Although the original 18th century building was destroyed by fire in 1914, it was rebuilt in the 20’s. The result is Renaissance-inspired architecture coupled with Art Deco and postmodern flourishes, a combination that fuses Ecuadorian antiquity and eye-catching contemporary style. As you’d expect from a character hotel of this stock, the rooms are high ceilinged, airy and full of Andean light courtesy of the large windows. Views are of the hip plaza outside or of the courtyard gardens behind. Rich carpets and fabrics, antique furniture and arresting murals complete the sumptuous feel of the place and invite you to relax in style.
Step out of the hotel to explore the world heritage wonders of the historic city, considered to be one of the best-preserved colonial cities in the Americas. Admire the white-washed houses adorned with intricate balconies. Stroll the cobbled Calle de la Ronda, pausing at art galleries, artisan craft shops and inviting pavement bars and cafés. Snack on grilled corn on the cob with cheese bought from a street corner seller. Step into the churches of La Compania de Jesus and San Francisco and search out the City Museum. You can really get under the skin of the city with exclusive visits to the beautiful church and convent of San Francisco hosted by a monk, indulgent chocolate tastings led by a chef and Andean-style spa treatments performed by a local traditional medicine expert, all arranged by the concierge at Casa Gangotena.
If you need a calming refuge, retreat to the hotel garden and sit in the tranquil space among powerfully scented exotic flowers or hole up in the wood panelled library for a bit of privacy. Make sure to emerge in time for Casa Gangotena’s classic Quiteno equivalent of traditional afternoon tea, taken in an orchid-filled glass-ceilinged internal courtyard; a couple of sips of traditional Agua de Frescos, a tea originating in the southern highlands made of herbs, leaves and flower petals, will energize you wonderfully while the local hot chocolate is deliciously rich and aromatic. Alternatively, climb to the rooftop terrace for romantic views of Quito’s church roofs, bell towers and spires. Loiter on the terrace at the end of the day for a delicious sundowner cocktail.
Then dress for dinner and, after a rum-based signature Cedron Spritz in the wood-panelled country-club-style bar, take your seat at a smart table in the Cedron Restaurant for a gourmet journey through the contemporary flavours and colours of Ecuador. Try the tasting menu and via shrimp ceviche, paiche in a smoked coconut sauce, prime pork rib and rack of lamb with corn puree, travel from the coast to the Ecuadorian Amazon, Andes and Highlands. Let the sommelier suggest vintages from the well-stocked cellar to complement your travels.