Mashpi LodgeThe Cloudforest, Ecuador
Since its opening in 2012, Mashpi Lodge has wowed guests and critics alike with its striking minimalist architecture and top class food and service. To some, the glass, steel and stone hotel may seem totally at odds with its magnificent setting in the midst of a 1,200 hectare private cloud forest reserve, but we love the contrast. One cannot help feeling that it is like a UFO that has landed atop a hill in the midst of a virgin forest. And because it is built of durable materials which will last for decades, the hotel has excellent ‘green’ credentials.
The 22 spacious rooms and suites all have magnificent views directly over the cloud forest and guests are assured of every comfort and convenience. There is even WiFi (via satellite) for those that need to keep in touch with the outside world.
The main attraction of this biodiversity ‘hotspot’ is, of course, the wildlife. An astonishing number of species of birds – many very rare – live in the forest immediately around the hotel and a great place to look for these is from the roof terrace with a cup of coffee before breakfast, your expert naturalists on hand to assist. The hotel offers ‘all inclusive’ packages including meals and activities such as guided nature walks in the forest; the unique ‘Sky Byke’; the lookout tower; the ‘Life Centre’ with butterfly farm; and the humming bird station. A 2 kilometre mini cable car over the canopy is currently under construction.
And after a day in the forest, what better way to relax than in the excellent spa? Or – for the ultimate treat – an outdoor massage by the waterfall, followed by a swim in the natural pool below.
Just be prepared for a rather long, winding, bumpy road to reach this nirvana. But believe us: it is worth it.