We spent 5 unforgettable nights on our honeymoon at La Mirage during the low season in May 2010. Wow! Both of us are well-traveled in developing and developed countries and found La Mirage to be the most wonderful place we've ever stayed in many respects. The place is an amazing gem at the edge of the town of Cotacachi, nestled in the mountains. (One caveat that we've tended to stay in more mid-range hotels and B&Bs than top tier places like La Mirage, but what La Mirage provided us went far beyond what money alone can buy.) So, where to start. How about our room/suite. As it was our honeymoon, they upgraded us to one of the nicest rooms (more like a mini-cottage). The main room was spacious, historic (bed used to belong to princess!), very well appointed and charming. We had a sitting area at one end of the main room, another sitting room/area in the entry room and yet another outside underneath a parasol. We were told by someone there that La Mirage was ranked one of the top 30 garden hotels in the world. While we're not sure who did the rating, we found that very easy to believe. There were flowers everywhere, sweet smells everywhere. Every morn we'd wander the extensive grounds, enjoy all the running water, admire and photograph the strolling peacocks and hummingbirds and look up at the beautiful mountains.
Next, the food. The breakfasts were outstanding with the waffles being perhaps the best waffles we've ever had. Omelets, fruit, rolls, etc. were all fresh and tasty, too. Dinners were both delicious and a true experience! They started with a tasty amuse bouche and a live goldfish who came with a note such as "Hi, my name is Pedro. I'll be your dining companion this eve. Please don't feed me." What a hoot! The 4 course meals were all fresh, delicious and provided a diverse mixture of local and international cuisines. We became good friends with Claudio, the chef, who we chatted with every night as well as with the head waiter, Raul. Perhaps given it was the low season (or perhaps because the service was just outstanding and Claudio's a great guy), he'd cook us some of his favorite off-menu dishes, too. One night, we ordered room service and enjoyed the delicious meal in our room with roaring fireplace while relaxing and watching a movie.
As for activities, the town is cute and is worth a bit of exploration--it has a museum we didn't get a chance to visit. We thoroughly enjoyed our hike up into the mountains from outside our front door. One day La Mirage booked us with an excellent, knowledgeable English speaking guide (Oswaldo) to hike around Lake Cuicocha (Laguna Cuicocha.) It was spectacular! The most gorgeous mountain lake we've ever seen, and we even saw one of only 40 condors alive in Ecuador as well as some eagles and lots of wildflowers. On Saturday we visited the nearby, famous Otavalo market which deserves its fame. Make sure to leave the tourist area and explore the rest of the market--at least if you go on a Saturday.
The spa. We had the most unique spa treatments we've ever (and may ever) have! The Shamanic Purification Treatment is not for the faint of heart, but was an amazing experience. (And you may sweat so much you'll know that your pure.) The Total Chocolate Therapy treatment was a lot of fun (and concluded with chocolate covered strawberries). And we *loved* the couples Floral Fiesta! What could be more romantic than taking a rose pedal bath for 2 followed by being wrapped up in cellophane next to each other. Perhaps the only word of caution is that while the specialized rooms were amazing and experiences were unforgettable, the actual massage portions of the spa treatments were more in the "good" range. At first, we thought they were very good, but then noticed that each time, the same basic massage techniques were being used. However, my wife tell's me that the prices were way less than something of comparable quality in the Washington, DC area where we live.
Finally, and best of all, the service. What can I say. They greeted us with sparkling wine and a dessert plate. They brought us (free) snacks and gifts throughout our stay ranging from chocolate covered strawberries to fresh fruit to cute bread dough figurine souvenirs. They made our fire and put hot water bottles at the foot of our bed to warm it every night while we were at dinner so we'd always arrive back to a roaring fire. They all knew us by name (and we got to know a lot of them, too.) They were incredibly friendly. We really enjoyed chatting with the Claudio, Raul, the owner (forgetting his name) and many of the other staff. (I should have written this review 3 months ago after we returned!)
To sum up, our honeymoon days at La Mirage really were like being in a paradise. La Mirage, many, many thanks for such an unforgettable stay and for making our honeymoon so special. We will dream of coming back to visit you again someday. (Perhaps our 10th anniversary?!)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.