With astounding biodiversity, an impressive historical legacy, stunning colonial architecture, and a diverse mix of people – Ecuador is regarded as a microcosm of South America and is a unique travel destination that touches the Amazon rainforest to the Galapagos to the Andes and more. Though the country is known for its beautiful landscapes and biodiversity, it is rarely known that in the hospitality industry, Ecuadorian hotels have won countless awards for their incredible properties, carefully curated amenities, locally sourced food, world-class service, and commitment to sustainability. For visitors planning a luxury trip to Ecuador, staying at one of these 5 incredible hotels is sure to make your trip an unforgettable experience:
– Mashpi Lodge
Located on a private nature reserve that spans nearly 3,000 acres in the cloud forest of inland Ecuador is Mashpi lodge – a very modern and luxurious lodge with a commitment to sustainability. Located nearly 70 miles outside of the bustling city of Quito via windy roads is where you’ll find the 22-room property which feels more like a contemporary treehouse, with sleek architecture set among the trees. The architecture of the hotel is not only beautiful, but the property is home to nearly 400 species of birds, frogs, and flowering plants like orchids. In 2020, the Mashpi frog and a rare orchid species, both endemic to the cloud forest where the property is located, were identified, making it the 10th new species discovered at the lodge. Each room is carefully designed, minimalistically, to give guests the feeling that they are immersed in nature, with features like floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you to peek into the canopy.
Since opening in 2012, the pioneering eco-hotel has committed to protecting the Mashpi Reserve, one of the most biodiverse places in the world, with more than 400 species of birds and 500 species of plants, as well as monkeys, peccaries and even pumas. The property is carbon neutral and aims to offset all of its carbon emissions, certified by Mashpi’s environmental assessment advising group. A leader of sustainable tourism, Mashpi Lodge has a full-time team of leading international scientists who work in conjunction with local Ecuadorian researchers, providing the opportunity for guests to get a close look at the innovative partnership and its role in rainforest conservation with an interactive session at the on-site Science Laboratory, learning more about how the animal calls identified by artificial intelligence software, the different species at the reserve and the discoveries the team has made since the property opened just a decade ago.
At Mashpi Lodge, guests are encouraged to arrive as tourists and leave as conservationists. The on-site Life center highlights 21 native species, including the Giant Owl Butterfly whose wings mimic the eyes of an owl. At the same time, naturalist guides lead daily hikes through the forest to waterfalls and wild swimming holes. For a unique perspective of the rainforest canopy, guests can soar through the treetops on Mashpi’s gondola, the Dragonfly, or peddle across 650 feet on the reserve’s Sky Bike.
– Pikaia Lodge in Galapagos
Getting up close and personal with the wildlife and scenery in the Galapagos is a bucket list experience for many. The legendary Galapagos Islands are world-famous for their record-beating wildlife – so what better way to take it all in than by booking a few nights on the islands themselves?
Pikaia Lodge is the first luxury hotel to be created on the archipelago – an ultra-modern building constructed of glass and black volcanic rock perched on the brim of an extinct caldera on the island of Santa Cruz. The lodge is hidden on top of an extinct volcano crater on the Galapagos Islands. The lodge is powered by solar and wind energy and features cutting-edge furniture made of recycled materials and aims to be a carbon-neutral property. With floor-to-ceiling glass windows that overlook the Galapagos National Park – this is a property that is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime stay. Offering a boutique feel, the lodge offers just 29 rooms to give personal attention to all guests. It derives its name from“Pikaia Gracilens,” which are believed to be the first creature to evolve into a vertebrate and are our oldest known ancestors.
Guests at the lodge have plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding wildlife and scenery of the Galapagos as the lodge offers several exploration packages and day tours – including kayaking, hiking, scuba diving, and more, providing adventure seekers with a plethora of options.
The hotel’s on-site restaurant, Evolution provides unrivaled views over the infinity pool to the pristine Galapagos National Park. The restaurant combines traditional Ecuadorian cuisine with modern takes on world-renowned dishes that cater to an international clientele A candle-lit dinner under the stars is also available upon special request.
Grab a drink at the “DNA” Bar and Lounge or take a break in the “Homo Sapiens” Explorers Lounge and close an epic night in one of the world’s most remote and beautiful locations with a cocktail in hand and a full day of adventure planned for tomorrow.
– Casa Gangotena in Quito
Casa Gangotena, a Relais & Châteaux hotel, is one of the most impressive buildings in the Historic Center of Quito. The hotel boasts an incredible location in front of Plaza San Francisco, near several churches, and cultural centers in the middle of the most charming traditional neighborhoods in the capital city of Ecuador.
The hotel’s neoclassical architecture has been recognized as part of the Old Town’s UNESCO World Heritage status. Each room has an art-deco style with plenty of light that comes in through the window. Reflecting the splendor and elegance of a golden age, the rooms boast antique mirrors and painted ceilings. From the rooftop terrace, as you sip a delicious local coffee or signature cocktail, you may catch a glimpse of the snow-capped summit of Volcán Cayambe.
In addition to being known for its history, which dates to the seventeenth century, this building belonged to the Gangotena family, whose members were politicians, landowners, academics, businessmen, and poets. This luxury hotel opened its doors in 2011, and has since received several international awards – the hotel has been recognized by Travel and Leisure as the #1 City Hotel in Central and South America, and by TripAdvisor as a part of their Top 25 Hotels in the World list.
– Finch Bay Galapagos
Finch Bay is a secluded eco-hotel, with only intimate six suites, accessible only by boat. The lodge sits outside Puerto Ayora and overlooks a small, sandy beach surrounded by mangroves. The award-winning hotel enjoys a peaceful and magical beachfront location in Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. Finch Bay Hotel is a beachfront property that allows visitors to discover the untouched wildlife of the islands, as the property is surrounded by a protected national park whose feathered and scaly residents make themselves comfortable on the property.
Each room comes with updated interiors, panoramic ocean views, and a spacious private balcony with a hammock to allow guests to rest, relax and enjoy the Galapagos without even leaving their suites.
At the hotel, visitors will find fresh, local ingredients from the onsite vegetable garden, prepared using modern techniques and execution, and world-class service. From fresh hand-caught lobster to fresh produce, the hotel has an incredible dining scene that redefines island luxury. The spa on property focuses on local treatments, accouterments, and curating a personalized experience for each wellness package provided.
In addition to its amenities, the hotel is committed to sustainability with its energy-saving measures, rainwater collection, recycling, and daily beach cleaning – with a mission to leave the islands pristine and preserve them for generations to come.
– Hacienda Zuleta, Angochagua
Tucked away in the Andean mountain range in Ecuador, nearly 10,000 feet above sea level is Hacienda Zuleta, a property that dates back to 1691 and for more than 100 years, has belonged to the family of Mr. Galo Plaza Lasso, a former president of Ecuador.
The hacienda has 15 beautifully decorated bedrooms, all with their own fireplace. Antique gardens and cozy living and reading rooms offer a peaceful atmosphere and delicious homemade Ecuadorian cuisine among other types of gastronomic adventures are offered daily, prepared with organic vegetables, trout, and dairy products produced on the Hacienda.
The Plaza family, with their natural warmth and hospitality, welcomes guests to their country house to enjoy time at an authentic hacienda in the Andes of Ecuador. Guests are treated to a serene atmosphere, lush gardens, and rich cultural experiences.
Visitors have the opportunity to explore Zuleta’s extensive estate by taking part in a variety of activities including hikes and garden strolls, as well as tours of the Hacienda’s historic buildings, embroidery workshop, and traditional dairy. The Hacienda also offers guests the opportunity to take part in mountain biking, horseback riding, embroidery classes, and cooking classes for an additional cost. The Hacienda is also home to a variety of wildlife, including the Andean condor and giant hummingbird. Guests may even catch a glimpse of a Spectacled Bear, South America’s only bear species. For an up-close look at one of the world’s largest flying birds, be sure to make a visit to CondorHuasi Project, Hacienda Zuleta’s celebrated Andean condor rehabilitation program.
Kuoda’s Luxury Trip To Ecuador
Choosing accommodations that feel comfortable, personalized, and immersive to the destination that you’re in is a must on your luxury trip to Ecuador. Many of these hotels get reserved months before the time of the visit, so we recommend reaching out to Kuoda today to include a stay in the luxury hotel of your choice when planning your luxury trip to Ecuador.
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