Quito was the first city to be named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978. One glimpse out the oversized, shuttered windows of your room at the Casa Gangotena and you’ll see why.
The 1920’s, Neoclassical-style building was home to Ecuador’s presidents and aristocratic families until 1997, when its final residents—the two elderly, hermit Gangotena sisters—agreed to leave their crumbling but majestic home. (One room had walls entirely lined with silver panels, which one of the sisters used as a private chapel). Vestiges of their ownership remain in the beautifully painted tin ceilings, murals in the lobby and a gilded family crest hanging over an ornately carved mirror.
Thirty-one spacious rooms are well appointed with Osborne & Little fabrics, chic metallic-accented wallpaper and white marble–clad bathrooms. Furnishings are modern but amenities are authentically Ecuadorian. Set throughout the rooms are potted local orchids of species so beautiful and delicate, they surely wouldn’t survive export.
There’s a roof terrace with views of the cathedral and plaza that makes for a beautiful spot for a glass of wine or cup of coffee. The restaurant, bar and atrium receive so much natural light, guests remain cheerful even when a rainforest-type storm makes its way to Quito. Afternoon tea service in the glass atrium is a beloved tradition, which draws many well-heeled locals as well as hotel guests.
The star of the property is its staff, who exude graciousness and are genuinely proud of their hotel and city.
Hotel Plaza Grande