guestroom rates include
- Waiter-served breakfast
- Complimentary Wi-Fi access areas
- Hot-water bottle and optional log fire
- Use of squash, basketball, volleyball courts
- Library & Video Library
- 8 acres of gardens and orchards
- Private bathrooms & Hairdryer
- Working stables with llamas, guinea pigs, etc.
- Complimentary tea and coffee
Rustic but Charming Hacienda Cusin If you are looking for a spotless, sleek and modern hotel near Otavalo, don’t stay here. If however, you seek the charm of... read moreIf you are looking for a spotless, sleek and modern hotel near Otavalo, don’t stay here. If however, you seek the charm of a 17th century estate with loads of character that has been converted to a place to stay, look no further.
My wife and I spent 4 nights at Hacienda Cusin after a 7 night Galapagos cruise and a 3 night stay in Quito - a very low key way to end our time in Ecuador. The hacienda provides transport in a spacious mini-van to and from Quito airport for a nominal fee. Plan on up to 90 minutes each way, as traffic can be slowed at times by heavy trucks on the hilly highway that connects the airport and Otavalo.
We stayed in a Garden Cottage (#25), one of three free-standing units. All-in-all, there are 43 rooms in the complex - some quite modest. Our cottage was located in a very quiet area on the edge of the property. It had a very comfortable but somewhat saggy king bed with layers of heavy wool blankets and a wonderful wood-burning fireplace that was lit for us each night. When the fire went out there was a portable electric heater to keep us warm, if needed. Lighting was adequate as there are lamps throughout. There was a small desk and chair plus two larger chairs for relaxing by the fireplace. A walk-in closet offered plenty of storage space for our bags. There was a small safe, but it was inoperable so we had to store our passports and extra cash at reception.
The bath had a large stand-up shower and a single sink with storage on shelving beneath. Toiletries were replaced every day, but were not of high quality. The bath and hand towels varied in quality - sometimes thin, sometimes plush. No wash cloths were provided. Our unit had its own water heater which was good for two consecutive showers, providing we did not linger. Water pressure was generous.
Note that prices quoted for your room and transfers may be more than quoted on Cusin’s website. Just ask before arrival and they will adjust.
Free wifi was available at reception and in all of the common areas, including the library, the bar and the restaurant. There was no wifi in the rooms.
Throughout the complex there were pretty flowers and plantings. While none of the gardens are well-groomed, they did add to the charm of the place. There were four resident llamas that grazed on the lawns of the complex.
While most of the staff speak little English, the three ladies that alternate at reception were quite fluent. Their friendliness and helpfulness greatly added to the Hacienda Cusin experience.
A decent hot breakfast is included in the room rate with choices of eggs, pancakes, bacon, ham, muesli and fresh fruit. A different fruit juice is offered each day. We took advantage of the restaurant’s prix fix menu one night. I had a pork chop with blackberry sauce accompanied by mashed purple potatoes and vegatables. While that was quite tasty, my wife did not enjoy her langostini with tomato sauce. If you want to try guinea pig, an Ecuadorean delicacy, you can order it one day in advance.
When we arrived, it was rather late but we were able to order room service for $10 extra and split an okay club sandwich, carafe of wine and dessert. Note that one liter carafes of house wine (red or white) are a good value at $18. There are a couple of good restaurants at nearby hotels that are reachable by taxi for $5 or less. Most notable is Puerto Lago, which I will review separately.
Prior to arrival, we reserved the driver and guide services of Christian Palomeque through Hacienda Cusin. Christian has been recommended in other reviews and while pricey at $22/hour, he spoke excellent English. On our 6-hour tour, he took us to the Saturday animal market, a private weaver’s factory and home, the woodworking town, the leather shops in Cotacachi, and the Otavalo crafts market. As a bonus, Christian was also our driver for our early departure to the airport for our flight home.
There are several recommended walks from Hacienda Cusin. We did two of them at about 2 hours each, which provided an opportunity to see some of the local farms and the countryside on foot.
The hacienda also has stables with several horses and a choice of 1 to 3 hour rides, ranging in difficulty from easy to hard. We did a 2 hour “moderate” ride which took us up into the hills past indigenous people’s homes and through a forest of eucalyptus trees. Our guide spoke no English, but he did make sure we were comfortable and that the horses were cooperating. The horses seemed to be well-cared for and well-groomed.
If there is a downside to Hacienda Cusin, it is that there has been some wear and tear on the premises since the restoration several years ago. Most of the furnishings seemed a bit “tired” and the daily use and the soot of the fireplaces has also taken its toll. For some though, that may be part of the charm and I would certainly recommend it to others, with that caveat. read less
Highly recommended! I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively during a long career as a magazine photographer. My assignments have taken me to 77 countries... read moreI have been fortunate enough to travel extensively during a long career as a magazine photographer. My assignments have taken me to 77 countries in Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe. In the United States, where I'm from, I've been to all fifty states. I have spent many, many nights in hotels, some posh (Hotel George V, Fullerton Bay) and some primitive (Mopti, Mali; Chitral, Pakistan). But I have never stayed in a place as serene, charming, eclectic, and unusual as Hacienda Cusin.
My three simple tests of a good hotel are: comfort, staff, and food. Hacienda Cusin excels at all three. My wife and I (vacation trip) rented a casita in the garden of HC at a ridiculously fair price. Every night while we were at dinner, members of the Hacienda's friendly, helpful staff lit a fire in our room and placed a hot water bottle in our bed. When we turned in, we curled up under alpaca blankets and slept the sleep of the gods. There are three chefs on Cusin's staff. They prepared delicious and original meals--Ecuadorian dishes for the most part--that were fabulous. Fresh fruit and fresh vegetables always. At the end of our stay, we received (and gratefully returned) hugs from many of the staff members.
The owner, Nik Millhouse, deserves a thankful nod. Nik is the heart and soul of Cusin. His extensive (and eccentric) decorations and his knowledge of all things South American and beyond are the spirit of this imaginative place.
I can't imagine a more calming holiday from our troubled world then this gem in the high Sierras of Ecuador. Highly, highly recommended. read less
Most unique, amazing place Hacienda Cusin was our first stop during a 10 day trip to Ecuador. We have never had such a wonderful experience, and we travel... read moreHacienda Cusin was our first stop during a 10 day trip to Ecuador. We have never had such a wonderful experience, and we travel extensively. From the moment you pull up to the hacienda you are surrounded by the most beautiful scenery. The restored 1600 buildings are enveloped in flowers and trees, and the mountains of the region stand out in the background. During your meal at night the wonder hacienda staff light a fire in your room. We filled our days with long walks, horseback riding, and delicious food. What more can you ask for?
The staff are unbelievably helpful, and the food is delicious. Every morning you start your day with a complimentary breakfast and the lunches and dinners are made up of fresh produce grown around the farm.
The owner Nik and his wife were lovely as well- every morning and evening you could find them in the dining room, ready to chat about anything and everything. If you come to Ecuador do not miss Hacienda Cusin! More read less