9 de Octubre 414 y García Moreno, Guayaquil, Ecuador
The Oro Verde is the grande dame of Guayaquil's five–star hotels, Ecuador's only member of The Leading Hotels of the World club and the best hotel in the center of the action.
Oro Verde occupies an excellent location on the city's most important avenue, Avenida 9 de Octubre, with a commensurately elegant entrance manned by numerous smiling and courteous bell–hops. This attention to guests is maintained throughout the property, with a first–class concierge service and feeling that no request is too great for the staff. The hotel might not be a spring chicken, but it has maintained its position as the downtown hotel of choice, has won numerous awards, and is constantly being updated.
The Oro Verde's standard rooms have all been renovated within the last two years. The executive floor rooms are yet to get a nip and tuck, but they should be completed by 2009. This floor offers its own breakfast buffet area, a free bar open from 5 to 7 pm and free use of computers, as well as wireless internet included in the price. The rooms are suite–sized with sofa–beds in a lounge area and dining tables for four. Extras include slippers, robes, irons and ironing boards. Standard rooms are slick and neutral, with ample storage, big beds, TVs, desks, phones and well–stocked minibars. None of the standard or executive rooms will bowl you over with design touches or CD–DVD equipment, but they are comfortable and spotless. However, they don't come with complimentary bottles of water which is unforgivably tight–fisted of the management, and, incomprehensibly, the bathroom seats in the standard rooms are of cheap plastic and decidedly sub–standard for a five–star hotel.
Facilities at the hotel are pretty comprehensive. There's a useful business centre for last–minute printing, a good souvenir boutique, and a beauty salon. For recreation, there's an attractive pool area with some sun–loungers for relaxing. Be warned, the pool is only five feet deep, but it's about acceptable for doing some morning lengths. The gym is extensive, supervised and up–to–date, while the sauna, Turkish bath and Jacuzzi facilities could do with a renovating touch sometime soon. The rooms that give onto the inner patio are the quietest in the hotel, but the ones that look out onto Avenida 9 de Octubre are more fun and still sound–proof.
The hotel's restaurants and bars are all located on the ground floor. Off to the right of the main entrance you find the trendy café and deli which serves a range of delicious sandwiches, sweets and good coffee. Tucked further back from the street come the hotel's wonderful bar, which strikes the perfect balance of luxurious leather sofas and dark–wood furnishings, with a big bar at the far end. Service is exemplary here, as it is at the hotel's two restaurants next door: Le Gourmet Restaurant and El Patio. The former has a contemporary feel with bold colors and slick finishing, serving huge breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets as well as an à la carte menu at lunch and dinner. Le Gourmet is more traditional and subdued, regarded as the city's top French restaurants, serving Pacific fish and meat dishes with flair. There's also a Swiss offering, La Fondue, round by the boutique, which is pine–paneled but not hugely appealing.
Situated downtown, a mere 10–minute walk from the striking Malecón 2000 riverfront development and close to the city's main tourist attractions, the Oro Verde ranks as Guayaquil's top luxury hotel for those who want to be close to the action.
Web Address: www.oroverdehotels.com
Total Number of Rooms: 242
Published rates: $240 to $360
Review by Dominic Hamilton, photos courtesy of Oro Verde.