When looking for a place to stay in Quito, we stumbled upon Casa Agua Canela. The price was right, the location was good and the room looked great. As always, I book directly through the hostel instead of a third party so the owners don’t have to pay any booking fees to the third party site.
Shortly after I requested a room, I heard back from David, one of the owners. He was very prompt at replying to my emails which I really appreciated. The hostel offers an airport shuttle for $25, the same price as a taxi. Since we were arriving at almost midnight, I requested the shuttle service as well. I wanted to get from the airport to our bed as easily as possible.
Shortly after we cleared customs, we were greeted by David. Since it was so late there was no traffic so we reached the hostel pretty quickly.
When David opened up our room we both felt a little confused. The pictures that we had seen of a beautiful 4 poster bed were not what we were seeing. It was late and we only committed to a 2 night stay so we thanked David and turned in for the night.
When we laid on the bed we were both impressed – the bed was a Tempurpedic. We previously had a Tempurpedic bed in Panama City and in both places we slept very well. I was somewhat confused why the mattress was so high quality and the rest of the room needed some work. That being said, it was probably the smartest investment that could have been made.
By the light of the day we noticed little things about the room that needed work:
- The makeshift closet had unfinished edges
- Paint on the wall was a single coat, you could tell it needed a second coat
- The comforter was well worn and needed a duvet cover or to be replaced
- Furniture was dated and could use some updating
At the end of the day, we had to put into perspective that we were only paying $24 per night, less than half of our budget for accommodations.
The bathroom was comically small. The shower barely gave us enough room to shampoo our hair without hitting the walls with our elbows. I didn’t even attempt to try and shave my legs as that would have been nearly impossible.
The shower was a suicide shower which I have come to appreciate as they are guaranteed hot water. In order to get the water to a temperature which was hot enough it was a mere trickle. While this is better than a cold shower, it made getting the shampoo out of my hair a little challenging.
The toilet paper was the highly recycled variety. While I care about the environment, it was recycled to the point that when it got wet it started to disintegrate – not a good trait for something like toilet paper.
I found it quite odd that there was no soap in the bathroom. This was the first hostel that we stayed in where we didn’t have soap included in our room rate. We had to use our body wash to wash our hands.
There was a shared kitchen in the hostel. It was one of the dirtier shared kitchens that we have seen to date. While the bowls/spoons that we used to eat our cereal were clean, there was a need to deep clean the kitchen. The fridge was packed, likely with old food from guests long gone pushed to the rear, grease splatters on the stove and the floor in need of a mopping. All of the things that need to be done are easy, they just require some elbow grease.
There is a common outdoor area which is covered, perfect for Quito’s rainy afternoons. This was frequented by smokers and was right outside of our room. Whenever anyone was sitting and chatting or smoking, it felt like they were sitting inside our room.
I’m sure that other rooms which are further from the common area don’t have the same problem. It was a slight annoyance for us, especially when a large group was pre-drinking and quite loud before they went out.
For 75 cents a pound, we got our laundry washed, dried and folded. While this may seem like a deal to everyone back in the states, as far as laundry goes, this is quite expensive. We did the bare minimum that we could which totaled $6. We figured that when we could pay per load or the more standard $1 per kilo, we would wash everything else that needed to be washed.
In hindsight we probably should have gotten more done. Laundry services can be hit or miss, depending on the type of laundry detergent and type of washer that is used. Whatever Casa Agua Canela used to wash our clothes, worked really well and removed stains that we had.
This might not be an amenity to most people, but it was to me. The owners had a cat which was super friendly. He wasn’t out in the common area often but the 2 times I saw him over our stay he was super friendly. Other guests also liked the cat, calling him over and petting him.
The location is more in a local part of town as opposed to a main tourist street. This was a non-issue for us as the hostel was smack in the middle of the blue and green bus lines. Since we took public transit around Quito, it gave us the most flexibility to very easily get around.
Both of our hosts – David and his mother were amazing, spoke English well and did everything that they could to make our stay enjoyable. I imagine that having a number of students/interns living there full time makes it hard to keep the hostel as quiet and clean as the owners would like, but is a trade off since it is guaranteed occupancy for extended periods of time.
My biggest issue was that over the course of the 4 days that we were at the hostel, our room was not serviced. If nothing else, it would have been nice to have our trash taken out.
As much as this article makes it seem like we didn’t enjoy our stay at Casa Agua Canela, that is not the case. We had a great stay, it just took us adjusting our expectations to match our budget. As we continue our travels we’ll have to choose between a lower priced, basic room or a more expensive, luxurious room.
If you’re looking for a comfortable bed in a great location, consider staying at Casa Agua Canela. Just go in with expectations that the room will have basic decor, low water pressure and no servicing of your room. If you value budget over amenities, it is a great choice.