Sometimes, good things happen when you least expect it. Last night in Quito was such an event. Mike, Barry and I were on our way back home. Barry had to stay one night near the airport before leaving early Thursday morning. Mike and I had to kill about 6 hours before our midnight flight from Quito to Houston, then on to SFO.
We were picked up by a nice man named Pablo, and driven about 15 minutes away, eventually to a cobblestone driveway about a half mile long off of a main road. The automatic doors opened, and we pulled up to what looked like an old farmhouse, or hacienda. We were looking at each, thinking what the heck is going on?
Pablo took us to Barry’s room, and we arranged dinner there at the hotel for 7pm. Somewhere in those first few minutes, we realized this was no simple, old farmhouse. Barry’s room, along with three others, were built into what was once the horse barn for the ranch. We decided to take a look around.
Pablo asked us if we wanted a tour of the place. First, the farmhouse is no mere farmhouse, it is 9000 square meters large, and well over 300 years old. It was built and owned by a Spaniard, and his family. It turns out they had a cattle ranch on a mere 50,000 acres. When the Spaniards came to conquer the locals, his son, now an Army General, fought the Spanish troops. HIs other son was a priest.
The large farmhouse is used as both a hotel, with a total now of 8 rooms, and meetings rooms for small companies. There are numerous rooms yet to be fully completed. On the other hand, there is a modern kitchen off of the dining room. We also found a huge game room, with both billiards, fuss ball, Wurlitzer juke box, and numerous board games. The house also has a small chapel.
Pablo has four full-time employees on site. They live in the servants quarters apart from the main farmhouse. Pablo says, on average, he is lucky to get 4 hours of sleep each night, shuttling guests to and from the airport. The front and back yards are quite expansive, as weddings and parties are also held here. The only downside right now? The infrastructure around the new airport is running at least a year behind. There is not much to see or do in the immediate area. But forget about going all the way into downtown for a hotel. Stay here at the Su Merced instead!
While not all of the furnishing date back to the 1700s, Pablo and his partners must have enjoyed shopping for the great antiques and art that fill the rooms. I cannot tell you what a pleasant surprise this entire visit became. Sadly, around 10pm, Mike and I had to leave for the Quito airport. Barry got to spend the night.
Address: Julio Tobar Donoso | 700 m from main road to Puembo, Puembo EC170179, Ecuador (difficult to find, but well worth the effort).