Calle Bolivar 12-55 y Tarqui, Cuenca, Ecuador
Mansion Alcazar is a boutique hotel in the midst of Cuenca's historical center. The best hotel in this vibrant college town serves up gourmet cuisine, elegant suites, ubiquitous flower bouquets and personalized attention.
Located on a central city block, Mansion Alcazar's colorful flags wave from the hotel's faÃ�Â§ade. A wrought iron balcony extends the length of the exterior. It provides a stunning first impression with its etched glass door and period exterior. Once inside this renovated 1870's mansion, you are immersed in an exquisite colonial world. Elegant furnishings, made in Cuenca, fill the guest living room that is open to the ceiling. A crystal chandelier dangles above a grand piano, antiques, cozy seating areas, and an alcove for coffee and tea. A lovely fountain, roses, and plants add to this sanctuary in the city.
The first floor also houses Le Bar, the reception area, guest rooms, Casa Alfonso restaurant, glass pavilion and lush garden. Stairs lead you to the second story with more guest rooms and suites, plus several impressive high-ceilinged public rooms. These are home to a library, Champagne lounge, TV room with big screen TV, and a computer alcove and more sitting areas for socializing.
Each of the 11 charming guest rooms and 3 suites are unique in dÃ�Â©cor and names, such as Sirena, Royal, Basilica, or Mirage. Scattered rose petals are strewn on comfortable beds covered with duvets in stripes, gold, or mauve. Several are four-post canopy beds. A desk, hutch, cable TV, and sitting area provide comfort. High ceilings, long drapes, and chandeliers add to the formal colonial ambiance. Nightly turndown service is a special touch in a hotel this size.
While all rooms and suites are desirable and each has a unique look, your best bet is one of the nine suites with a separate living area or the rooms overlooking the garden, especially room 202. Single rooms are cozy but small, so avoid these unless you're alone and looking for a lower rate fit for one. The five garden suites are the newest rooms in the hotel also, but the spacious Cielo Suite with murals is the top spot.
Spacious, Cuencan marble baths have showers and tubs. Amenities hit all the right notes, including soft towels, bathrobes, and deluxe toiletries. Laundry and room service are offered and Wi-Fi is gratis in the social areas.
Downstairs, Le Bar is an intimate gathering place with turn-of-the-century decor. Historical-subject paintings grace walls over the intimate groups of seating areas. Your bartender will have many suggestions of places to visit, and drinks to pour.
The Casa Alfonso dining area has pale-yellow tablecloths with lovely place settings, flowers, and candles on each private table. The reputed local chef prepares gourmet Ecuadorian and international cuisine, paired with an array of South American wines. Professional but friendly service is excellent in the restaurant, as it is throughout the rest of the hotel.
This boutique hotel's location in the historical section provides great walks to cathedrals, parks, museums, shops, modern and ancient art galleries with 14th and 15th century architecture. Since 2002, this UNESCO World Heritage site has been nicknamed by local tourism officials as the "Cultural Capital of the Americas."
Mansion Alcazar provides elegant comfort, savory cuisine and charming accommodations in the city. Whether you wish to relax or do business in luxury, walk through their flowered garden or out the door to explore the town. This is easily the best choice in town for attentive service and attention to detail.
Web Address: www.mansionalcazar.com
Total Number of Rooms: 24
Rates: $122 to $318
Review by Sandra Kennedy, updated 2012 by Timothy Scott