Mashpi Lodge is a luxurious 24-room oasis set in the heart of Ecuador’s Chocó Bioregion. Within driving distance of Quito, it is part of a 3,200 acre private reserve of tropical and cloud forests, home to hundreds of species of animals and plants and what is considered one of our planet’s ‘hot spots’ of biodiversity.
Guests enjoy unique encounters with nature at its purest, led by a fantastic team of expert naturalist guides. No wonder it is a National Geographic recognised ‘unique lodge of the world’. Activities range from pure relaxation and contemplation to hikes and full day tours with aerial gondolas and bicycles to ride through the forest canopy, waterfalls, and rock pools to swim in as well as night walks into the verdant jungle. Rooms are sleek and contemporary with slate floors and the luxury is evident in the service and thoughtful touches such as homemade pink lemonade served on arrival. The perfect retreat for the eco-conscious luxury traveller.
Facilities & Activities
The beautiful open-air terrace with pergola style roof, seats and tables is the perfect spot to enjoy splendid views and a favourite venue for early-morning birdwatching. Next door, a smaller more intimate terrace with chairs provides the ideal venue for quiet reading or a morning yoga session.
On the first floor, the Reading Room offers an extensive collection of books and is used by the naturalist guides and the resident biologist to offer talks and presentations to guests, to provide more in-depth information about the forest and its inhabitants.
The Wellness area has a Jacuzzi framed by classy panels of carved wood, open to the breeze and sounds of the forest – the ideal post-hike place to relax. In the adjoining room you can enjoy specialised massages and treatments using natural products, such as clay, stones, herbs and leaves from the forest.
Every night, you will be able to choose from an activity menu to learn more about the pristine cloud forest whilst accompanied by an expert naturalist and community guide. Criss-crossed with waterfalls, the Reserve is home to a profusion of plant species, including rare ferns and orchid species. Monkeys, peccaries and even puma make their home here alongside a staggering 400 species of bird, not to mention 112 species of amphibians and reptiles. One of the best ways to experience the incredible biodiversity is to ride on the innovative Dragonfly, which carries you slowly under, through and above the canopy along a 2-kilometre cable – this bird’s eye view of the magical ecosystem takes about 40 minutes.
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The lodge’s towering, two-story Dining Room offers a dramatic setting for a lively gourmet experience. Here, Mashpi’s chefs draw from the diversity of Ecuadorian cuisine and ingredients, making the most of its location between the coast and the Andes: the best of both worlds.
Breakfasts are very informal and include fresh regional fruits, breads, eggs any style, cheeses, hams, cereals, home-made jams, organic honey, and muesli, and energising tropical fruit juices.
Lunch is deliberately light, with a changing daily menu, mixing a wide variety of fresh vegetables, soups, sandwiches, and a mix of classic and contemporary Ecuadorian dishes. Ceviche – served in different styles – might well feature. Again, delicious and refreshing fruit juices are on offer, and, to end the meal, a buffet of delicious, home-made ice-cream – including unique flavours like hearts of palm, coffee, passion fruit, sweet mini-banana and an array of other fascinating flavours.
Dinner is a more formal affair. The dramatic setup of the dining room accentuated by the subdued floor lamps creates an intimate ambience. The dinner menu changes according to the season, and could include chicken, beef, fish, seafood, and vegetarian dishes, all accompanied by mouth-watering side-dishes made with local ingredients and prepared with imagination and flair.
Vegetarian dishes and other dietary restrictions can be catered for with advance notice.
The bar adjoining the Dining Room offers specialty house cocktails and natural energy drinks. A carefully selected wine list features special Chilean and Argentinean vintages.
Mashpi accommodates guests in 24 luxurious rooms, including 3 ‘Yaku’ suites and 20 ‘Wayra’ rooms, as well as the single occupancy ‘Wawa’ Room. The Lodge is designed to completely immerse you in forest life, whilst keeping its creatures safely at bay – a luxury retreat amidst the dense forest and stunning mountain views. The rooms are arranged over 3 floors, all designed with floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall panoramic glass windows, some on two sides, with the forest just a few feet away.
Wake up to captivating views through dense jungle – rather like being in a crystal capsule, observing forest life from the comfort of your bed. Open the window, and the sounds of bird and frog calls wash over you. The rooms’ lighting is subdued with hidden LED lights that run along the handsome wooden bedheads providing a magical touch.
The 20 Wayra rooms (Wayra is a Kichwa word which means “Wind”) all cover a generous 34sqm. 13 rooms have 2 full-size beds and 7 feature king-size beds.
The Lodge’s three Yaku Suites (Yaku is a Kichwa word meaning “Water”) extend over an expansive 37sqm. They are located on the first floor, at the lodge’s North-Western end. Each one features a large bathroom with twin washbasins and Philippe Starck-designed bathtubs-with-a-view. All have king-size beds.
All rooms benefit from a safety deposit box, bathrooms with luxury amenities, hairdryers, Wi-Fi, and telephone.
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Children are warmly welcomed at Mashpi Lodge. For families or groups of friends, 3 pairs of Wayra Rooms inter-connect, 2 pairs on the second floor and 1 pair on the ground floor, each one with a king-size bed connected to a room with two full-size beds.
Mashpi’s very existence is with sustainability in mind and everything they do is focused on preserving the biodiversity of the region. It is effectively a working research station that is at the forefront of rainforest protection, the Mashpi Reserve. Before the construction of the lodge was even complete, a biologist was hired to carry out an ambitious research project. The task was to find out as much as possible about the diverse ecosystem that thrives within the 2,500-hectare Mashpi Reserve. The information this biologist gathered became part of the lodge’s conservation and resource management strategy, strengthening the Lodge’s concept of sustainable tourism and forest preservation. The present-day science and investigation projects are wide-ranging in scope and visitors are encouraged to find out more and get involved – even the youngest guests!
The Lodge is in the heart of the Equatorial Chocó Bioregion, regarded as one of the planet’s most important “hot spots” of biodiversity. A hideaway in the forest, only accessible to guests and located on a scenic plateau, Mashpi features amazing views of the surrounding forested mountains right up close through its floor-to-ceiling panoramic glass windows.
Guests are usually collected early morning from their hotel in Quito. Mashpi lodge is located three hours away, 110 Km (70Milles) on the western slope of the occidental flank of the Andes. The rapid change in altitude (from 2800 msnm to 1000 msnm) allows you to appreciate the wonders of the Andean landscape. The road crosses the valley of Pomasqui dominated by Andean dry forest, and then to the western flank of the Andes through the Cloud Forest and the road ends in Mashpi at the beginning of the tropical rainforest. The monument of “La Mitad del Mundo” (“Middle of the World”), marks the place where you cross the equatorial line and the obelisk commemorates the visit of the geodesic mission in the XVIII century as part of their studies measuring one arc of the meridian and their efforts to prove the elliptical shape of the earth. Halfway to Mashpi you can stop to visit Tulipe archeologically museum, a set of ruins that belonged to the Yumbo culture, one of the last cultures that settled in Quito before the arrival of the Incas and the Spanish. You will enjoy coffee and an empanada (like a turnover or pasty) prepared by the locals and then continue for 60 minutes or so before arriving at Mashpi.
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