A designer wildlife retreat in Ecuador's spectacular cloud forest
Eco-tourism | Jungle | Natural world | Off the beaten track | Wildlife
The stunning lodge in Ecuador's cloud forest is part of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, a collection of boutique hotels in extraordinary places with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability, authenticity and excellence.
Tucked within the 3,200-acre orchid-filled Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve, in the heart of the Equatorial Chocó Bio-Region, considered one of the planet's "hotspots" of biodiversity, this world-class resort is built with the latest eco-construction. It offers unparalleled opportunities to view wildlife, fabulous nature outings and activities, and superb guides and staff. The lodge has also recently been made part of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, a collection of boutique hotels in extraordinary places around the world with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability, authenticity and excellence
Featuring contemporary, minimalist décor, built with the latest techniques in sustainable architecture, and soon to feature hydroelectric power, the lodge blends beautifully with its surroundings. Rooms and suites completely immerse you in the forest with floor-to-ceiling windows. Each room's lighting is subdued, with LED lights running along the wooden bedheads. Take one of the resort's three Yaku Suites: each has a Philippe Starck designed bathtub-with-a-view, designer rugs, stylish easy chairs and coffee tables. Wayra Rooms have king size beds, safes and deposit boxes.
The lodge features a two-story dining room with dramatic views of the surrounding forest. Chefs draw upon the diversity of Ecuadorian cuisine and ingredients, serving fresh dishes seasoned with herbs, spices and chillies from the surrounding area. Meals are also built around delicious regional ingredients, such as tropical fruits, palm heart, coffee, manioc, chocolate and plantain. Breakfasts are informal, lunch is light and dinner is a more formal affair, with its menu changing according to season.
Perched at 940 metres above sea level within lower montane rainforest and cloudforest, the lodge is surrounded by a profusion of plants, birds and animals including everything from monkeys and peccaries to rarely seen pumas. From the lodge, you can embark on wildlife viewing trails into the forest led by local guides. Use the eight-story high Observation Tower for fantastic wildlife viewing; take a night walk; use a sky bike; stop at the hummingbird viewpoint; or take a refreshing dip in the several waterfalls across the reserve.
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