By Allie Almario
One of the questions we are asked frequently here at Premier Tours is which accommodations are our favorite hotels in mainland Ecuador? The answer is – it all depends on your style of travel, your budget and of course, space availability. There are so many fantastic hotels, lodges and haciendas, but let’s look at three places that have consistently wowed our travelers.
These wildly sought-after hotels are not large chain hotels, so we highly recommend that you check in with us and book early.
1. GUAYAQUIL – DEL PARQUE
The first truly boutique luxury hotel in Guayaquil, the Del Parque is a charming, restored 19th century mansion on the banks of the Daule River. Set inside one of the city’s award-winning parks in its Samborondón neighborhood, the hotel holds a secret – a gorgeous private chapel. Intimate lounges are open for guests to enjoy hushed seating and an array of snacks and drinks. The style is trendy with surprising flashes of color and unexpected modernism among cool, elegant classic design.
In the park itself, there are three separate eco-systems with a raucous colony of parrots, endangered harpy eagles, toucans and masked ducks. On an afternoon walk, you might encounter favorites like sloths, ocelots, deer, spider monkeys, tapirs and collared peccaries. All of this wildlife will be a great introduction to nature before you head off on a Galapagos adventure.
2. NEAR QUITO – MASHPI LODGE
Mashpi Lodge has won one of the coveted National Geographic Unique Lodges Of The World distinctions:
“A collection of rare experiences, offering guests intimate encounters with parts of the world not many get to know—and the chance to slow down and truly discover them. Each lodge is deeply rooted in its community and dedicated to protecting the surrounding habitats and cultures—and harnessing their magic to safeguard them for the future.”
As one of only two lodges in all of Ecuador to earn this badge, Mashpi prides itself as having a pristine location in a country that is known for its rich levels of biodiversity and diverse ecosystems. What’s to love? Top notch naturalists, a gourmet scene that rivals any Michelin-starred restaurant and riveting adventures galore set among waterfalls in a private reserve. Don’t miss out on the famed Dragonfly ride and Sky Bike, both of which will take you soaring above dense canopy.
It’s not an easy transfer from Quito, but the three to four hour drive is well worth the effort from the city.
3. OTAVALO – HACIENDA ZULETA
Once touted as the “summer White House” of Ecuador, the all-inclusive Hacienda Zuleta holds a long and storied history as a favorite retreat with some of the greatest political legends in the country. The hacienda is set high in the Andes, and spending a few nights here will give you an opportunity to relax in a lovely room with a fireplace – and of course, with gorgeous views of the countryside. You’ll really feel like you’re a guest at a private home.
Head out for a horseback ride, enjoy freshly made meals with ingredients plucked from its organic farm, nibble on its award-winning cheeses, or hike to the tiny enclave where scientists work on research and rehabilitation on the Andean condor.
Most importantly, the hacienda prides itself on its close relationship with the villagers of Zuleta. You’ll find abuelas (grandmothers) who offer to host cooking and embroidery classes. A guest manager greets every arrival with a warm hug, fresh snacks and suggestions for activities during your stay. Even better, there’s usually the resident doggie who’s willing to accompany you for a walk in the country if you’d like some company.