Dating back to 1695, the historic Hacienda La Ciénega has been in the possession of the same family ever since. Illustrious guests who have been pampered behind the grand old house’s two-meter thick walls include Carlos Maria de la Condamine who led the French Geodesic Mission, numerous Ecuadorian presidents and the acclaimed (and almost certainly gay) geographer, naturalist and explorer, Alexander von Humboldt – the founder of modern geography.
A long, eucalyptus lined drive leads up to the house, which, although a hotel since 1982, still feels like a private residence. Paintings line the walls, antique furniture and flowers fill the rooms and the restaurant serves the sort of classic Ecuadorian dishes that would have been familiar to Humboldt himself. The hacienda still boasts a working private chapel and all is set within attractively landscaped gardens.
La Ciénega makes a great base for exploring the nearby Cotopaxi National Park and the famous volcanic-crater lake of Laguna Quilotoa.
Hacienda rates include a welcome cocktail, American breakfast, Wi-Fi in certain areas, soft drinks with meals, use of installations and local taxes.