If you’re looking where to stay in Quito, some of the best experiences in this city can be had in and around one place: Casa Gangotena, the Old Town’s very own boutique hotel, a place to engage all 5 senses. Experience the sights, sounds, scents, tastes, and touches of Quito by staying at our hotel.
A feast for the eyes and the soul, the sight that most defines Casa Gangotena is the view over Plaza San Francisco, not from afar but as one of its most defining elements. The twin white spires of the religious complex, the iconic buzz of the square itself and the domed and mountainous skyline of Quito Old Town are ever-present whether you’ve risen at dawn to watch the sunrise, you’re having breakfast at the window table in the restaurant, or relaxing in your room’s bathtub looking out over the city at dusk… The backdrop to any stay in our boutique hotel in Quito is the emblematic plaza, the true heart of historic center, from all angles, in every light, from sunrise to the dark of night.
To really hear the exterior, urban sounds of the historic center that ensconce Casa Gangotena, you have to throw open the window. Yes, that same maximum-strength window that sound-proofs your stay and allows you the most peaceful of nights’ sleeps. With the barrier removed between you and Plaza San Francisco the sounds of the square become the soundtrack to an incomparable connection with this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Listen out for the plaintive cry of: “’mmmmercio de hoy! El Comercio de hoy!” of the newspaper vendor, and the cracking flap as a legion of pigeons takes flight. According to legend, these birds are the lost souls of devils searching for crafty Cantuña, the workman said to have tricked the Devil himself. Awakening to these sounds is to awaken like a true Quiteño, roused by the motions of the city.
You don’t have to set foot out of your Quito Old Town hotel before you have smelled the scents on the breeze wafting from the surrounding traditional neighborhood. It is the aroma of dried herbs and spices from the shop across the street on Calle Cuenca that drifts into the garden: warm, rich, and exotic. These colorful seasonings will recur during your stay here, in the subtle flavors of the Mestizo Cuisine at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Within the hotel, a familiar, citrusy scent layers over the air, that of the hundreds of orchids in the patio and corridors, echoing the plethora of these lovely flowers found across the length and breadth of Ecuador.
Your first taste as you enter Casa Gangotena is the same as that enjoyed by many Ecuadorians arriving at their destination after a long journey: agua de frescos, the traditional welcome drink. Stained fuchsia pink by the super-cereal amaranth and the drink’s all-natural and organic ingredients, the refreshing beverage contains seven different fresh herbs, including chamomile and lemon verbena, which have myriad health benefits aside from cooling the body and quenching thirst.
Return to our Quito hotel after 4 P.M. after a day of exploring Quito’s Old Town and the hotel’s signature taste is darker and richer: Café Quiteño, a kind of Quito high tea, is served with premium local coffee or a delicious range of herbal and fruit teas. It is this respect for Ecuadorian products, flavors, and traditions that make the Casa Gangotena experience so unique, and so entrenched in its wonderful surroundings.
There are many things to delight your sense of touch at Casa Gangotena: the softest bed sheets, the opulent velvet sofas, and the cool marble pillars. But these are things that could be found in any luxury hotel around the world. The feeling that sets Casa Gangotena apart is less tangible: the feeling of being looked after, of being absolutely at home in Quito Old Town. It’s the warm smiles of the staff and the natural attentiveness of the concierge around the lovely spaces of the hotel that leave the lasting feeling at Casa Gangotena.