (Basílica Santuario del Señor Caído y Nuestra Señora de Monserrate). Apart from being cherished as a temple, The Basilica is a huge tourist attraction of historical interest. Around the iconic monument of neo-Colonial style, visible from below, vendors gather to offer souvenirs, drinks, and snacks while people enjoy one of the best views of the capital.
During the Holy Week, around 300 churches across the city add to the tone set by Monserrate from the foggy and forested heights by organizing processions and welcoming people from all over to reunite in communion and to ask for blessings.
Receiving thousands of visitors every Sunday, The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, located in the municipality of Cundinamarca, 48 kilometres (30 miles) north of Bogotá, is a Roman Catholic church built 200 metres (650 feet) underground using the tunnels of a salt mine with deposits formed 250 million years ago. It is one of the main tourist attractions of the Cundiboyacense region and a fun and unique thing to do on top of the special religious connotation it portrays.
The team at Four Seasons happily provides a VIP customized and comforting journey to both places that includes deluxe transportation, thematic amenities, and a multilingual guide.
Both Four Seasons Hotel Bogotá and Casa Medina have a special offer for Colombian citizens with a special rate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the Deluxe, the Grand Premier, the Executive Suite, and the One Bedroom Suite. Those special rates include a COP 440,000 redeemable credit for each room at the SPA or for food and beverages, and early check-in and late check-out.
There is also a special offer for Colombians for every day of the week at the Deluxe Room that includes breakfast for two at the restaurant or in-room dining, early check-in and late check-out, and a room upgrade (subject to availability).
For everyone, if staying two nights at one of the two locations, the third night is fully covered by Four Seasons.
In most countries of the world the Holy Week revolves around spiritual reflection but also to observe some food symbolism. It marks the end of a Lenten period of 40 days of fasting and penance, usually celebrated with dishes based on fish and seafood. Plenty of fine dining and casual restaurants in Bogotá offer delicious dishes highlighting these products, especially on Good Friday (Viernes Santo), people abstain from eating red meat.
La Biblioteca’s menu – the restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Bogotá – has its own specialties for this day: the shrimp tartar, a catch-of-the-day ceviche, and catch-of-the-day main course. A glazed octopus, seafood rice, and butterfly prawns are also wonderful options for that day. Two of the signature dishes at Castanyoles – the restaurant of Four Seasons Casa Medina– are ideal for Good Friday: Spanish inspired Gambas Pil Pil and Pulpo a la Feria. The menu also offers fried calamari with mandarin lime, Valenciana mussels, seafood stew, and a delicious grouper in saffron sauce with almonds, not to mention the traditional Spanish recipe for seafood Fideua.
Semana Santa is a great time to visit a city like Bogotá with such a colonial past and centuries of cultural blending. It is certainly another prime reason to choose Four Seasons Hotels while learning from rituals that happen only once a year, and experiencing moments that truly go beyond religious beliefs to gracefully showcase the region’s people and places.