There are basically two areas to stay in Quito, Ecuador: the Mariscal business and restaurant district, where you’ll find the Swissotel and the like, or the UNESCO World Heritage city center, where all the interesting buildings and streets are. I’m partial to the latter, even if it is a little sleepy at night. One way to make sure you’ve got somewhere to eat and drink when you step out the door is to stay in the La Ronda area a short walk from the center. Situated in the heart of that is Casona de la Ronda boutique hotel.
If you like a hotel with character and a sense of place, this one is a real gem. It’s a lovingly converted building that’s older than the USA, dating back to 1738. Supposedly this part of the old city goes back to Inca times, but in any case most of the buildings in this section of town go back to the early days of the conquistadors. Now a 22-room boutique hotel, La Casona de la Ronda is gorgeous throughout, with hand-painted touches adorning walls guest room door sections, plus niches on each floor that contain quality local handicrafts.
I was handed a welcome drink when I entered and after the bellhop carried my bag up the wooden stairs, I opened my balcony doors and got this view above, the El Panecillo (Virgin of Quito) statue at the top of that hill.
Rooms here are tidy, well-designed, and attractive, with nice decorative touches and comfortable mattresses. Hardwood floors and hand crafted wood furniture complement the local woven touches, but there are welcome modern amenities like free Wi-Fi, good reading lights, and lots of channels on the TVs. There’s also an electronic safe.
Well equipped shower-only baths with rain and hand showers have high-end toiletries and good water pressure. The sound-proofed windows work well in keeping out the noise. Ecuador being one of the world’s greatest cacao producers, naturally you a chocolate on your pillow at turndown.
Upstairs on the top floor is a nice lounge area with books, a Wi-Fi router, and a view out the glass of the surrounding area. On each floor is a bottled water dispenser for you to fill up with drinking water.
On the ground floor is an attractive lobby lounge area inside, plus another one in a courtyard with a vertical garden going up one wall. The restaurant is also situated here, a high-end place with upscale versions of typical Ecuadoran dishes, plus a few international options. With its high decorated ceilings, hanging black iron chandeliers, and fiery colored walls, it’s a warm and cozy spot.
Staffers here speak enough English to get you what you need and service comes with a smile. For many travelers Quito is just a one or tw0-night stop on teh way too or from the Galapagos. Staying at an interesting hotel like this, right in the La Ronda neighborhood a short walk from the Grand Plaza, is a great way to make the most of a short visit.
Review and photos by travel writer and author Tim Leffel, who was hosted at Casona de la Ronda on the way to researching articles on the Amazon jungle and Galapagos of Ecuador.