Ecuador has traditionally not been much of a luxury travel destination, with most upscale travelers only stopping a night in Quito or Guayaquil on the way to or from the Galapagos Islands. This has been changing this decade, however, with many luxury vacation travelers realizing there are plenty of reasons for sticking around. The mainland has the high Andes Mountains, volcanoes, Amazon basin jungles, cloudforests, and empty beaches.
Until Mashpi came along, the top hotels and lodges were all focused in Quito, Guayaquil, and the jungle. Most of Ecuador's upscale holidays take place on the water—on luxury yacht trips to the Galapagos rather than in a permanent structure on land. Several small properties have opened on the islands though for those who want an exploration base instead of spending a week at sea.
Many of Ecuador's hotel guests in the past were either tour groups in transit or business travelers striking a deal. Neither of these led to the kind of attentive, upscale hotel with personal touches that discerning travelers try to find. The rise of independent travelers and high-end tours in mainland Ecuador is giving rise to new boutique hotels and hacienda properties that are a step above the norm, however, a trend that looks likely to keep increasing. As expatriates move into areas not currently served by luxury hotels or resorts, watch this space for some new accommodations to serve adventurers in new markets.
Amazon Jungle Luxury Lodges
Sacha Lodge — Amazon Basin Region
La Selva Amazon Ecolodge & Spa — Amazon Basin region
Napo Wildlife Center — Amazon Basin region
Baños Luxury Hotel
Samari Spa — Baños
Cuenca Luxury Hotels
Hotel Santa Lucia — Cuenca
Mansion Alcazar — Cuenca
Zahir 360 — Cuenca
Galapagos Islands Luxury Lodges
Guayaquil Luxury Hotels
Imbabura Province Hacienda Hotels
Hacienda Cusin — San Pablo del Lago
La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa — Cotacahi, Imbabura Province
Hacienda Zuleta — Angochagua, Imbabura Province
Mashpi Reserve Lodge — Mashpi Cloudforest
Best Quito Hotels