I’m a backpacker at heart. I love to save on accommodation and splurge on experience. But on a Trufflepig research trip, it’s tough not to get addicted to the finer things in life: king-sized beds, luxurious private marble bathrooms and outstanding service. I still hold hostels close to my heart, but it’s luxury boutique hotels that take the cake, and when it comes to finding one in Quito, Casa Gangotena is at the top of my list.
Quito is roughly divided into three parts, with the old historic town in the middle sandwiched between the southern and northern districts. Quito’s Centro Historico is where the city distinguishes itself through its gorgeous architecture and lively plazas. In Plaza San Francisco, Casa Gangotena is the colonial jewel. The restored historic mansion is hard to miss with its big, beautiful white exterior overlooking the hustle and bustle of daily life in the plaza. It’s a perfect jumping off point for a tour of the old town, and most weekends feature local performances in the plaza, so you’ll have a front row seat.
This former home of the wealthy Gangotenas took five years to be converted into a hotel. Many of the original indoor features were retained, such as the flooring in the reading room, an antique mirror in the hall, and a beautiful mural across the wall in a few of the rooms. The warm atmosphere and attentive staff will welcome you as you arrive, but it’s the suites that will leave you breathless. Big and airy, you’ll have to drag yourself from the superb comfort of your bed every morning. Spend the day exploring, but make it back for dinner, where the chef will make you fall in love with local favourites. In Toronto’s cold winter months, I still dream of the potato soup. It’s not every day that a hostel-goer gets to live like a royal.
Victoria is saving up for a king-sized bed and personal chef in Toronto, but until then she dreams fondly of Quito, and is happy to help you plan your own royal escape to the Casa Gangotena.