Parque Historico de Guayaquil, Av. Los Arcos s/n y Malta, Guayaquil, Guayas, Ecuador
A historic 5-star lodging option takes top billing as Guayaquil's first luxury boutique hotel. Set amidst lush park greenery, experience a tropical oasis in the heart of the city.
Hotel del Parque is Guayaquil's first 5-star luxury boutique property. Opened in 2017, the hotel is surrounded by tropical greenery and features an orchid garden in the interior courtyard. Conveniently located, the garden oasis is only 15 minutes from the international airport.
We arrived at the international airport in Guayaquil, Ecuador after experiencing an expeditionary Galapagos cruise with the Ecuadorian company Ecoventura. I was joined by my newly-minted Ph.D. son and his charming wife, a journalist. Still reeling from the excitement of the unique wildlife we saw up close and personal over the last week, we were looking forward to a day of rest at Hotel del Parque, where we would be catching flights back to the states the next day.
After collecting our luggage, we spotted the sign with our name. I always appreciate when airport transfers to the hotel and return are included, as it provides a level of security when arrangements are pre-made vice catching a random taxi. Our driver took us through an upscale part of town, Guayaquil's exclusive Samborondon neighborhood, with high-end retail shopping sprouting on every street corner it seemed. Moments later, we arrive in a verdant, park setting with a chorus of birds chirping melodically in the background.
At first glance, Hotel del Parque is an understated clapboard wooden building constructed back in 1891. However, the charm is inherent in its natural simplicity, as the elegance lies behind the glass doors.
Today, Hotel del Parque offers 44 well-appointed guestrooms and suites that reflect the best of old and new in a spaciously luxurious setting. It is Ecuadorian elegance at its best, with attention to detail and fine touches that lavish luxury while providing comfortable sophistication in a nature-like environment. Nice to know that the property is 100% smoke-free and takes pride in offering 24-hour room service.
The check-in was friendly and yet efficient in a warm way. Both the receptionist and the bellman made sure I knew their first name and that I could contact them any time during my stay.
My room was located on the first floor of the two-story historical building, with an active church and bell tower next door. A deluxe signature king, it was representative of other deluxe rooms that range from 398-484 sq. feet. The room was spacious, while the marbled bathroom and rain head shower were cavernous. All rooms are an eclectic yet refreshing blend of antique and modern furniture, with a color scheme of muted yellow, tones of beige, as well as gray. The hotel has a saying: "Hotel del Parque is where the past meets the present, nature meets comfort, and service meets passion."
The plush king-size bed is adorned with premium linens, while the bathroom offers luxury scented Ecuadorian toiletries, and amenities such as bathrobes and slippers. Rooms also include a 58" smart TV, minibar, safety deposit box, plus complimentary coffee and tea with a French press and water kettle. Hypoallergenic bedding is available on request.
A special welcome gift of lemonade, sparkling water, and chocolates awaited me at the table for two. Later, after turn-down service, I would find two treats of at my night table. Looking like French macarons but instead Latin American treats known as alfajores, they harbored a sweet yet muted caramel-like filling inside. Wireless internet is free to guests throughout the hotel. Housekeeping service is provided twice daily. Most direct booking packages include breakfast and airport transfer.
Whatever your itinerary, you would be remiss if you don't save time to experience the signature afternoon tea provided by Hotel del Parque. This is truly a highlight of any stay. Ask for the complimentary afternoon tea and coffee to be served in the hotel's orchid garden. In this luscious setting, you have a choice of tea or coffee (I chose cappuccino). Complementing this is a two-tiered server of sandwiches and sweets. The 24-hour reading room sets out complimentary coffee, juice, baked cookies, and pastries.
After tea, the three of us went for a quick walk in the surrounding park. The Parque Historico Guayaquil is a riverfront tropical part on the banks of the Daule River, with unique Ecuadorian culinary, cultural and nature experiences available. An artisanal coffee roasting and chocolate processing experience offers unique insights to Ecuadorian products. There is also an introduction to the healing herbs of Ecuador.
But it's the nature trails and more than 50 species of birds and wildlife defined by three distinct ecosystems that is the draw. From parrots, toucans, and endangered harpy eagles to ocelots, sloths, spider monkeys, and coastal crocodiles, it showcases some of Ecuador's wild side. While the park is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., guests of Hotel del Parque have access 24 hours a day. That translates into exclusive access on Mondays and Tuesdays, as well since the park is closed to the public then.
Ecuadorian fine dining is available at nearby Casa Julián Restaurant or at the hotel's interior courtyard restaurant El Jardin Botanic Café. El Jardin offers a casual but limited menu of appetizers, salads, entrée specials, baked goods and coffee. We ordered a soup, salad, and quesadilla special as we were tired and not that hungry. We found the food to be tasty but the service slow, despite only one other table being served.
Unfortunately, sound proofing could be improved as I overhead loud chatter in the courtyard from several families with pre-teens running around. This was a problem because I had a 2:15 a.m. alarm for my early morning flight back home. I reached for my earplugs. I was pleasantly surprised to find the breakfast buffet station open at three in the morning, decked out with fresh fruits, cheeses, yogurt, cereals, breads, eggs, bacon, and sausage. I guess it's part of that 24-hour service motto the hotel is known for.
Hotel del Parque is the latest addition to the parent company, Oro Verde Hotels. Known for luxury service, culinary excellence and convenient locations, the brand has six hotels with properties in Cuenca, Guayaquil, Manta, and Machala.
Web Address: HotelParqueHistorico.com
Total Number of Rooms: 44
Published rates: $259 to $1,213 plus taxes and mandatory 10% service charge
Review and photos by Karin Leperi.