Where to Stay in Quito: The City’s BEST Luxury Hotel

Are you dreaming of a South American getaway to Ecuador’s capital city and wondering where to stay in Quito? Quito is a city that combines so much historical charm with modern luxury. It no doubt provides an array of hotel, hostel, and vacation rental options to choose from. However, picking the right property to be your home away from home can be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, I did all the research for you to make choosing where to stay in Quito a stress free choice!

First, a little about this amazing city. Perched at a cool 9,350 feet above sea level, Quito is the second highest city in the world behind La Paz, Bolivia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a living testament to the complex beauty of Ecuadorian culture.

top sites in Quito Ecuador

This vibrant metropolis sits right on the equator in the Andean Mountain region. Because of this, it provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those who visit. From the bustling streets to the spectacular surrounding mountain views, Quito will leave you hooked (it totally did me!).

Getting to Quito from the United States is relatively easy. There are direct flights into Quito and the city of Guayaquil on American Airlines, Delta, LATAM, and United Airlines. These routes depart from the Atlanta (ATL), Houston (IAH), and Miami airports (both FLL and MIA). I found a special flight deal through my Pro membership with WayAway (you can get 10 percent off the annual fee!) You can also monitor flight trends on Skyscanner and Expedia to anticipate when flight prices might drop to get better deals.

For those with adventurous spirits, Quito also serves as a gateway to the famous Galapagos Islands. Most travelers access the islands via Quito, making the city a common starting point for most Galapagos adventures. I’ll get to this more in a separate blog post later on!

Quito is home to hundreds of top-rated hotels, hostels, and vacation rentals. In fact, many of these properties rank among some of the best in South America. A few of the best neighborhoods to stay in include the vibrant Historic Centre, La Mariscal, and La Carolina Park area. For the purposes of  this blog post, I will specifically discuss the 5-star luxury boutique hotel, ILLA Experience Hotel. Meaning “Sacred Light” and “Good Venture”, ILLA has revolutionized the hospitality industry in Ecuador in recent years.

best luxury hotels in Quito’s historical centre

Now that I have basically convinced you to book an Ecuadorian vacation this year, the next step is to talk more about exactly where to stay in Quito for a stress-free trip. I’ll  tell you all about the hidden gem of ILLA Experience Hotel, conveniently in the heart of Ecuador’s capital city. This luxury hotel seamlessly blends modern luxury and unparalleled hospitality to make for an unforgettable stay. Whether you’re in town for business or leisure, the ILLA Experience Hotel guarantees a stay that is far from ordinary.

In the post below, I explain all the details on the hotel’s fantastic services and unique amenities that await when you decide to make the ILLA Experience Hotel your home away from home. Trust me when I say that you will immediately want to book your flights to Quito after reading!

There are endless reasons why booking a stay at one of South America’s best luxury hotels is a great idea during a trip to Ecuador. The historic property has become a permanent fixture  of Quito, a cultural hotspot that has won countless awards from TripAdvisor, National Geographic, Travvy, and TIME Magazine, and more. Continue reading below to learn more about this stunning hotel and why it’s one of the best places to stay in Quito!  

1. A Blend of History and Modernity

Nestled in the San Marcos neighborhood, its location offers great views and a glimpse into Quito’s vibrant past. Surrounded by beautiful tourist attractions, the building itself is a renovated colonial mansion. The hotel property traces its origins back to the 1700s. Much care has been taken to preserve the authenticity of the mansion while still infusing it with contemporary luxuries. 

As soon as I stepped into the hotel, I was instantly transported to different eras in Quito’s history. The hotel spans three floors, each boasting a distinct historical concept. These include the Colonial Floor, the Republican Floor, and the Contemporary Floor. The decor of each floor is dedicated to a distinct period, thoughtfully reflecting its corresponding era. 

best luxury hotels in Quito Ecuador

Traditional Ecuadorian craftsmanship is showcased throughout the hotel, blending seamlessly with modern amenities. Whether it’s the authentic art pieces adorning the walls or the restored colonial architecture, the hotel embodies the spirit of Quito, offering guests an immersive cultural journey. It’s this thoughtful blend of past and present that sets the ILLA Experience Hotel apart, making it a perfect place to rest, but a portal into the heart and soul of this South American country.

This, in addition to incredible on-site dining experiences, daily activities led by local artists, and its location close to the Centro histórico makes it one of the best places to stay in Quito.

2. Unmatched Views of Quito’s Breathtaking Cityscape

The spectacular views offered at the ILLA Experience Hotel are truly unbeatable. Both the hotel’s rooftop terrace and rooms have sweeping panoramic views of Quito’s vibrant Old Town. From the property, you can also see the majestic Andes mountain range, and the iconic Virgin of El Panecillo statue. The sweeping cityscape, nestled amidst lush hills and against the backdrop of towering peaks, is truly a sight to behold.

However, as daylight fades, the city takes on a new charm. Quito’s city lights twinkle to create a vibrant canvas of colors. From the vantage point of the hotel’s rooftop, you can enjoy the cool evening breeze, watch the sunset paint the sky with hues of orange and purple, or marvel at the sparkling city. 

best view of Quito Ecuador from ILLA Experience Hotel

The rooftop terrace is the ideal place to unwind after a day of exploring. Grab a cocktail in your hand and enjoy a delectable meal enjoyed alfresco. Each moment spent on the terrace showcases the serene beauty of Quito’s cityscape. It really makes a stay at the ILLA Experience Hotel an unforgettable journey of relaxation.

The Illa Experience Hotel goes the extra mile to connect its guests with the vibrant local culture of Quito. The property acts as a gateway for immersive experiences. During my stay, I loved engaging with local vendors to participate in watercolor painting activities and an ice cream making class. It’s the right place to stay if combining history with local traditions and luxury is what you desire.

3. Gastronomic Luxury at INES Restaurant

You can experience the flavors of traditional Ecuadorian cuisine without leaving the ILLA Experience Hotel. Within the confines of the hotel, is INES Restaurant, under supervision of Chef Juan Carlos Donoso. This local restaurant blends the best of Ecuadorian flavors, and celebrates the diversity of Ecuador’s gastronomy. Each dish is thoughtfully created, blending traditional recipes with innovative culinary techniques from Chef Donoso’s childhood.

The kitchen uses only the freshest local ingredients so diners can truly connect with Ecuador’s rich culinary history. I was lucky enough to enjoy a stunning 9-course meal during my stay at ILLA Experience Hotel. From the first taste of the amuse-bouche to the lingering sweetness of the dessert, INES provided a journey through Latin America. Course by course, I was introduced to the creativity and complexity of Ecuadorian cuisine.

My personal favorites were the traditional Ecuadorian Tonga (sticky rice with shredded duck), Paiche fish with Manioc (cassava bread), and chocolate mousse with carmelized corn. The dishes were paired with wines from Guayas, Ecuador, along with wines from neighboring Peru and Chile. 

Additionally, ILLA serves free breakfast at INES each morning. This amenity is available to all guests and makes starting a busy travel day so much easier! A small buffet spread features local fruits, breads, cereal, and cheeses. The menu features homemade cheese empanadas, pancakes with eggs and bacon, and homemade bagels with cream cheese, salmon, and pickled onions. The morning beverages include coca tea (this is so helpful in preventing altitude sickness!), coffee, and fresh orange, strawberry, and passion fruit juices. 

where to stay in Quito ILLA Experience Hotel breakfast

4. Top-Tier Customer Service and Luxury Amenities

Showcasing true Ecuadorian hospitality, the ILLA Experience Hotel takes service and luxury to new heights. The hotel commits to creating an exceptional guest experience in every detail. From the staff’s personalized attention to the free Wi-Fi, comfortable rooms, outdoor pool, and luxury amenities, it’s a great way to live like the locals.

Each room at ILLA is luxurious from all aspects. Imagine unwinding in your private jacuzzi tub after a day of sightseeing, or indulging in an array of services at the opulent in-house spa. For those who prefer quiet evenings in, the private rooms come equipped with free wifi, cable TV, and a well-stocked minibar. 

The rooms include modern amenities as well, such as a desk for late-night scribbles, a flat-screen TV for down time, and a private bathroom with fresh linens and towels. Did I mention the safety deposit box? Well, they offer one of those too. Additionally, there is a full wardrobe in every room so you can unpack and feel right at home. My personal favorite in-room amenities were the rainforest shower head and the endless amounts of coffee and coca tea to keep me hydrated!

The ILLA staff is always mindful of the needs of each guest, and are ready to assist. Whether it’s helping with restaurant reservations, providing recommendations for a day out on the city, calling for a cab, or planning a special day trip, the staff is eager to help create beautiful moments. For example, during my time at the hotel, the altitude really started to impact me on the third day. The hotel staff had oxygen tanks on hand and gave me a full oxygen therapy treatment before I left for the airport. They truly go above and beyond!

5. Convenient Location Near Popular Quito Attractions

By now, you can probably understand why ILLA Experience Hotel stands out as one of the best places to stay in Quito. Out of the nearly 1000 hotels in the city, it’s a truly ideal place to call home for your urban explorations. This prime position offers convenient access to Quito Old Town, and is just a short walk to quaint plazas, and bustling markets.

Majestic churches, fascinating museums, striking views of the Andes Mountains, and vibrant historic sites will be at your walking distance. Figuring out where to stay in Quito might be stressful, the decision is easy (or at least I hope it is after reading this blog!)

6. Exclusive Art and Cultural Experiences

A distinguishing aspect of the ILLA Experience Hotel is its dedication to showcasing Ecuadorian culture and art. Guests can enjoy one-of-a-kind cultural activities that offer them a chance to immerse themselves in the local heritage. You can participate in a local cooking class of Ecuadorian delicacies, or an artisanal chocolate tasting session. If you’re into art, you can even participate in a watercolor painting class. All of these activities are led by local talent and artists.

My personal favorite in-hotel experience was the traditional Ecuadorian ice cream making class. I briefly talked about the significance before, but ice cream holds a special place in Ecuador’s culinary heart. ILLA brought in a local artist to walk me through the process step by step, followed by a tasting of passion fruit and blackberry ice creams (the best part!). Later that evening, the hotel also planned a wine and spirit tasting session, where I sampled Guaro, a popular Ecuadorian liqueur and champagne.

When staying at the ILLA Experience Hotel, you’re in for a treat with plenty of exciting activities nearby. You can embark on a day of exploration with help from ILLA’s staff  to connect with local creators and their exquisite crafts. Here are some great nearby experiences below: 

Learn about Ecuadorian Chocolate Making

Chocolate making is a great thing to do there. Unleash your inner chocolatier at Pacari, where you can make truffle chocolates from scratch. You’ll mix ingredients by hand, choose from all natural flavors, and roll your personalized truffles. Explore a variety of other chocolate treats including Ecuadorian chocolate bars and other delectable products at reasonable prices.

Indulge in Traditional Ecuadorian Ice Cream (Helado de Paila)

Indulge your sweet tooth at Heladería Dulce Placer. This famous ice cream shop offers quirky flavors like the humorously named “Caca de Pero” (Dog S^*t). Other popular flavors include blackberry, mango, passion fruit, and tamarind. At some heladerías, you can also find a local delicacy: vanilla ice cream with shredded cheese on top (queso helado). Don’t knock it until you try it!

If you prefer a heartier food experience, there are dozens of reputable cultural food tours that you can book to dig into Quito’s culinary scene!

Ice cream is the national dessert of Ecuador and plays a special role in the country’s culture. You can’t leave Quito without trying the best!

Visit a Local Woodworker

Discover the artistry of local woodworkers like the legendary Jorge Rivadeneira Granda. An owner of a woodworking storefront in Quito’s historical center, he has been making traditional Ecuadorian spin top toys for more than 50 years. In fact, he is one of the last artisans in the capital city to tell them. You can find other woodworkers throughout the city. These artists make wooden 3D puzzle pieces, boxes, blocks, and cars. Some shops even allow a hands on experience, were you can practice woodworking with your own hands.

While staying at the ILLA Experience Hotel in Quito, I had to get out and explore nearby attractions. I highly recommend the activities and sites below as they are all within walking distance or a short Uber ride.

Puente Del Guambra Food Market

Puente Del Guambra Food Market is a vibrant culinary hub in Quito, Ecuador. It’s a popular stop on local street food tours and offers an immersive experience of local flavors and traditional delights. It’s only 1 kilometer from the ILLA Experience Hotel, so it’s a popular spot for guests. Here, the lively atmosphere and diverse array of fresh produce are a shock to the senses, providing a unique opportunity to savor the authentic tastes of Ecuador while exploring the vibrant cultural tapestry that defines the city.

Mercado Santa Clara

Positioned between Quito’s Centro Historico and the best northern area, Mercado Santa Clara stands as a fantastic local market. Not only is it another essential stop on many street food tour itineraries, it offer a culinary journey through the city’s flavors, it unveils the authentic daily life of Quitenos. Here, they shop for essentials, local delicacies, fresh fruit, and delightful snacks. Don’t pass up trying babaco, a sweet treat that is a hybrid papaya. This bustling market not only satisfies your taste buds but also provides a genuine glimpse into the vibrant rhythm of Quito.

Palacio Municipal de Quito

This palace is right across from the Plaza de la Independencia and the Palacio de Gobierno. Built in the late seventies, inside there are three awesome murals by the Ecuadorian naif painter Gonzalo Endara Crow. One’s all about Quito, and the other two are all about Ecuador. The ground floor depicts the story of the Plaza de la Independencia. Its prime location in the colonial part of the city and its significance as the seat of local government make it a top attraction for tourists.

Basilica del Voto Nacional

The Basilica del Voto Nacional is a majestic architectural gem situated in the city center. This iconic landmark stands as a testament to both Gothic and Neogothic styles. It boasts intricate details and towering spires that grace the city’s skyline. Built to commemorate the sacred vow of the Ecuadorian people, the basilica is a place of worship and a symbol of national pride.

Located approximately 2.5 kilometers from the ILLA Experience Hotel, this iconic landmark stands adorned with intricate sculptures and indigenous-inspired gargoyles. Visitors can ascend its towers for breathtaking views, making it a must-see destination for those exploring the rich cultures of Quito!

Catedral de Metropolitan de Quito

The Catedral de Metropolitan de Quito, a grand cathedral in Ecuador’s capital, showcases stunning architecture and rich religious history. Located just 1.5 kilometers from the ILLA Experience Hotel, this iconic landmark invites visitors to explore its sacred halls and immerse themselves in Quito’s spiritual heritage. With its proximity to the hotel, guests can easily include this cultural gem in their itinerary, delving into the cultural and historical richness that defines Quito’s cityscape.

The best areas of Quito are adorned with chic bars, upscale restaurants, and fashionable boutiques. As a guest of ILLA Experience Hotel, these areas are easily accessible! The hotel’s central location not only enriches your stay, but eases travel stress, eliminating the hassle of long commutes so you can maximizing your time in the city. 

Whether you prefer to call a cab or reserve an Uber, both are easily accessible from anywhere in the city. If needed, the ILLA hotel is more than happy to arrange a ride for guests.

As if you need any more convincing to book a stay at ILLA Experience Hotel, it was one of the most memorable hotel experiences I have ever had. Imagine stepping into a historic colonial building, beautifully restored with a nod to the past but loaded with all the modern luxuries you could want. At its core, the ILLA Experience Hotel stands as the perfect choice when deciding where to stay in Quito.

From comfy and spacious rooms to easy access to local restaurants and Old Town Quito, ILLA Experience Hotel is a great accommodation option. The hotel perfectly blends luxury and an authentic local experience. The staff is like your personal concierge, ready to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The location makes taking public transportation and exploring cultural attractions a breeze. It’s become a permanent fixture of Quito, a cultural hotspot that has won countless awards. There’s a reason it was previously titled the Best Hotel in South America!

If you still find yourself wondering where to stay in Quito, I hope you wonder no more. The ILLA Experience Hotel is where history, luxury, unity, and stories of love collide. It’s not just a hotel; it is truly a local experience. You’ll surely fall in love with Quito in the best way possible — I know I did!

This post was created in collaboration with ILLA Experience Hotel who hosted me for a 3 day stay during my time in Quito. All opinions and recommendations in this post are my own.

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- Tennessee Aquarium @tennesseeaquarium. Home to more than 12,000 animals representing close to 800 species, it features two sections (Ocean and River) and is one of the largest aquariums in the U.S.
- 1885 Grill @1885grillstelmo. This southern coastal restaurant specializes in fresh seafood, high quality steaks, and comforting soul food. Order their wings with Carolina Gold BBQ!
- Rock City Gardens @seerockcity. Located on Lookout Mountain, Rock City Gardens features a 4,100-foot Enchanted Trail with incredible rock formations, magical caves, native plant species, waterfalls, and a panoramic view of Seven States!
- Massey’s Kitchen @masseyskitchenlookout. This Mediterranean inspired restaurant just opened in June and is Chattanooga’s new hot spot. The food is incredible and their outdoor patio is perfect for dining al fresco. Order the baked feta 🤤
- The Read House Hotel @readhousehotel. This historic jazz era hotel from the 1870’s has hosted famous people including Oprah, Winston Churchill, Walt Disney, and Elvis Presley. It’s even rumored to have a permanent guest — a ghost in room 311!

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If you’re looking for the perfect end of summer U.S. vacation destination, Chattanooga, Tennessee is it. @visitchatt 🇺🇸 

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Welcome to one of the most underrated southern cities in the U.S.: @visitchatt! 

While most travelers flock to Music City year after year, just a couple hours drive southeast you’ll find a true gem hidden in the lively city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

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✧ MoonPies were invented here! These graham cracker marshmallow sandwiches are covered entirely in melted chocolate and are so delicious.

✧ It’s home to the Incline Railway, one of the steepest passenger railway lines in the world!

✧ Chattanooga boasts one of the largest collections of American art in the country at the Hunter Museum. 

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Food and travel are intertwined. Almost any memorable journey starts (and ends) with a great meal, and my trip to Cartagena was no exception 🇨🇴 

Cartagena has just about any type of cuisine a traveler could want or imagine. From local delicacies to unique international fare, during our stay at @dreamsresorts Karibana Cartagena, we were able to taste foods from all over the world at each of their five on-site restaurants. From the freshest local seafood to freshly baked pastries, it was an amazing experience!

Everything we ate was absolutely delicious, but my favorites are below:

• Fried fish (pescado frito)
• Caramelized banana pancakes
• Torta de Tres leches
• Coconut rice
• Coconut fish soup (sancocho de pescado con coco)
• Colombian style arepas (with quesito Colombiano)
• Guava and cheese pastries (Pastel Gloria)
• Oyster au Gratin
• Seafood risotto with truffle smoke
• Pasta alla Ruota (pasta in a cheese wheel)
• Copoazú ice cream (white chocolate)
• Chicken pasteles
• Colombian empanadas 

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