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In Ecuador, around 2,500m (8,202ft) above sea level, the Unesco-listed city of Cuenca has a a wonderful colonial old town rich in history, architecture and culture. Pay a visit to the central plaza Parque Calderón, the 1557-built Iglesia del Sagrario and blue-domed Catedral Nueva. Then embrace more of the heritage by staying in one of these characterful boutique hotels, all bookable with Culture Trip.
Just a short walk from the old town, Hotel Victoria offers an eclectic mix of brick, dark-wood walls, storied staircases and sparkling chandeliers. Rooms are well appointed, with wood paneling on the walls and luxurious draped fabrics; suites include a spacious balcony with city views. Make a reservation at in-house restaurant El Jardín to dine on fresh, local ingredients.
With views of Río Tomebamba, a five-minute walk from Parque Calderón, Selina Cuenca is known for cool co-working spaces and stylish conversions. There are rooms to suit all budgets, from 10-person dorms to family-sized suites – all bright throughout, with vibrant splashes of color from rugs and alpaca blankets. Shared spaces include a wellness room, cinema, library and communal kitchen.
In the heart of the old town, and a short walk from Parque Calderón, Los Balcones is a carefully restored colonial home dating to the 18th century. Suites are grand and spacious with traditional decor and a balcony overlooking the interior courtyard. Breakfast is a tasty buffet. The restaurant serves Ecuadorian dishes such as ceviche.
Centrally located in the old town, Hotel Carvallo is filled with original features, such as carved wooden ceilings, that pay homage to the century-long history of the building. Rooms are well maintained and airy with stylish draped beds, antique rugs and freshly cut flowers. Go for the swish suites to up the period drama.
In the center of the old town, a short walk from the main square and Plaza de San Sebastián, Pepe’s House is a charming heritage house with original features such as wooden floorboards and doors. Rooms are cozy and well appointed. Breakfast includes home-produced jam and bread and complimentary organic coffee is available all day long.
A lovely restored colonial mansion, a five-minute walk from Río Tomebamba, Inca Real offers warm and cozy rooms around a mural-lined, plant-filled interior courtyard with a wooden balcony. A buffet breakfast is served in the courtyard.