by Sarah Shuckburgh
Outstanding service in an elegant colonial house in the centre of Cuenca.
Mansion Alcazar is a lovely hotel, hidden behind
impressively carved wooden doors on a pretty street with
Moorish balconies, latticed windows and overhanging eaves.
Guests ring the doorbell, and are invited in. The lofty
central courtyard of this old colonial house has a fountain
and a huge chandelier. There was a sudden downpour while we
were there, and water dripped through the glass roof on to
the tiled floor, but minions immediately appeared with mops
Beyond the courtyard is a tranquil garden with grass, palm
trees and more fountains. Upstairs, the drawing room
stretches right across the front of the house, with bevelled
glass in the windows, comfortable sofas and books.
The recently decorated bedrooms lead off the courtyard on
the ground floor and upstairs. Furnishings are sturdy and
sumptuous, and extremely comfortable. The weather was chilly
and wet during our visit, and in our room we found hot water
bottles and glasses of warming liqueur.
There seem to be few rooms with double beds - most are twin
- and some bedrooms looked quite dark, particularly those on
the ground floor.
Reasons to Come:
1. The service - warm flannels and cool fruit juice on
arrival, hot water bottles and grappa at bedtime, umbrellas
at the door, attendants hovering eagerly. Everything one
2. Perfect location - near the main square in the old
colonial centre of Cuenca.
3. Convenient base for visiting Cajas National Park, craft
markets in local villages, and museums and churches of
4. Panama hats are made in Cuenca, not in Panama - buy one
straight from a workshop.
Calle Bolivar 1255 y Tarqui
Telephone: 00593 7823 918
Fax: 00593 7823 554
First published by Travel Intelligence Ltd