I decided to stay at Hotel Montecarlo in Riobamba. The hotel has a central location, it seemed to be nice and I hoped it would be a quiet place where it was easy to sleep.
Hotel Montecarlo is situated in a restored building from the beginning of the 20th century. The 22 rooms are situated around a nice indoor patio. My room was on the second floor (first for some) and was not facing the street. In the room there was a desk with chair, shelves and hangers and a comfortable bed. There was also a small table that I moved so it was close to the bed (to put things on). There was a lamp above the bed which was good for reading. In the room there was a large window facing the indoor patio, but luckily it had thick curtains. However, there was a small window above the door without curtains, and outside there was a lamp. It was too light in the room for sleeping, but when I went down to the reception to tell them about it they turned off the light that was right outside my room.
Most of the time the hotel was quiet but it will depend on the other guests. The first night I woke up around midnight when two guests came back to the hotel. They were not noisy but you hear every noise through the door. The second night there was someone in the room next to mine, I didn’t hear that person through the wall, but when I was in the bathroom I could hear someone brushing the teeth in the bathroom next doors.
In the reception area there are two computers that guests can use for free.
I paid $25 for the room (July 2013). Breakfast was included and was served from 7:30 in the morning. For breakfast there was coffee (or tea), juice, bread, butter and jam.
Some places sound so amazing when you read about them that they become almost as important as the destination you’re going to see in the first place. Posada La Estación is such a place. Now, one’s romantic notions and reality are often different things and that is also the case with this great old train station cum hostel. Sitting at 3619m, this was the highest point on the Andean Railway. With the railway no longer in use, they have converted the illustrious old building into a rustic mountain hostel. With Chimborazo at its doorstep you couldn’t ask for a better setting but of course, when the mountain is not visible and the weather turns sour, you might not think that is the case.
Our room was serviceable and certainly had a rustic charm about it, with some relics of another era used to adorn it. The shutters on the window worked great to block out any light and helped cut down on the draft too. It’s cold as there is no heat in the rooms, just a wood stove down in the dining room. Ample blankets are provided and we stayed warm. Bathrooms are on the first floor, near the kitchen. They are a little spooky, at least when we were there in gloomy weather. It kind of reminded us of The Shinning. And, no, Danny, we didn’t feel like coming out to play either!
The dining room is homey especially once they get a fire going. They have a great collection of old books about the Andes and the railway. There is a kitchen that you can cook in. They charged us an additional $3 per day which we thought was high considering the room was $20 and they also neglected to tell us that when we asked if we could use the kitchen. What made it doubly unreasonable was we had just given them all of the food and fuel we were going to use on the hike, and they still charged us. They do provide meals if you tell them in advance and it seems they cater to groups that do just that and hence perhaps the kitchen “charge.” Hey, there aren’t any other choices out here and I’m sure if it was nicer out I wouldn’t have complained one bit!
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