We’ve highlighted the best historic hotels in Quito in the past, places where you can walk out the door and be in the district full of buildings hundreds of years old, in one of the first two UNESCO World Heritage sites to be designated. When it’s time to go out at night to bars and restaurants, however, the Mariscal district a few miles north is where it’s at, and the Swissotel is a fixture on the edge of that, but not too far from attractions.
The Swissotel Quito has been a fixture in the city since the building went up in 1990, and many still consider it to be the prestige address in town for business travelers. Unfortunately it retains a lot of elements from that era and the lobby is to hotels what classic Depeche Mode is to music: stuck in a specific period in time. In this case, think lots of brass and those blocky glass light fixtures hanging from the ceiling.
The courtyard area is more attractive with its small outdoor pool and lots of plants. An indoor pool that’s much larger is on the inside (the two of them connected by a watery opening in the wall) and both are heated. Branching off from the courtyard are an excellent gym, a beauty salon, spa, and conference rooms. Two tennis courts are on the roof, so be careful with those high lob shots.
This is the hotel with the best array of dining facilities around, making it a favorite with those on expense accounts. The five restaurants and cafes have some personality too: you probably wouldn’t expect to come to Ecuador and find a Japanese restaurant, a Swiss fondue restaurant (complete with wood paneled walls), and an attractive Mediterranean restaurant.
Of course the main restaurant right off the lobby serves a grand breakfast buffet to get you on your way, often included in the rates, and there you can find plenty of local Ecuadoran specialties to sample. Plus an array of juices from the wide range of fruit grown in abundance in this country.
A bar off the lobby is a typical old-school hotel lounge, with lots of dark wood, leather, and TVs. The one thing that’s thankfully missing from when it was designed is a cloud of smoke.
As with most hotels in Quito, the room decor is subdued and conservative, designed for business travelers who don’t like surprises. One nice missing surprise is any charge for wired or wireless internet—here it’s included in your rate. There’s a large TV with several English channels and hookups for playing other devices through it. The desk is ample and has an ergonomic chair, while the comfortable beds with Egyptian cotton sheets have good reading lights next to them. At turndown there are two nods to Ecuador: a chocolate and a rose.
Electronic safes, minibars, coffee makers, and robes are all standard and the baths have marble vanities, good toiletries, and amazingly powerful hot showers. Executive floor rooms have the same size and layout, but have access to a lounge with snacks and drinks all day. Besides the 232 rooms, there are also 43 executive apartments with kitchens for long-stay guests.
While some leisure travelers may be happier in the core of the historic district, the Swissotel Quito is a good bet for business travelers and those with brand loyalty (this brand is connected to Fairmont). This location is not as well-run and efficient as the Lima one—a travel mate’s wake-up call was 25 minutes late, at the Swissotel—but overall the staffers try hard and at the front desk there’s not an issue with English comprehension here.