Ecuador is full of hacienda hotels crafted into the historic former manor houses that anchored massive landholdings dating back to the 1500s. They’re a great way to combine the culture and history you want with the great food and comfortable accommodation you need. We stayed at many hacienda hotels during our time exploring the country and here are our 8 top hacienda hotels in Ecuador.
Find the hacienda hotel for you in Ecuador
What it is: The most luxurious hacienda hotel in Ecuador dates back to the 16th century and has been in the same illustrious family (which produced two presidents of Ecuador) since the late 1800s. Still family run, Hacienda Zuleta, west of the city of Otavalo, retains a genteel air while offering 17 rooms with wood burning stoves, bathtubs, and plenty of colonial charm including original tile floors and antiques everywhere.
Why we love it: The hacienda developed their own breed of horse. Called Zuleteñas, they’re a strong and beautiful mix of Andalusians and quarter horses. They’re smart, strong, and fantastic riding especially when you add in handmade tack and awesome guides. There’s a horse and a ride for everyone, from easy hour-long jaunts to full day rides up to the high-altitude paramo and back. Fuel up with heaping portions of the hacienda’s traditional Andean food (much of it grown on the property) and slabs of the cheese they make onsite using milk from cows that are still raised on the hacienda.
Hacienda San Agustin de Callo
What it is: Hacienda San Agustin de Callo was built on ground that was home to an Incan fortress and palace dating back to the 1500s. Researchers speculate that the property may be the northernmost point that the Incas ever ventured. Small buildings and sections of walls made from symmetrically carved lava-rock building blocks fit together without any mortar, a distinctly Incan practice, still exist on the property and have been incorporated into the hacienda.
Why we love it: This hacienda hotel combines all of that history with a healthy dose of luxury. Spacious rooms feature restored antiques, massive fireplaces, lush bathrooms, and original murals. The owners have also preserved and restored what is believed to have been an Incan temple. On a clear day, the views of the very active and very close Cotopaxi Volcano are breathtaking.
Don’t miss: The chance to feed llamas in the hacienda’s central courtyard. And, speaking of food, the hacienda restaurant is also a must for its gourmet takes on regional dishes. Be sure to try the locro, a beloved cheese and potato soup.
Book Now Here’s $20 off your first stay with Booking.com
Hacienda El Porvenir
What it is: Hacienda El Porvenir, on a 2,500 acre (1,000 hectare) working cattle ranch, is proudly family-run and proudly eco-minded with a focus on reforestation and sustainability that has won it praise from green groups and green guests.
Why we love it: There’s a wide range of room types for a wide range of budgets–from dorm accommodation to suites. Food, mostly traditional recipes using local ingredients, is plentiful and excellent.
Don’t miss: The hacienda has more than 30 horses and riding guides can take you high into the gorgeous landscape around the hacienda which borders Cotopaxi National Park. There is a very real chance that you’ll see Andean condors as well.
Book Now Here’s $20 off your first stay with Booking.com
Piman Hacienda Garden Hotel
What it is: While most haciendas in Ecuador were created for cultivating the soil, one hacienda became a place for cultivating the mind. Piman Hacienda Garden Hotel, just north of the town of Ibarra, was established in 1680. The hacienda eventually became the home of writer and newspaperman Ignacio Zaldumbide. Then it was home to his son, the famous Ecuadorian poet Julio Zaldumbide Gangotena. After that, the hacienda was home to his son, statesman and novelist Gonzalo Zaldumbide (one of his most acclaimed works, “La Egloga Tragica” was written at Piman).
Why we love it: The Zaldumbide family still owns the hacienda which they’ve turned into a surprisingly modern take on the theme. The family hired French landscapers to create formal gardens filled with native plants. Ecuadorian architect Igor Munoz restored the rooms in the original hacienda house which feature original wood floors, hand-painted wood trim, and even some original wallpaper.
Don’t miss: The 10 sleek, modern rooms with large windows and huge decks.
What it is: Hacienda Manteles, near the town of Baños, is the most family-friendly of the hacienda hotels in Ecuador with family-sized accommodations, an amenable kitchen, plenty of space for running around, and a menagerie of farm animals to interact with.
Why we love it: Manteles is also the place to go if you want to keep an eye on the very active Tungurahua Volcano without bothering to get dressed. The hotel’s modern suites were built with nearly floor to ceiling windows that give guests an unobstructed view of Tungurahua right from bed.
Pantaví Hosteria & Spa
What it is: Pantaví Hosteria & Spa, not far from the city of Ibarra, was a sprawling cotton plantation with a hacienda home on the property. The cotton is gone and the original home has slowly been transformed into the most bohemian hacienda hotel in Ecuador. And, yes, there is a spa.
Why we love it: Owners, artist Camilo Andrade and his wife Adriana Ramirez, meticulously restored the original buildings which took on fresh life with Camilo’s modern art on the walls. Every piece of art was created by Camilo and there are hundreds of diverse pieces giving the place a modern, intimate, gallery-like feel.
Hacienda La Cienega
What it is: The most mansion-like of the hacienda hotels is also one of the oldest. Just be sure you’ve booked a room in the original building at Hacienda La Cienega. The newer wing of rooms in the garden isn’t nearly as noteworthy.
Why we love it: You can practically feel the history in the stone walls which are up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) thick and have withstood time, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. There’s an atmospheric and historic chapel out back from the days when haciendas like this would have been so large that they were cities unto themselves. The roaming llamas are somehow soothing.
What it is: Though it’s located less than 20 minutes from central Quito, Hacienda Rumiloma is more of a romantic retreat than a city hotel.
Why we love it: Its hillside location means you get epic views of the capital city of Quito and the place feels a world away from the city as peacocks and llamas roam the grounds. Five large suites feature antiques, wood-burning stoves, colonial art, and bold colors, patterns, and textures (from tiles to blankets to the walls themselves) which lend an Andean gypsy caravan look and feel to the place. The bathtub and plate of homemade cookies in our room were nice touches too.
Here’s more about travel in Ecuador