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Monday, November 14, 2011

Casa Gangotena, Quito, Ecuador: hotel review

Overlooking Plaza San Francisco, the heart of Quito’s Unesco-protected colonial Old Town. This is the prettiest part of the city and the hotel is easy walking distance from sights such as the gilt Jesuit church of La Compañía, Museo de la Ciudad and the Franciscan monastery as well as excellent restaurants. However, if you are out late, take a cab home as the streets get very quiet at night.

Understated opulence with an Ecuadorean twist. Glossy marble and a pale colour scheme are paired with original hand-painted ceilings and murals. There is a strong pride in indigenous culture, reflected in a selection of pre-Columbian artefacts lent from the nearby Casa del Alabado museum.

Service 9/10

Front-of-house staff were always quick to help, whether for shopping and dinner recommendations, Galapagos snorkelling tips or arranging private city tours. The maids may lack fluent English, but their professionalism can’t be knocked.

Rooms 8/10

The 31 rooms are all slightly different but share huge windows, high ceilings, large marble bathrooms and free Wi-Fi. Those overlooking the plaza get the best views (the alternative is the garden) but can get noisy in the early evening. Several rooms include interesting historic features such as the mural stretching across the walls of the former music room.

Food & drink 8/10

“Fusion is confusion,” says the hotel’s GM, Fernando Delgado, a statement which explains the commitment to traditional Ecuadorean dishes given only the slightest contemporary twist. I’d recommend the perfectly cooked fish, such as sea bass with sweet potato and salsa or tuna with quinoa. South American wines feature heavily on the list, although Ecuador has no wine industry of its own to speak of.

Value for money 8/10

Rooms from $457.50/£285 including VAT, service tax, American breakfast and afternoon coffee.

Access for guests with disabilities

Yes, including a room equipped with a larger bathroom and handrails.

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