Although it's located in Quito's Old Town — away from the party scene and the gringo restaurants of the New Town and the Mariscal area — the Secret Garden is undoubtedly the place for backpackers to stay in this city. Owned (and largely run) by Aussies, it's very friendly and always full of people. Hang out on the rooftop terrace for breakfast each morning, and for dinner and some beers each evening, and you'll be sure to meet plenty of people, and to have a great time exchanging laughs and stories.
Rooms: the 8-bed dorms are great — en suite bathroom for each dorm, plus a private reading light on each person's bed.
People: 100% backpackers, the perfect crowd. If you don't meet any friendly faces here, old or new, there's something wrong with you.
Staff: lots of Aussies, and all of them are really hospitable (and opposite to the norm, most of them only speak English). They're also great fun to go out with, once they've closed the terrace at 11pm.
Food: the all-you-can-eat breakfast is sensational — bread, spreads, fresh juice, hot drinks, fried eggs, fruit salad, and a special of the day (pancakes are best!). The nightly rooftop dinner is also great: don't miss Thai curry night. Unfortunately, none of the food is included with your board — all at additional cost.
Internet: 3 PCs, reasonably fast connection — unfortunately, also not free ($1/hr), and very busy as well.
Hot water: great most of the time, but a bit unreliable at peak time in the mornings.