Avenida Francisco Orellana Manzana 111, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Guayaquil is not known as a hotspot for luxury hotel accommodations. But travelers in the mood for good service, extensive amenities and a variety of interesting on-site dining options will find lots to like at the Hilton Colon Guayaquil.
With 294 rooms, the Hilton Colón is Guayaquil's largest hotel, and with the city's largest hotel meeting and event space. These factors, combined with the property's convenient location near the airport and several large office complexes, make it a logical top choice for business travelers. It's not necessarily the most convenient for leisure travelers looking to be close to the city center and major attractions, however, and it's not an easy walk to off-site dining or entertainment venues. The neighborhood is a rather sterile, business-minded spot without much local flavor, so many leisure guests here tend to be quick overnight ones on the way to or from the Galapagos Islands.
The property itself, however, has a decidedly comfortable ambiance, with lots of on-site amenities. The smell of fresh flowers—a major export for Ecuador—greets visitors walking into the glass-enclosed, atrium-style lobby, where space capsule-like glass elevators soar up 11 stories. Recent renovations have brought a fresh sheen to several areas of the hotel, especially in the Elements Spa. The spa is located on the lower level and offers a variety of treatments, as well as beauty salon services and a rather large whirlpool. The fitness center, which is free for guests to use, is small but well-equipped. Also refurbished is the top-level Executive Lounge, which features handsome wood accents and furnishings, as well as good views of the city. The smoking terrace on the same floor also provides good outdoor views.
Dining and entertainment options are surprisingly diverse. Closest to the lobby is the Atrium Bar, which serves drinks and snacks and hosts live music on some evenings. Cafe Colon, which specializes in expansive buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, is nearby. Passing through Cafe Colon (or walking outside), you'll arrive at Sal y Pimienta, a casual eatery—the hotel's most economical choice—with an upscale deli ambiance and an array of foods that range from packaged cheeses to pizzas, bratwurst, Cuban sandwiches and shawarmas. For a more trendy and stylish vibe, head to Vereda Tropical, which features a variety of steaks and seafood dishes and overlooks the pool. Next door is Portofino, a restaurant specializing in northern Italian and other international delicacies, as well as wine from the Americas and beyond.
Travelers with a retail itch can head to Galería Colón, a compact and luxurious shopping arcade attached to the lobby, which is home to posh retailers including Montblanc, Bvlgari, and Cartier, as well as a conveniently located Avianca ticket office and Kioto Sushi Bar for Japanese cuisine. For more mid-market purchases and dining, Mall del Sol—by some measures the largest shopping center in Guayaquil—is about 15 minutes by foot or five minutes by taxi.
The Hilton Colon's outdoor swimming pool is one of the property's most attractive attributes, serving as a welcome landscaped oasis—complete with swim-up bar—in the middle of what is otherwise a neighborhood rather deprived of natural beauty.
The hotel's mezzanine level is home to the bulk of the property's meeting and event space. The business center features a high ceiling and large expanses of glass windows that allow lots of natural light.
Standard guest rooms are of average proportion and have ample windows, and the bathroom features a sink area divided from the bathtub/shower and toilet. The usual upscale amenities—safe-deposit box, work desk, flat-screen TV and iron—are included, while the empty mini-fridge can come in handy for travelers looking to store their own refreshments. Opt for a room facing the pool for the best views.
Those with Hilton Hhonors status may be upgraded to the club floor and those who don't still may want to splurge for the upgrade to have access to the lounge. Two suite categories are more thand 1,000 square feet. The top choice overall is the Presidential Suite, which doubles the space again. It has two living rooms, a dining room, and a large whirlpool.
Service overall at the property is considered among the city's best; even room service is prompt, and features some Ecuadorean specialties (like locro de papa, a creamy potato soup, and humitas). Value-added elements like free airport shuttle (which operates every hour) and complimentary guest parking are additional pluses for what is one of Guayaquil's standout hotel properties.
Web Address: www.hilton.com/guayaquil
Total Number of Rooms: 294
Published rates: $101 - $1,059
Review and Photos by Mark Chesnut. Top photo by Hilton, others by Chesnut.