If planning a trip to South America you may well be thinking Rio is the not-to-miss, fun-filled city or Buenos Aires with all her tango rhythms but I would like to add another option…..Quito. Quito is the first city named a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Born again at the turn of this century Quito has had $220 million dollars invested in cultural preservation projects, new museums, new parks which has now attracted a whole bevy of new hotels and restaurants.
Quito has had her treasury of masterpiece colonial buildings cleaned and livened up in the old city and has new additions of modern hotels, boutiques and fine dining restaurants. From being a stopover city Quito is now a place where you could be kept busy for several days and is also a great base for nearby excursions to the cloud forests and highlands.
Mayor of Quito, Mayor Moncayo, has said that under the rehabilitation of the historic center’s 10,000 traders were relocated into 11 shopping malls that were purpose built and the work is still not completed. He is proud of the fact that in 2007 Quito made its way onto the New York Times list of ’53 places to go in 2008′. He estimates that by 2012 Quito will be receiving 1 million international visitors each year.
Staying in the heart of this historic capital is what it’s all about. In the old town you will find 40 churches and chapels, 17 plazas, 12 chapter rooms and refectories, 12 museums and countless courtyards. The bohemian heart of the city and one of the oldest streets is Calle Morales better known at la Ronda. Here can be found lovely wrought iron balconies trimming the historic houses (many of which are art galleries), courtyard cafes and handicraft shops.
If you choose to stay in the historic district you will have a choice of fine boutique hotels. The 15-suite Hotel Plaza Grande dominates the Old Town’s main square. The Hotel Plaza Grande is situated in a 16th century house and is beautifully furnished. You can expect to stay in a double room from $575.
The Villa Colonna is a 2-storey bed and breakfast that is housed in a 19th century building. There are six suites in the Villa Colonna and a double room rate with breakfast starts at $250.
Another popular choice for travelers is The hotel Patio Andaluz. This hotel is close to all the action in the Old Town and a double room rate starts at $200 with a suite rate starting at $250.
In the new Quito the Le Parc is making a big splash. This is a high-style, 30-suite hotel located in the financial district close to the Quincentro shopping mall. The facilities offered in this hotel include the L’Occitane Spa and the Blu Restaurant. A double room rate with breakfast starts at $196.
If you are looking for colorful comfy rooms in a lovely old colonial house that has been renovated with flair and style then look no further than the Hotel Vieja Cuba. A double room rate with breakfast here starts at just $86.
So give Quito a go. Quito is now a happening capital, a colonial gem of a city.