By Stephany Frias
From the moment our caravan slips through the entrance gates, it is evident that we have landed in an oasis. Like a bubble of fresh air flitting to the surface, Guayaquil’s Parque Historico (historic park) is a beacon of serenity in the modern, bustling city
It’s almost criminal to let the hidden allures of this sweet paradise escape my lips. It emulates the constantly conflicting philosophy of a travel writer; when to tell and when to keep it recondite. But, nevertheless, they must come out, the tales of this city’s beloved secret garden
As if time is moving in slow motion, a single bronzed leaf trickles peacefully from the sky, using its stem to delicately point out details that might otherwise be missed. The endearing unevenness of carefully laid brick pathways, the freckled tree shadow patterns splashed over the periwinkle paint of an antique French building, and the waving crowns of vibrantly colored orchids peeping up to see who’s arriving next
This 7-acre biome bobs alongside the Daule river in the pockets of Guayaquil’s most discerning neighborhood, Samborondón. Simply uttering the name lends a lick of allure and legacy, a feeling of luxe and regality. The area has historically been a reflection of the powerful and elite, a long-time hiding place of South American politicians and plantain tycoons. Many of whom earned their riches in regional cash crops like bananas, mangoes, sugar, rice, coffee, and cacao
Even today the lavish Parque Historico still beckons to the distinguished, impregnated with a charming 5-star hotel of the same name, Hotel del Parque. It lends the perfect inspiration to linger a little longer in this relatively unmentioned green space. For once enlightenment settles in, it’s only natural to relinquish other city ambitions in favor of more time blanketed in the delights of luxury stitched into nature
The sumptuous rooms, polished communal spaces, and world-class hospitality ooze a certain kind of historical charm reminiscent of a bygone era. From the bellboys who tip their misnomered Panama hats and deliver Pacari chocolates, to the chilled aromatic towels offered on a sweltering afternoon; it’s the small tokens that make a stay here unforgettable
Sprawling buffet breakfasts and delectable afternoon tea sessions in the courtyard, or books left to be discovered on the veranda. Lounging areas in the orchid gardens and fresh-baked cookies posed in the library. All exuding an unexpected homespun ambiance to a posh setting. Rather than a pretentious getaway, a stay at Hotel del Parque feels like a homecoming or visiting a beloved aunt in a far-flung country.