Are you planning a vacation to South America sometime soon? Say, Ecuador? If so, and you’re wanting to pull out all the stops, check out this collection of the most luxurious hotels the country has to offer. The best part? They’re more affordable than you might think. We’ve intentionally included mentions from various parts of Ecuador, rather than concentrating our search in one particular reason. Hopefully the variety and the differences in location will give you a flavor of the country and it’s luxurious accommodations to guide you in your decision.
The most luxurious of the three lodges in the Basin region, La Selva stands apart. Located on the pristine shores of Lake Garzacocha, the main lodge and restaurant provide stunning views, any time, day or night. If you stay here, plan to book a 4 or 5 day excursion. You’ll be paired with an English-speaking guide who can help you explore the region. While you might normally be inclined to chafe against the presence of a guide, the jungle can be deadly so venturing too far into it without someone knowledgeable is ill advised. True, this is a luxury hotel, but make no mistake – you’re in the wilderness, and the five-star amenities are imports here.
There are just 18 cabanas for guests, which gives the lodge an intimate, exclusive feel, and you’ll be thrilled by the attentiveness of the staff, the sumptuous appointments of the rooms and of course, by the endless variety of wildlife to be found, any time you step foot outside. Guests here regularly see a stunning variety of monkeys, tropical birds (including Toucans) and more. Surprisingly, a package deal will only cost you $1100 – $1370, depending on the particulars of your arrangements. Note that fee does include transfers from the airport.
Located in the misty highlands of Santa Cruz Island, The Royal Palm is close to the Darwin Research Center, so if you’re in the region to tour the Galapagos, then it’s conveniently located, although compared to the stark terrain you’ll see there, the tiny island the hotel sits on is remarkably lush and green. Although it’s called a hotel, it’s actually a privately owned estate, complete with a number of guest houses.
Guests stay in small, beautifully appointed cabins, which are a lot like the cabins you find in the United States, minus the kitchen. All cabins have beautiful plank wood floors, and are divided between bedroom and sun/sitting room. Beautifully furnished, each cabin comes with a hot tub built for two, although you may feel a twinge of guilt when using it, because rainwater is the island’s only source of fresh water. Prices here start at $375 a night, and can range as high as $875.
Located in Quito, this Colonial Era mansion has been faithfully and beautifully restored, and now serves as a luxury hotel. Small, exclusive, and intimate, the hotel has only twenty rooms, and the attentiveness of the staff is legendary. You’ll find period décor at every turn, including the massive four poster canopy beds that grace the rooms, but in addition to that, you’ll also find plenty of modern conveniences, giving you truly the best of both worlds.
While the Mansion del Angel is not as close to Plaza Grande as some of the other luxury, boutique hotels in the city, that’s actually part of its charm, and makes it a bit of a hidden gem. Besides, taxi service to the Plaza Grande costs next to nothing, and you’re only minutes away. Amazingly, prices at this glorious hotel start at just $150 a night, and can range as high as $300.
Cuenca is a vibrant, surprisingly youthful college town, and Mansion Alcazar sits like a proud Sentinel in the heart of the city. There’s so much to like about this beautifully restored Colonial mansion turned hotel that one struggles even to know where to begin. From the moment you set foot on the property, you feel as though you’ve been transported to another time. A Gilded Age, and you are one of the Lords of that Age.
Although the hotel is mere minutes from a variety of parks, museums, cathedrals, and beautiful examples of 14th and 15th century architecture, honestly, the place has such an intense gravity about it that you may never want to leave! Between the rooms themselves (only 11 guest rooms and 3 suites in all), the lush, meticulously landscaped and manicured gardens, Le Bar on the main level, which is an intimate gathering place (think combination bar/drawing room) with tur of the century décor, and Casa Alfonso, which is the hotel’s dining area, you may just decide to pass on the rest of the city!
Would you believe that prices here start at just $122 a night? They do! It’s true though, that if you’re looking for the most luxurious accommodations, you’ll have to pay upwards of $320 a night, but this is a bargain by any reckoning. Easily the best value in the city.
This one isn’t “luxurious” in the traditional sense, but it’s such an interesting place and a wonderful adventure, that we had to give it a mention. The Sacha Lodge is located in a 5000-acre nature preserve. Getting there is an adventure in and of itself, and will require you to fly in (the price of the $120 flight is not factored into the cost of the room).
Once your plane lands in the vicinity, you then take a two-hour river boat cruise, and even then, have to hike for half an hour to get to a smaller, tributary river, which takes you by canoe to the actual lodge. Not to worry, there are porters available to help carry your luggage the distance. On arrival, you’ll be escorted to the elevated walkway that leads to your cabin.
You’ll find the accommodations beautiful and comfortable, but honestly, you will barely notice these. The true luxury of the place expresses itself in the savage nature you’re surrounded by and immersed in, and the ‘round the clock attentiveness of the staff.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable vacation destination, this is it, and would you believe that prices start at just $690 for a package tour, and can run as high as $1305.
And there you have it! Some of the finest accommodations Ecuador has to offer, at your fingertips.