Updated: Aug 10, 2019
Nestled in the beautiful Andean town of Cotacachi, La Cuadra Hotel and Café offers an abundant sense of family that is unique even amongst the friendly northern Ecuadorian culture. We stumbled upon La Cuadra through our neighbors and friends whom we meet for Spanish chat and writers group and we keep going back because we consider the owners and their family part of our family. Carmen Sarzosa and Jairo Gomez not only offer well-appointed rooms and a warm and friendly atmosphere, they offer a home away from home. So we wanted to offer you a peak into the most wonderful family and their charming hotel and café. They’ve done so much for us, we can only hope to repay their kindness with an honest review.
La Cuadra Hotel and Café is located in Cotacachi, Ecuador, on Calle Penaherrera, one half block from the central park, or Parque Matriz. The distinctive peach and burnt-orange colored building is somewhat understated from the outside, yet it has clear signage. The hotel and café have separate adjacent entrances as the café is not open every day. While the hotel is open 24/7/365, the café is only open Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 5pm. The hotel is operated by the family and limited staff. The family is in residence on the property, which is common practice for many small hoteliers in Ecuador.
The hotel offers a variety of rooms in all shapes in sizes each with comfortable beds, private bathrooms including hot water shower, sink and toilet. The decor and furniture are minimal but good quality.
The pricing is excellent and includes Free WiFi in the rooms and common areas. The noise level is a little bit high due to the hotel’s location at the center of town, however the rooms to the back are quieter than those facing the street. The hotel even has a large, stylish penthouse with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room with a flat screen television, dining room, kitchen, and even a washer and dryer! The views are amazing and the penthouse is spacious and comfortable. All guests have access to the hotel’s courtyard, library (upstairs in the café), meeting room (in between the hotel lobby and the café), and, of course, the café.
The café offers delicious homemade breakfasts. We’ve had lunch too! Just like we made it ourselves. Think of comfort food in the US but with an Ecuadorian flare. And the drinks are out of this world. Everyone raves that Carmen’s hot chocolate is the best they’ve ever tasted (including me – and I’m a fussy hot chocolate lover). My husband can’t get enough mochaccinos and cappuccinos, and Carmen makes her own coffee ice cream for the frappes. I think it’s the best ice cream I’ve had in Ecuador and it’s close to rivaling Ben & Jerry’s (in my humble opinion).
Now that we’ve got some of the details out of the way, we’re going to share their story with you. They are a special family. And they treat you as part of their family. It’s refreshing.
by Carmen Sarzosa and edited by Lynn Herkes
"Definitely, as this phrase says, our hotel has become a home for the majority, if not for all the guests who visit us in our “home”. From the beginning, about 10 years ago, we started as a small hostel for people who came to visit our beautiful Cotacachi.
My husband, Jairo, had returned to Ecuador after having lived 20 years in the US and fulfilling several dreams. However, Jairo still felt a large void upon returning to his country. He was missing something very important in his life which pushed him start a family and create a small business of his own. So together, we searched and found this unique small hostel. Ten years later, after several remodels, our small hostel has grown into a beautiful hotel and café. It is operated by our family: Jairo and myself; our 3 beautiful daughters, Sheccid, Rebecca and Alicia; and our collaborator and all around incredible person, Bertitha, who is also an amazing warrior and cancer survivor.
We strive to treat each guest as a special family member and care for every detail so they have the best experience. Our family is ready and willing to help with any need, concern, doubt or question. When our guests depart, we feel sadness for them and for us, because if they have felt “at home”, then they have become part of our family, part of our home. I remind guests when they depart, “Remember that this is your home."