This former hacienda lies in the small town of Cotacachi about three hours north from Quito, at an altitude of 2,400m. The perfect place to experience the Andean culture and its customs, the area is famous for its handicrafts and also being Ecuador’s capital of leather. Within easy reach of stunning countryside, lakes and mountains, you’re also close to the Pan-American Highway, which provides easy connections to major cities.
Few spas can claim to have their own female shaman, but La Mirage Spa does just that. Head to the Purification Room for a 90-minute experience of local healing practices for body, soul and spirit. More traditional treatments come in the form of massages, facials, reflexology and aromatherapy. There’s also an indoor solar-heated swimming pool, and a special aromatic “lavender room”.
Personal attention has been lavished on all of the 23 rooms and suites, ensuring no two are the same. Objets d’art, antiques and rich furnishings are scattered here and there, and each has a separate living area and fireplace for cosying up to in the evenings. High-speed internet, safes and cable TVs come as standard, and each room has views onto the lush landscaped gardens.
Pay a visit to the Condor Park, where these remarkable birds are being cared for and preserved; hike on trails around the breathtaking Cuicocha Lake formed in a collapsed volcanic crater; buy dazzling fabrics at Otavalo’s famous indigenous market; and go horse-riding or sailing at some of the many awe-inspiring natural locations all within easy reach.
Breakfast and lunch at the hotel are taken on the lawn, with an audience of strutting peacocks and fluttering hummingbirds to entertain you. An elegant formal main dining room is the setting for dinner, where white tablecloths and the best tableware set the scene for a gourmet à la carte menu of contemporary Ecuadorian cuisine. You can also enjoy an aperitif or nightcap in the relaxing Pandora Lounge bar.