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“Top of the line with one cultural tweak” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Los Balcones

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Hotel Los Balcones
Ranked #2 of 60 Hotels in Cuenca
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Top of the line with one cultural tweak”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 December 2012

Overall one of the best hotel experiences ever and I travel a lot. The place is rich in history and character, well located for walking around, with a staff that deserve the Nobel prize in tourism. Several young people, some studying tourism at the local university, interesting to talk with and helpful beyond belief. Good breakfast on the roof terrace, too. Here's the cultural tweak. Our pleasant room, along with many others, opened onto an interior courtyard with a restaurant on the ground floor center. We live in the Southwestern U.S. desert with low noise. Sometimes the noise level from the courtyard in the evening was a little high for us but it never ran late and probably any normal person with a tolerance for ambient urban background noise wouldn't notice it. Bottom line is we would gladly return for another stay but plan on heading for a quiet bar on Saturday night when the music is live. Otherwise the perfect place to stay in Cuenca.

Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Michael A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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416 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (97)
Date | Rating
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English first
Issaquah WA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 December 2012

I rated this hotel 5 stars, I would have to work to think of anything that could have improved our stay. The staff is wonderful, incredibly friendly and helpful. The property is a 125 year old home converted to a hotel. The restoration retained the character of the original building with original posts and beams still in place, floors are original and windows with plumbing and electricity completely up to date. The breakfast is typically served on a rooftop veranda with small but nice touches like freshly squeezed juice - not juice orange juice but pineapple, papaya, watermelon and blackberry ( my favorite)
The location is ideal for exploring much of the old Cuenca. We had two fine dinners at the restaurant, Sole Mio. Already looking forward to another stay.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kachess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
212 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 November 2012

The family that owns this hotel has done a remarkable restoration job and seems to have made it a priority in hiring friendly, competent staff. We were greeted by Henry, one of the owners, who showed us to our room, gave us a quick lesson in how to operate the shower and was just an all around happy, pleasant person. Carla at the reception desk, was especially helpful in arranging taxis, van service, dealing with a credit card that didn't want to work in Ecuador and answering any questions we had about our stay. Paolo and Fernando were very attentive and were so generous in sharing their life stories with us when my husband and I asked personal questions! Once, while walking the streets in Cuenca, Henry's parents spotted us on a sidewalk, said they were from the Balcones Hotel and gave us hugs and kisses as if they'd known us forever - what sweet people!

The room service was excellent and the new restaurant in the hotel is something to be watched. We had Thanksgiving dinner there and while it wasn't traditional American style, we enjoyed it and appreciated their creative efforts. Anywhere in the historical area of Cuenca is pretty noisy and our hotel was no exception. I recommend ear plugs, but the traffic and street noise typically dies down after 11 pm. If it's raining, ask the front desk to borrow an umbrella so you don't have to buy or bring one. Wi-Fi was inconsistent. When it was up, it was good, but it was a tad bit unreliable on a daily basis. We enjoyed spending time in the hotel lobby near the restaurant, but there's only one couch and coffee table if you want to just hang out and read the newspaper. There's probably not enough room to offer more couches on the main floor, but it would be nice to take in the beauty of the building while having a cup of coffee. The English newspaper available is a version of the Miami Herald. I wouldn't mind having more magazines to read, but I realize that not everything can be for English only readers. Breakfast is included with your stay and it is served on the upper floor in an outdoor area - very nice. We enjoyed our food and the staff was always willing to try and accomodate our requests. However, I think it would be helpful if a breakfast menu of all available food choices was posted. That way, there's no confusion over what's available and what's not.

We stayed in room number 1 which included 2 full size beds (I think they were full). We were lucky to get a room as the hotel was completely full. Room 1 has an obscured window that faces the main hallway of the floor. It needs a heavy duty roll down shade that could block out any lighting from the hotel. If you are sensitive to light, you might want to get a different room.

Overall, we loved this hotel and their entire staff and would recommend staying there. They made our stay in Cuenca memorable!

Room Tip: For a more quiet sleeping experience, ask for a room toward the back of the hotel (like room number...
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Alverda3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 November 2012

This Hotel was absolutely beautiful; it oozes history, is clean and tastefully and ornately decorated. The staff is well trained, exceptionally polite, most willing to meet needs if possible, and show personal interest without being prying or impolite about it. Very polished!

The beds were firm - slightly too firm for me, but I slept well, and my husband and teenaged son loved it. My son said it was the most comfortable bed he has ever slept in. Our room (#10), on the third floor, was beautifully decorated and a nice size for 3 beds; more spacious than many other hotel rooms.

The floors are old, wooden, and creak. That was not a problem for us on the top floor, but I imagine it may be disturbing for guests on the lower levels. The roof is bamboo and thatch, but perhaps they maintain only a small portion of it for interest, a portion of the ceiling in our room was glass through which we could see this beautiful roof, and it was also in the stairwell. The rest of our room had a modern ceiling, as I'm sure the outside did also!

The bathroom consisted of two rooms - the first with a shower in which side jets and hand held shower didn't worked; only the overhead shower worked. We did not mentioned it to the personnel, so I don't know if it can be fixed. The second room behind the shower room contains a toilet and sink. It is smallish, with a narrow ledge and shelf on which to place toiletries, but adequate. Hot water worked all day! Good pressure. There is a window off the toilet room opening into the common area, but it seems that sound travels up, not down.

When we arrived, there was music playing in the common area. The first day classical music played, on the second day a variety of jazz and other low key, lighter classical music.

Breakfast was served in the inside courtyard, with options of eggs how you want them, bacon or a thin slice of ham, breads, waffles, french toast, fruit cup, juices, coffee, hot chocolate... There may have been other options, but they weren't in writing and perhaps I have forgotten some. It was tasty. Free refills on coffee and hot chocolate and an excellent jam made on site!

We had 2 soups at suppertime ($3.99 each) which came with complimentary white toast bread. The soups were very delicious, and presentation matched the calibre of the rest of the hotel.

Street noise - This hotel is on the corner of 2 busy streets that have a lot of traffic beginning around 6 am in the morning, but dying down in the evening. It is quite quiet at night. Our room has a balcony and it was interesting to observe the traffic from above: the man selling breads just below us, the family saying good-bye across the street where the little boy said "good-bye" to his little friend and stayed behind with his grandma, the ambulance trying to get through the stop and go traffic of rush hour on this one lane street.... The exhaust fumes were noticeable during the daytime, but weren't noticeable at night.

There's a fantastic laundry service place about 6 blocks away that does laundry by the pound. They did a fabulous job, and did it for us in 6 hours (same day). We paid $13.40 for one weeks' laundry for 3 people - and we were free to enjoy the day. It's called Rachelle's.

Just one word of caution, I left a verbal message for my husband at the desk, but the message my husband received was quite different from what I said. While this staff member was very willing, his English was more limited than he or I realized. Leave a written message instead.

Would highly recommend this hotel.

I can't comment on the value because I don't know what we paid, since a local travel agent booked this for us and we paid a lump sum for 2 weeks of travel.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Fraumutter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
100 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 November 2012

We chose Los Balcones based on location, price and trip advisor reviews for our recent trip to Cuenca.  The night after our 5 night stay at Los Balcones we stayed at a large upscale American chain hotel in Quito, and we were quickly reminded how much we enjoyed Los Balcones.  The property is in a well restored traditional style home,11 rooms on 2 floors.  The decor was perhaps slightly fussy for our taste, but tastefully done.  Breakfast is included and served on the 3 floor balcony, with space heaters for those chilly mornings.  Breakfast offered a choice of cooked items from waffles to omelette to French toast.  A variety of juice, my favorite was raspberry, is offered and lots of coffee. High praise has to go to Henry and his staff. When we couldn't get our US cell phone to work we were offered the use of their magic jack phone.  Jonathan went above and beyond to answer our many many questions and seemed to have all the answers.  Didnt learn all staff names but each one treated us like family.  We did find that the complimentary wireless service was not reliable, but a small price to pay for a great experience.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank tryingfor100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kansas City, Missouri
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 October 2012

When I arrived in Cuenca, I was sleep deprived from staying in big hotels in Quito. I was met by John who whisked me to the hotel in short order--on time, unlike other people I had relied upon. He checked me in and carried my bags up three flights of steps. He gave me the choice of 2 rooms. I ultimately chose the one at the side toward the back and was rewarded with a great night of rest. The bed was just like the one at home! The pasta I had in the restaurant was the best dinner I had while I was in Ecuador, served by John. The owner, Henry, addressed me by my name as I came and went and accomodated my request for a late check-out because my plane did not leave until 8:30 p.m. He also directed me on how to get around and where to catch the double-decker bus to tour Cuenca. The room was super comfortable and clean and the shower was warm and the water had pressure. I loved this hotel and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys personal service and a great night of sleep!

E. Reeves, Kansas City, MO

Room Tip: The ones closer to the back were quieter...no traffice noise. The ones on the front had a balcony a...
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank missliz13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cuenca, Ecuador
Level Contributor
28 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 October 2012

This hotel was the more expensive of two hotels we used in Cuenca. And, you definitely got more for your money. The issue is always whether or not the extras you got are worth the extra money.

First off, the hotel is in El Centro. For most people, they would like this location, because there are lots of interesting building, parks, churches, restaurants, etc. It's a bit like a very small Manhatten with a lot more pollution on the streets.

The hotel itself is very charming. There are three floors with the rooms surround a central dining area. The desk staff and wait staff (often the same person) spoke very good to excellent English and were both friendly and helpful. We especially appreciate Carla and Fernando.

The bed was excellent. Normally, even at home where I have a quite expensive mattress, I wake up with some aches. That didn't happen on their bed!

The bathroom was large and had a very unique shower facility. There was one very large shower head, then there was a hand held spray, and finally, there were six small shower heads mounted vertically that you could use to have water come at you horizontally. The toilets accepted toilet paper.

The hotel had great Wi-Fi. It did got out twice while we were there, but they promptly reset the router. They also had Direct TV. Most times, it worked well. However, even a slight degree of rain seemed to put it out of commission. So, don't depend on being able to view a given program. We wanted to watch the second US Presidential Debate, but couldn't on the TV. Fortunately, the Wi-Fi mostly allowed us to stream the debate with a few slight interruptions.

The food was wonderful (see the review for California Restaurant).

The negative mostly had to do with noise. The interior of the hotel had its own level of noise since it was open for three floors with a restaurant on the bottom floor along with the reception desk. Outside, there were two very busy streets with a lot of traffic. Again, there was little soundproofing, so if noise bothers you, this might not be the hotel for you. Ear plugs helped me get by with little problem

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 7Continentsymas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Los Balcones

Property: Hotel Los Balcones
Address: Presidente Borrero 12-08 y Gaspar Sangurima esquina, Cuenca 010150, Ecuador
Phone Number:
Region: Ecuador > Azuay Province > Cuenca
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 60 Hotels in Cuenca
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Los Balcones 3.5*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Los Balcones Hotel is located in the center of Cuenca, to 10 minutes of Mariscal Lamar Airport.Our rooms are designed with fine details, each different and equipped with the requerments os a first-class hotel in a unique colonial setting.Sole Mio works in the central courtyard of the Hotel Boutique Los Balcones, which highlights the magnificent decor and atmosphere. The restaurant combines traditional Ecuadorian culinary trends with finest Italian cuisine, thus providing unique flavors. With ingredients imported and region, always emphasizing the sublime in our menu to the taste of our customers... ... more   less 
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