February 12th, 2014.
La Posada Colonial, in the Historic Center, Quito, Ecuador.
If you want authentic, this is it !! If you want the Hilton or The Four Seasons this is not it………….but it is a wonderful old Colonial Home that has been converted into a modern day Inn while retaining the
Colonial ambience and architectural details. La Posada Colonial is where I stayed while getting to know the Historic Center of Quito, Ecuador.
The Posada has one of the best locations in the Old Town on Calle Garcia Moreno at the corner of Mejia. A five minute walk along a cobble stone street leads directly into the Plaza Grande, surrounded by Museums, Churches, monuments, shops, restaurants and an unrivaled street scene. Originally an old Colonial Home that was occupied by one Family, it had been converted to offices before falling into disrepair. The present owner, a relative of the original owner bought the dilapidated building and took on the daunting task of restoring it to its former Colonial beauty, giving it a new lease of life as an Inn. In so doing, she took part of the space and converted it to fifteen bedrooms with high ceilings and wooden floors, added a bathroom to each one and furnished them in casual Ecuadorian antique style – no two are alike. She sought out expert and talented decorators from Ecuador including one of the best faux painters from Cuenca, a city known for its restorations, to create the correct aged effects on the walls of the Posada. As there are shops on the first (or ground) floor, an ornate iron gate was installed on street level, that is secured at night so no one can access the Posada. Guests need to ring the bell outside the gate, and the doorman will come dow, unlock the gate and let them in.
An impressive marble staircase was built leading to the second floor, which is the main entrance to the Posada.
A huge glass dome above what is now the main restaurant was installed to let in light and sunshine and there are another two restaurants, a bar and a Library.
The central large space is the restaurant and the rooms are arranged around it., a familiar floor plan that one sees in many Colonial Homes. The present owner and her daughter do not live “in house” but they are at the Posada every day, where they attend to business and take lunch in the Library, testing recipes and planning events that bring in revenue for the hotel. The main revenue of the hotel is the three restaurants and the bar that are busy both at lunch and dinner time. A set meal is served at lunchtime and the restaurants are packed. It is not a tourist magnet and not a word of English is heard – most of the dinner guests are locals. During my fairly lengthy stay, I only saw other live in guests on two occasions – for the rest of the time I was the only “house guest”.
Breakfast was served in the larger of the three restaurants. I would arrive for breakfast, sit down at the table – and most days I was the only person in this entire room. My “server” always greeted me with a glass of chilled fruit juice that was blended fresh each morning from one of the exotic local fruits. and this could be followed by whatever else I wanted – what a way to start the day. Very often there were special treats like a pastry the chef had served at dinner the previous evening that was saved for my breakfast. It was an extraordinary experience sitting in this grand room under the huge glass dome being treated like royalty.
While I was staying in the Posada, there were a number of receptions, weddings, local celebrations and Valentine’s Day which was the biggest celebration of all. Special decorative pieces were brought in to create a romantic ambience, fresh rose petals were strewn on the staircase and hearts and red roses appeared everywhere.
The kitchen was magnificent, with copper pots hanging above the stove and the chefs were working for a few days preparing the meal for a sell out crowd. That party went on late into the night as it included a concert with some well known performers.
My room was in the front of the building on the street side, with large windows that opened up to reveal the Penicillo Hill. with delicately painted houses clinging to the hillside and the Penicillo Statue in the distance. The Street was always busy, and I was ideally located on the second floor to watch the many processions and marching bands that passed through on their way to the Grand Plaza.
This was a wonderful place to get to know Quito, especially the Historic Center. I felt welcomed by these charming and hospitable people from the Posada. Their politeness knew no bounds, Each time I went up or down the stairs, one of them accompanied me. If I needed a taxi, they would be sure to make the call and wait with me until the taxi arrived. I was able to visit the historic landmarks at my leisure, or attend the changing of the Guard in the Plaza Grande by the Tarqui Grenadiers every Monday morning attended by the President and his entourage. It was all on my doorstep. This was my home away from home during the time I was in Quito – what a journey, what an experience this has been……………
Please note: There are two Posada Colonials in Quito. This one is special – don’t confuse it with the other one that is a hostel – not a hotel.