Quito’s colonial quarter is less than an hour’s drive ($20-30 in taxi) from its new out-of-town airport, so it makes sense to drop by, even if you only have a morning or afternoon to spare. Most visitors will spend a night in Quito before flying onwards to the Galapagos, Amazon, Pacific coast or another Andes attraction — and there’s no better ambience than the cobbled streets and treasured architecture of the historic center.
Most Quito’s colonial hotels are based in original buildings, or are faithful reconstructions (Quito has endured powerful earthquakes) feature impressive open central courtyards, as was the tradition for wealthy Spanish settlers. This style is perfect for a series of guest rooms on multiple levels around a source of natural light, and for a restaurant bordered by large stone pillars and upper level balconies. But just as valuable are views of the vicinity.