What is it about Quito that makes it such a sought-after destination and the focus of so many tourism awards? Since being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 the modern elements of the city have undergone a significant transformation, extending dramatically to the north, south, and west; improving its numerous highways, bridges, and tunnels; and constructing its first subway line (Metro), all the while preserving and reinvigorating its romantic and culturally significant Historic Center. Having been selected six times over as South America’s Leading Destination by the World Travel Awards, is it any wonder that, yet again, this beautiful place and a few of its most unique hotels are being recognized by another prestigious award?
The online global travel information site TripExpert recently looked at Quito and named its three best hotels. They awarded top honors to the renowned Casa Gangotena, followed by Plaza Grande and JW Marriot in second and third place, respectively. TripExpert is celebrating its fourth annual awards season and the news that Casa Gangotena is #1 in Quito, with its “Outstanding” score of 96. Such recognition is confirmation that this 31-room mansion-turned-boutique-hotel in the capital city with the highest elevation in the world is truly a notch above the rest.
#1: Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel
So, what does it mean to be #1? Well, that depends. We at Boutique Hotel Casa Gangotena have a simple and straightforward mission: to provide guests with an unforgettable experience in one of the most unique barrios (neighborhoods) in one of the most beautiful historic centers in all of Latin America. Everything else comes second. So, when focusing on our core responsibility, it is rather encouraging to be recognized for our efforts, first and foremost by our guests and their collective reviews in travel-related media, and ultimately by the outlets that take this information, analyze it, and set out to recognize hotels, like Casa Gangotena, with prestigious awards.
Many of these impressive reviews, like The Hideaway Report, note that, “Service remains unfailingly helpful and gracious.” Frommer’s Nicholas Gill writes, “Service here is topnotch, and the hotel staff is keen on involving guests in one-of-a-kind experiences, such as market tours, chocolate tastings, and in-room cleansings with a local medicine woman.” Still, other sites like Jetsetter give Casa Gangotena a five-star rating, describing the hotel’s “blend of Old World opulence… with contemporary furnishings and Art Deco touches,” and common areas that, “…are just as rich.”
#2: Plaza Grande
In the Historic Center of Quito, there is another hotel that shares a few key qualities with Casa Gangotena. Quito’s Hotel Plaza Grande is a very elegant 15-room hotel located on the edge of its namesake, another one of Quito’s famous plazas. The hotel occupies the space that was once a favorite of Quito’s elite, the Majestic, and before that, yup, another splendid mansion. Where Casa Gangotena combines the old with the new, Plaza Grande maintains a more uniform traditional style and interior design. It features spacious rooms and bars on both the top and basement floors.
Condé Nast Traveler calls Plaza Grande an, “antidote to the concrete towers of modern Quito,” while Lonely Planet refers to it as, “One of Quito’s finest hotels.” A number of the rooms feature balconies and each of the suites boast soundproof windows, which are perfect for taking a quick nap before heading back out to explore all there is to see and do in this unique district.
#3: JW Marriot
Compared to Casa Gangotena and Hotel Plaza Grande, the modern, pyramid-like JW Marriott is more of what you might expect from a hotel chain doing its best to stand out without leaning on the typical gimmicks and comforts that tend to draw visitors to the interior of their hotel instead of the city that surrounds it. While the JW Marriott offers a number of in-house dining options, an indoor pool, health club, and shopping arcade, it is also conveniently located in the business district, and features a large glass atrium and remarkable views of the Pichincha volcano.
The Telegraph remarks, “The staff are pleasant, helpful and speak an excellent level of English.” Jetsetter sums up the hotel like so, “Modern, eco-focused newcomer in Quito’s New Town.” Incidentally, the JW Marriott has been recognized for its sustainability efforts by the Rainforest Alliance.
While each of these options, and many others like them, will most likely provide you with a splendid experience in Quito, the unique feel and appeal of Casa Gangotena, its focus on the visitor’s experience, and newly-offered, guest-exclusive activities continue to set it apart from the rest. So, yes, it feels pretty good to know that what we do, and how we do it, makes us worthy of another top honor.