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Quito, EcuadorOctober 13, 2008 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
From a 30-room, boutique-style luxury hotel to converted homes and business-oriented properties, the hotels we visited all offered excellent selling points for younger, older, first-time and long-time travelers, backpackers and honeymooners.
As part of Travel Agent’s coverage of the 32nd TravelMart Latin America in Ecuador, the Quito Visitors’ Bureau organized a full day of site inspections, in which we had the opportunity to tour seven of the Ecuador capital’s newest properties.
The cosmopolitan city of Quito offers accommodations for every taste and budget
Less Can Be More
Let’s start with Le Parc, a 30-room, all-suite luxury boutique that was among our favorites of the day. The hotel is very simple, has no pool and only one treatment room in its spa. But less is certainly more here.
It is not overdone and is incredibly quiet. There are three room categories, the 01, 02 and 03 suites named after the last two digits of the room number. The first room we saw at this 13-floor hotel was room #503. It had a king-size bed and flat-screen TV. All the suites are basically the same as far as the layout goes, but all offer different views and a tub located either inside or outside of the bathroom. Room #702 was one of our favorites for this reason. There is a tub located outside of the bathroom literally right in front of the window overlooking Quito. Your clients can have a relaxing bath while enjoying a beautiful view and won’t have to worry about anyone seeing in, because the rooms are so high up.
We then visited Room #1201, where the windows are directly in front of the bed. Guests can open their curtain and have a full view of the capital. There are two of these rooms in the hotel, and they are the most expensive—but we say that with a grin, since they only run about $250 a night plus tax.
One of the 30 suites at Le Parc
Perhaps our favorite aspect of Le Parc was its rooftop bar, dubbed Le Bar. It’s very chic, designed in only blacks and whites and serving everything from Dom Perignon to martinis. The view is incredible. Our only regret was seeing it during the day, as we were told candles illuminate the bar at night and, of course, the skyline of Quito provides back lighting.
Other simple touches we enjoyed here were the elevator that didn’t feel or sound like it was moving an inch; and the scent of the hotel, which evoked a comforting spa from lobby to rooms. Le Parc welcomes families, but we felt this was the perfect place for a quiet retreat with your loved one, so we recommend booking for couples, young and old. Agents should call Sandra Ximena Rodriguez, director of sales, at 011-52-09-964-7914 or e-mail [email protected].
For younger couples and singles, our favorite hotel was nü house. Again, the property can accommodate families, but it is right smack in the middle of Quito’s most lively area, known as La Mariscal, which is filled with discos, bars and restaurants. By midnight, its sidewalks and streets are filled with many locals and tourists looking to dance the night away. You can probably guess what our main concern was: How can anyone get any sleep in such a noisy part of town?
We were reassured after learning each room has soundproof windows with two thick panes of glass. Our guide, Sales and Marketing Manager Ricardo del la Cadena, opened a window for us in room #108 and we could hear every sound imaginable. When he shut the window again, the room was silent once more. We could even hear the suction of the closing window as it smothered the outside noise.
Of any room in this 57-room property, this would be the one where sound would have been an issue: It is located the closest to the floor with an open area for street performers that is literally outside of the window. On the plus side, guests staying in this room can get a preview of the nightlife by simply opening the curtains.
Our favorite room, however, was #502, one of five Jacuzzi Suites. It comes with a small balcony, a queen-size bed and a mix of sophisticated colors ranging from the dark blue velvet headboard to dark red pillows in the bedroom to some subtle browns and oranges mixed in along the way in the living area. The Jacuzzi, like the standalone tubs at Le Parc, offers great views of Quito. This was the second most expensive room type, ranging from $200 to $250 per night plus tax. The only aspect of the property we didn’t like were the incredibly small elevators, which barely fit two people comfortably. While you should note this detail to clients, we don’t think this should turn off this property’s ideal clientele—25- to 35-year-old singles who don’t mind an extra-cozy elevator ride for a few seconds.
A Jacuzzi tub overlooks Quito at nü house
Besides the rooms, we also like the hotel’s proximity to restaurants, which are right outside the front door. If your clients want room service, the hotel can arrange delivery service, but going outside the hotel and into the robust La Mariscal area is highly recommended.
The Q restaurant is a trendy, nightclub-type restaurant. During the day, it’s a quiet, sit-down spot and at night is filled with locals and tourists, and the popular music it plays can be heard on the streets.
Located directly across the street from the Q is a Latin bistro called Azuca, perfect for outdoor dining. The best part of both is that you can party outside of your hotel with non-guests and can still bill everything to your room by presenting a key card and room number.
The nü house hotel is about a year old and is perfect for younger clients or singles of any age. Agents should contact Cadena at 011-52-09-814-0168 or [email protected].
Home Away From Home
The smallest hotel, and perhaps the most unique, was Casa Aliso, which houses only 10 rooms. The property is a converted colonial home. The rooms are all small and quiet, offering pretty much the same layout and space but with different views. Our favorite was room #206, also known as room Bamboo. What separated this room from the rest was its terrace with direct access to the property’s garden. You can walk outside of the room and stroll into the hotel’s backyard, which has picnic tables set up for lounging. We’re not usually ones to rave about landscape, but the fact that this yard was someone’s actual backyard at one time made it that much more relaxing. The garden, bushes and plants are all well-maintained and are hypnotic to look at when the view comes directly from your bed as it does with Bamboo and room #203, which we were told some repeat guests have called their favorite.
The neighborhood that surrounds this hotel is the quietest of all we visited. It’s in the middle of a street where hardly any cars come through. Rooms here range from $114 to $135 plus tax. Agents can call Francisco Salazar, sales and marketing manager, at 011-52-25-28062.
A Pleasant Surprise
The biggest surprise of our hotel tour came during our visit of the Holiday Inn Express, Quito. Now, no offense to the good folks of Holiday Inn, but it’s not necessarily the type of brand you’d imagine fitting in with other authentic, boutique-style Ecuadorian properties. But you can definitely assure clients that this is not your traditional Holiday Inn, which is usually a mid-level, simply laid-out hotel. This Holiday Inn Express captures the culture of Quito, from the portraits in the lobby to the color of the rooms.
It’s substantially bigger than the other properties, offering 141 rooms, including 17 Deluxe Superior Rooms, the hotel’s best. We saw #807, which, like nü house, has soundproof windows. These rooms are much bigger than the standard rooms and can connect with a double room for an extra charge. The views of Quito are excellent and the bathrooms are huge. The rooms are excellent, but our favorite part of this hotel was the fitness and business centers.
The gym is located on the rooftop and has windows directly in front of all the facility’s treadmills. You can burn some calories while checking out one of the best—and highest—views we saw all day. The business center and refreshment center are actually located in a separate building than the rooms. They are connected, but a converted old home houses the business and refreshment center. This isn’t your typical, stuffy business center: All the desks and chairs are made from polished wood and located in the same room as the refreshment center, where you can purchase a glass of wine or a cold beer while you check your e-mail. Much of the house has been reinvented, but it still serves as a perfect replica of the home it used to be, from its beautiful, winding staircase to its wooden floors. This is definitely the most stress-free business center we’ve seen in a while.
This property is perfect for business travelers looking to get some work done while still feeling like they are in South America. The Deluxe Superior Rooms are perfect for families as well. It should be noted that while Quito is a very tough place to find parking, this property has 201 parking spots for your clients who are renting cars during their trip. Agents should contact Ximena Rodriguez, sales and marketing manager, at 011-52-593-2-299-7399 or [email protected].
The last hotel on our tour was the Hilton Colon Quito, which unveiled 42 new Executive Suites just a few days before our arrival. There are about 255 rooms in total and the new ones are part of a brand-new La Pinta Tower.
The living area of a new Executive Suite at Hilton Colon Quito
On the first floor, there is an executive lounge area where guests at the tower can enjoy an open bar from 6 to 8 p.m. every night. All guests can use the lounge, but non-tower guests have to pay for the drinks. The best executive suite is the Ikeen Executive Suite Premium. We saw room #720, which was about the size of an apartment. The room is ideal for groups as it has two separate bathrooms, each with a shower, and a door separating the two rooms, one with a bed and another with a pullout couch, essentially becoming two, separate rooms. The rooms are separated by a sliding wooden door. One bathroom has a Jacuzzi, and both rooms have LG flat screens and bamboo floors. Agents should contact Susana Garcia, director of tour and travel, at 011-52-593-2-2560-666 or [email protected].