Originally built in 1930 as a family home in the newer (at that time) part of Quito just north of the Old Town Center, Casa Joaquin has loads of history and character. The family run, colonial-era inn has been completely renovated, very well-done and tasteful. The decor is stylish, but not at all over the top; it’s mix of European tradition and contemporary trend works. The place is very comfortable and homey while achieving elegance at the same time. The hotel was named after the famous painter Joaquin Pinto (1842 – 1906), who lived in Quito and who is considered to have been the “Ecuadorian Da Vinci”.

It is also the perfect size, in my opinion. The original Ecuadorian wood and iron staircase leads to 13 brand-new, individually designed guest rooms, with furniture and decor by local artisans. Rooms are extremely tasteful and comfortable, with excellent European bathrooms. Each room is unique and has been named after an old drawing or art-reproduction the owners found in the house, left by the former inhabitant and dated from 1920-1940. There is also a full apartment in the back of the property, on ground level, with a bedroom, living room and full kitchen along with a private garden terrace. The apartment is perfect for long term stays of a week, several weeks or months.

Breakfast is a treat; along with the full European continental breakfast, each day guests are also served a specialty of the house that is fair-trade prepared. On our mornings we were treated to crepes, French toast and a savory pastry. A serious Italian espresso machine means that you can also order a wonderful, authentic cappuccino or espresso. Their secret? Two cooks who owned a famous gastronomic restaurant in Leuven, Belgium created Hotel Casa Joaquin – and they just can’t hide their love for fine food!

Adjacent to the dining room is a small, cozy bar that is a nice place to have a drink in the evening. The red phone-booth door to the WC closet (bathroom) is an unexpected, fun and quirky touch.

The staff is excellent – knowledgeable and helpful, while respecting your privacy and giving you as much or as little service as you desire.

The neighborhood, La Mariscal, is fun and lively. This is the less conservative, younger and more bohemian Quito neighborhood. All around Casa Joaquin are a wide choice of international restaurants and bars, particularly two blocks down where a corner plaza is a very happening spot in the evening, filled with street cafes, restaurants, and people walking around. Only a few blocks to the trolle system that will take you straight down into Old Town Quito, the location is easily accessible to other parts of the city as well.

All in all, Casa Joaquin offers everything you would want in a boutique hotel, and is the perfect affordable yet luxurious starting point for visiting the treasures of UNESCO World Heritage city, Quito.

Location: Joaquin Pinto E4 376 y Juan Leon Mera (Mariscal neighborhood)
Website: http://www.hotelcasajoaquin.com
Telephone: 593 2 2224 791

Room facilities:
superior rooms
gorgeous design
orthopedic mattresses, anti-mites treatment
private bathroom with shower, WC and hairdryer
flat screen cable TV
free wireless internet
safety deposit box
delightful breakfast included
bottled water
24 hour reception

Photos by Keith Hajovsky