Hotel Los Alpes is my favorite hotel in Quito. A friend always jokingly says I stay there because it is close to the United States Embassy. Really, the service is excellent, it is centrally located, in a fairly safe area, and it is in the same neighborhood as the school where I took Spanish lessons two years ago. In January 2005, I attended the Simon Bolivar Spanish School for three and half weeks and lived with an Ecuadorian family nearby, so I am familiar with the Mariscal neighborhood. Two blocks away from the hotel is the Escovia bus system. For 25 cents you can travel almost anywhere in the city.
The hotel is owned by the Facchinei family. Most of the people working at the hotel have been employed there for many years. The other day one of the housekeepers told me she started working at the hotel when it opened twenty-six years ago. Everyone is always welcoming, helpful and friendly. When I arrived in July 2006, I was unable to collect one of my suitcases. Due to an unannounced American Airlines embargo, I had to ship one suitcase via a UPS Store cargo service. For some reason, the UPS Store filled out a new form and put a different name on my luggage, so I was not able to pick it up in Quito in time for my Galapagos flight. The hotel arranged for one of their taxi drivers to complete the paperwork I had begun at the airport and then he shipped the suitcase to Galapagos. Needless to say, I greatly appreciated their concerted effort.
Hotel Los Alpes is located several blocks from a variety of restaurants, galleries and my favorite bookstore, Libri Mundi. This bookstore has a large selection of books in a number of languages. There are many restaurants in the Mariscal area that cater to North Americans and Europeans. Some of the more delicious and authentic food can be found only a block or two away at the small cafes, where you can get almuerzo for just $1.50 or $2.50. Almuerzo is a fixed lunch, which means there is generally no choice. It includes a glass of juice, soup as an appetizer, the main course (usually rice, potatoes, a small salad and meat or fish) and a dessert. Most of the time it is just right. There is always the choice of ordering a la carte for a higher price.
The South American Explorers Club office is a couple blocks away from the hotel. This organization is an excellent South American travel resource. There are many advantages to becoming a member, including having mail delivered to their office and being able to leave luggage with them while you visit other parts of the country.
There are many parks, museums and cultural activities within a fifteen minute walk or bus ride from Hotel Los Alpes. On weekends, Elijido Park always has artists displaying their work and artisans selling their crafts. Near the Park is the Central Bank Museum, which is known for its archaeological collection. Both are just a five minute walk from my favorite hotel in Quito.