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Factory Lofts or Go Living Suites in Medellin?

When your Guide’s first Airbnb in Medellin went sideways (read this article if that happens to you: What to do if your Airbnb is terrible) I had to quickly find a new place with reliable internet. While I was searching, I learned about two accommodations in Medellin specifically targeting digital nomads: Factory Lofts in Laureles, and Go Living & Suites in Poblado. So I stayed in both to see which one worked best. Let’s do this like a competition, and score them based on key factors I look for in a place to live and work. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Medellin as a digital nomad, may this post save you some time.                             

Contents

Internet Speeds: Factory Lofts had the best internet juice.

Factory Lofts takes the first point with the best wifi speeds I found the entire time I was in Medellin. Even the rooftop deck has triple digit upload and download speeds. I had a great time livestreaming up there. You’ve got green plants all around and a view of the entire city.

Go Living &  Suites had totally acceptable internet in the room and the internet was ok in the coworking area. I had no problem with video calls or livestreaming, but Factory Lofts was exemplary on speed, so: 

FL: 1 - GLS: 0
Internet speed is important for creating a quality coaching call experience. I don't want clients pouring their hearts out and then me saying: "Sorry, I missed everything after you mentioned trauma."

Workspace: Why do designers insist on backlighting desks?

I did not enjoy the workspaces in either accommodation. Both were still doing the typical hotel desk, just to check a box. Cramped, bad lighting, unappealing backgrounds for video calls. They may expect people to use the coworking spaces, but I need privacy for coaching calls. There were no privacy booths in the GL coworking space, and the cubicles at Factory Lofts were open at the top. Everybody could hear every call going on.

Go Living & Suites won the point here because my suite included a proper desk chair. When I arrived at Factory Lofts, my desk chair was broken. It was a plastic chair and one of the legs had been jammed up through the seat. They replaced it quickly when I asked. But it wasn’t a great chair for back-to-back Zoom calls.

FL: 1 - GLS: 1

Go Living on the left/first. The kitchen is hidden behind the mirrored sliding doors beside the desk. Factory Lofts second/on the right. I was excited about using the smart TV as my computer monitor, but it couldn’t hold the connection for some reason. It was a looming black void I kept knocking with my laptop.

The Room & Price: Go Living Suites has space for jazzercising.

The Factory Lofts were decorated nicely but too small for me. When there’s no gym at a hotel, I do workouts in my room. Not possible there. The clothes dresser is so cramped I didn’t bother using the second half because there’s a concrete column in front of it. The bathrooms in both places were similar and had large, walk-in showers with consistent hot water and pressure.

Price: $100 USD per night with the fees added in on Airbnb. On Booking, there are cheaper rooms, and it lists out the room sizes so you can get a bigger one: Factory Lofts on Booking.com 

The room at Factory Lofts in Medellin.
The room at Factory Lofts was softly lit and well-decorated. The window looks out onto the forested campus of Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana

Go Living & Suites had larger rooms (and a gym area). The price was also cheaper. In both of these accommodations,, the beds were large and comfortable. I spent longer at GLS and the extra space in the room helped. I had space for my meditation bench, two (easily accessible closets), and I could do workouts in my room.

Price: $65 USD per night with the extra fees included on Airbnb. It’s on Booking, too, but they don’t list the different room options you can find on Airbnb: Go Living & Suites on Booking.com

For more space at nearly half the price, GLS takes this point.

FL: 1 - GLS: 2
Room at Go Living and Suites in Medellin. A bed with plain white sheets across from a flatscreen TV on the wall. There is ample floor space. A large window fills one side of the room. Apartment towers are visible out the window.
There was ample space to move around the room at Go Living and Suites

Kitchen: I eat more than instant ramen.

Factory Lofts had the most well-equipped kitchen. Somebody had taken the time to consider what people might want to make there. The fridge was also a bit larger and had a working freezer. The bar fridge in my GLS room had a tiny freezer but it was so packed with frost, I couldn’t put anything in it anyway. GLS didn’t have the variety of utensils, the kitchen was smaller, and the hot plate took forever to heat anything substantial. Hiding the kitchen in a closet seemed clever but it needed an extra inch on either side. Banging drawers and cupboards into the closet doors got annoying. FL takes this point.

FL: 2 - GLS: 2

The kitchen at Factory Lofts. There was also a full set of pans, several cutting boards, containers for storage, and a complete knife set. There was also a welcome basket with chocolate, coffee, and beer waiting for me.

Noise: They're college dorms.

With both accommodations, they’re well protected against exterior noise, but you’ll hear the other guests if they’re noisy. When my neighbor at Factory Lofts had a girl over and cranked the cumbia, so he had to shout lame jokes over the music. I heard it all. She was so charitable with her laughter. 

When my neighbor at Go Living & Suites would get high and yell at nature documentaries, I understood the spirit of why he was so moved. Nature is amazing. But even the birds want to be asleep at 4am.

There was a definite college dorm vibe in both places. No points for anybody.

View: There are no bad views in Medellin.

Medellin is a stunning city. The mist rolling through the tiered towers of Poblado. The glistening trees and vibrant flowers of Laureles in the rainy season. Both accommodations had views to savor. Points all around.

FL: 3 - GLS: 3
View from the Go Living Suites in Medellin, a digital nomad coworking hotel project.
Misty morning, pre-dawn view of Poblado, from the Go Living and Suites. The sun rises directly over those hills to the east.

Amenities: Digital nomads do wash their clothes sometimes.

Factory Lofts had a shared laundry room but it was free. At Go Living & Suites, which has more rooms and floors than FL, there was a single washing machine, 8000 COP for a load (around $2 USD). I never caught it available. My clothes were running on fumes, saved only by the fact I work mostly online. I finally tried going before anybody was awake (except my neighbor). I went to the lonely laundry room at 6am one morning… and the solitary machine was out-of-service. I washed my clothes in the bathroom sink.

Washing clothes in the bathroom sink at Go Living and Suites, Medellin. A bottle of ecological detergent, a grey countertop, a sink packed with green and blue shirts, and an Adidas sport sock with three black stripes on white.
Washing my clothes in the bathroom sink at Go Living & Suites, Medellin. A lot of people don't realize how glamorous digital nomadding is.

Go Living & Suites has a gym, and it was one of the reasons I selected it, but the gym needs work. The dumbbells are strangely oversized, so you can’t have a full range of motion or use proper form with some exercises. And the weight machine was falling apart. It was more like a medieval torture machine. I watched several people come into the gym, try the weight machine, realize their travel insurance wouldn’t cover it, and leave.

Point to Factory Lofts because it’s close to a Crossfit gym, a yoga studio, and a SmartFit.

FL: 4 - GLS: 3
Mark standing in the Go Living and Suites gym, holding a 10kg dumbbell that is much larger than his head.
Holding an oversized 10 kg / 20 lb dumbbell in the Go Living and Suites gym. I did appreciate the pull-up bars and space for using my speed rope.

Restaurants: A story about a bad sandwich.

There’s something you need to know about restaurant Google reviews in Medellin: they can be extremely unreliable. When I was researching places, the cafe, Cafés de Origen, at Go Living & Suites had excellent reviews (4.8 stars from 55 reviews), but I didn’t enjoy it so much. I care a lot about sandwiches, and I paid around $8 for this: 

Across town, Factory Lofts has a SMASH on its first floor, which is a mostly-vegetarian, fast-casual restaurant. Great bowls, fresh fruit smoothies, delicious local coffees. There’s also a small Bogota Brewing Company bar beside it. And the Laureles neighborhood has some of the best restaurants in the city, within easy walking-distance. 

Combined with the better kitchen, FL gets the point on food.

FL: 5 - GLS: 3

SMASH, on the first floor of the Factory Lofts, has a breezy terrace surrounded by tropical plants. The restaurant was a reliable source of passion fruit protein shakes and bowls of fresh veggies.

Neighborhood: Oviedo Mall is my favorite mall, but...

Go Living Suites is close to Oviedo and Santa Fe Malls. There’s also a 24-hr Carulla nearby, which is a bit like Whole Foods–there was a champagne and fondue display right inside the entrance when I visited. But Poblado is designed for gated communities and driving around in SUVs. Getting to the malls requires navigating a six-way intersection between some busy roads. I’ve never seen so many pedestrians nearly get hit. One of the crosswalks is permanently turned off because that street is always in use by at least one of the roads feeding into the intersection.  So it was a thrilling walk. 

Factory Lofts is located in the Laureles neighborhood. It’s less thrilling, but quieter, greener, flatter. It’s one of the most walkable neighborhoods in the city. You may hear a lot about Poblado, and many expats and tourists do stay there, but I would vote for staying in Laureles any day.

FL: 6 - GLS: 3

So Factory Lofts wins the match-up between Go Living & Suites for me. But, if price is your top factor, then Go Living & Suites is probably your best bet. There is also a delicious woodfire pizza restaurant up the street at Ivy Hostel (which will run you $21 for a private room with a shared bathroom).

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