Backstory: Occupying a newly renovated 1920s mansion in Quito’s historic center, the 31-room Casa Gangotena opened in 2012 but retains some of the building’s original Art Deco and Art Nouveau touches. The palatial residence overlooks the Plaza San Francisco, home to the city’s oldest church, built atop Incan ruins. Though the area became one of the first UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in 1978, it’s far from a tourist trap. All around the hotel you’ll find a neighborhood bustling with traditional handicraft makers, markets and healers. The fragrances of Andean herbs and spices will often waft up to your window.
What You’ll Find Just Outside: Since opening three years ago, the hotel has made a point of being a partner to the local community. Much of the food served on-site is sourced from nearby markets, and the hotel works with locals to help them keep their traditions alive through sustainable tourism. At the front desk, arrange a tour of anywhere from the surrounding blocks to the Galapagos Islands with the intrepid guides from Metropolitan Touring.
Hot Dish: Begin your morning with an order of tigrillo, a traditional Ecuadorian breakfast scramble made with green banana, leeks and cilantro. Following your afternoon siesta, come to the hotel’s glass-enclosed courtyard for tea time. It’s an English tradition with a local twist: The requisite finger sandwiches here are paired with coconut sweets and tropical fruit.
Amazing Amenities: At more than 9,000 feet above sea level, Quito’s elevation can take some getting used to. Make the transition easier with an herbal limpia, an “energy equilibrium restoration” performed in your room by a local healer. To learn more about Andean cultures, swing around the corner to Casa del Alabado, a pre-Columbian art museum housed in a 1671 residence, which opened to great fanfare in 2010.