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“A little piece of heaven--and close to heaven as well” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Casa Mojanda

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Casa Mojanda
Apartado 160 | Km. 3.8 via a Mojanda, Otavalo, Ecuador   |  
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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Complimentary bottle of wine
Ranked #2 of 13 Hotels in Otavalo
PA
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“A little piece of heaven--and close to heaven as well”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2008

My first trip to Casa Mojanda was in October 2005 with a small group. Since then I have returned to Mojanda at least three times.
Not only is the Inn beautiful, serene and truly heavenly to look at, but the owners and the staff are extraordinary in every way.
If you are lucky enough to get a cottage with a fireplace, someone will come each evening and light it for you.
The food is all home grown and prepared right on sight--they have the same kitchen crew from when we first went in 2005. And the soups are spectacular. I dream about soup from Mojanda.
It is family friendly in every way and it appeals to an educated--off the beaten path type of traveler. Many wonderful bonds and friendships have been formed during our visits to Casa Mojanda.
Meals are communal but there is plenty of space for privacy if you wish to be alone at other times.
They have a fully stocked video library and there are plenty activities if you want to do more than just watch the magnificient mountains move through the clouds-as I do.
Don't go if you are mean or cranky although it will certainly soften you and brighten your outlook on life if you do.

  • Liked — Everything--staff, location, accommodations, food
  • Disliked — Mattresses
  • Stayed October 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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106 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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27
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
UK
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2007

It is much easier to write about places that aren't pleasant. I loved my stay here - a long weekend. The situation is gorgeous - on a hillside with great views. But then you get good views everywhere in Ecuador. This place is special as it nestles into the hillside - well designed to fit in with the countryside. Inside, as well as out, all has been thought out and done with style and good taste. The gardens are lovely to wander round. There is horse riding. There is the hot tub to relax in at the end of the day- situated outside looking down the valley. Each cabin/room comes with its own little private area and hammock. And to cap it all the food is delicious. There is a cookbook due out - I'll be first in line. (And I cannot believe people carp ot paying $4 for a large glass of wine - and they are large - there is an honesty system - list what you have when you take it.) Go and stay - it's a short cab ride from Otavalo and worth every penny.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Williston, Vermont
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2006

A peaceful and beautiful location. Very helpful and friendly young couple managing the property. Great food and warm atmosphere at meals. Clean, simple rooms - ours was a semi-detached building. (Other rooms have fireplaces and terraces - ours didn't.) The architecture is striking, mediterranean feel to it. But be ready to go up and down steps a lot!

We felt this was a great location - easy to go down to Otavalo for the market. But also easy to go up the dirt road to the Mojandas Lakes. We climbed Fuya-Fuya with a guide from the Casa (great views if you are not inside a cloud!) Also, there's an easy walk to a dramatic local waterfall as a warm-up.

It helps to have a car (more freedom of movement), and when we went, the website directions were wrong (it's the second left after the Repsol station, not the first as you enter Otavalo.) It's a bit pricy, but not out of line for this class of eco-lodge, and also, they are supporting projects in the local community.

  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quito, Ecuador
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2006

We spent two nights at Casa Mojanda and enjoyed our stay very much. The rooms are actually separate buildings and very cozy. The room we used was heated by an oil-filled radiator and there was also a fireplace, in which the staff lit a fire while we were at dinner. The room was simply decorated and the beds were comfortable and warm. As Casa Mojanda is situated high above the town on a hillside, the nights were quiet and peaceful. Our room didn't have a telephone or television, which added to the feeling of tranquility. However, there is a televison and a extemely large collection of movies available in the main lodge.

The food was delicious and filling. We ate dinner and breakfast, (which is included in the price of the room) with the other guests at a large table, adding a sense of community and offered a chance to discuss each others adventures. The young couple who were acting managers were friendly and helpful and ate their meals with us. After a long day, I relaxed in an old fashioned hot tub with a wonderful view of the valley.

I have to admit the price for our family of four seemed high - over $200 a night with an additional Service and Sales Tax Charge of 22%, but the rooms are charged per person, so plan accordingly.

  • Liked — The peacefulness and family oriented atmosphere
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brookline, MA
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2005

I stayed for 2 days at the Casa Mojanda in March and had a wonderful time. The setting was beautiful and serene, yet conveniently close to town. Diego and Betti were wonderful hosts and have contributed much to the local community. I am not a vegetarian, but loved all the meals that I had at the inn, which is beatifully decorated with local handicrafts.

As for the price, I felt it was well worth it compared to establishments of similar quality. If price is the main criteria, there are obviously less expensive places in Otovalo. However, if someone is interested in a welcoming, relaxing, and informative stay (I could only hear a little about their community activities), then this would be the right place. They also organized a wonderful day tour that combined some visits to local artisans with a short hike. Again, there may be cheaper tours in town, but our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and experienced and never pressured us to buy things.

  • Stayed March 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manhattan
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2005

The place is gorgeous, true, but we found it overpriced.

Why pay so much in a country with so many similar and reasonably-priced places in beautiful locations?

The food was outstanding, and the staff was lovely, but the owners and their practices left something to be desired.

We lived in Ecuador for 6 months and traveled extensively and only encountered such prices in the most exclusive of international hotels. $4 per glass of wine and $25 for (a maximum of) 2-hour horseback trail ride are outrageous in Ecuador.

It started off lovely and ended on a decidedly sour note. The coup de grace was at check-out, when the owner slapped on a previously unmentioned 20% surplus charge - in addition to taxes - supposedly for a staff tip.

For some odd reason, the owner assured us that the staff would, in fact, actually receive this money.

What was particularly upsetting was that no mention was ever made of this gratuity in any of Casa Mojanda's rather hard-sell marketing throughout the country. They did not post the assessment of this charge anywhere in writing, nor did they mention it at any time during our 4 days there - until we saw the final bill.

During our 6 months living in Ecuador, we never again encountered this practice, so don't buy any argument that it's standard.

Had we known the country better at the time, there is no way we would've stayed there - no matter how beautiful. When we went back to Otavalo, we took a day trip from Quito, or stayed at another inn nearby, which was just as beautiful and decidedly better priced - and more up-front – but not marketed or advertised with such savvy.

We would suggest looking for places not listed in the network of tourist hotels listed with Casa Mojanda. Personally, we find the selling point of this network – that they help the locals so much and promote sustainable development - to be disconcerting.

With what we know about the country, it is doubtful that the Otavalo natives need outsiders to help them live in this fertile valley that is home to their long-standing and world-renowned market place.

  • Stayed January 2005
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Owners at Casa Mojanda, responded to this review, March 19, 2005
As the founder and owners of Casa Mojanda Inn and farm, we are truly saddened as well as angered by the comment printed by a guest from Manhattan. We also believe these comments were without basis in fact. However at the outset, we would like to state that if this writer contacts us personally, we will certainly to reimburse him if he incurred any charge beyond the mandatory 12% sales tax and the 10% service charge, which are very prominently mentioned on our website and on our rate lists. The service charge indeed goes directly to (in the writers' own words) our wonderful staff.

From time to time, it appears seems that some travelers may choose not to carefully read menus or hotel rates, and are then a bit surprised with a bill which comes out higher because of tax and service. We have personally experienced this from time to time - when the hotel or restaurant bill comes and we puzzle over why it initially appears higher than the charges anticipated -- when we ourselves simply failed to account for tax and service. However we know, and I think most people who have done any significant international traveling know. that is the norm to be charged sales tax and service in most places, even in the so-called third world, and Ecuador's tax is absolutely mandatory on all goods and services (although its 12% rate is lower than many other countries). The sales tax combined with the 10% service charge amount to 22 percent, and this appears to be what this writer is referring to as coming as a surprise to him when he got his bill.

Interesting the writer commends our excellent staff, and we can assure readers that the extra income they receive from that 10% service fee, is very important to them. Many of our guests voluntarily ask to contribute additionally to the staff tip pool or to employees who have been especially helpful to them during their stay.

As for our horse tours, it is likely that this guest did not partake of this activity, because it is, according to so many guests over the years we are in operation, one of the most worthwhile experiences they have had here in Ecuador, and most are surprised at the reasonable current rate of $25 for a guided two hour horse tour, with wonderful horses, two guides, beginner lessons if needed, and especially scenic trails. And regarding wine, $4 for a 10 ounce glass of wine is considerably less costly than restaurants in Quito or even in Otavalo.

Which bring us to an interesting point. There are accomodations and tours available here as everywhere in all price ranges, starting at several dollars per night. But then again there is definitely something to the concept of "you get what you pay for." We can barely count the numbert of times guest have recounted really sketchy horseback riding experiences in Latin America which disabused them of their desire to ride again, places that put you on a horse and send you out, knowing their horses will return, and the riders, well, hopefully...

One of the best guarantees of safety and general excellence in service are a dedicated, experienced, and well-trained staff. Paying the lowest wage possible, and charging the lowest rates is one fairly good way to predict the quality of the treatment visitors will receive. It seems this writer wants it both ways. He writes: "The place is gorgeous....the food was outstanding, and the staff was lovely" but then is outraged about our 10% (not 20%) service charge to help make this possible.

His comment about "Casa Mojanda's rather hard-sell marketing throughout the country" is patently absurd. We do not advertise at all within Ecuador, or elsewhere and do no "marketing" per se. Our clientele come mostly by word of mouth, guidebook reviews, our website on which our rates are published in full, as well as some of the most reputable and socially conscious tour operators. About 30% of our guests are repeat visitors, and we have a number of guests who come for a full week or more from the states and elsewhere, and appreciate what they consider to be our highly affordable rates and personalized service.

Most revealing perhaps is the writers statement that "personally, we find the selling point of this [ecological tourism] network - that they help the locals so much and promote sustainable development - to be disconcerting." It seems that at bottom, this writer finds the notion of sustainble tourism distasteful, but thankfully he does not suggest that Casa Mojanda is not actually practicing it. We are sure he did not take the time to visit the pre-school which we sponsor, the rural clinic we helped the community to open in 1997and now continue to sponsor, the conservation work we are doing in the Mojanda Lakes area, or our well-tended and productive organic garden and family farm.

He writes: "with what we know about the country, it is doubtful that the Otavalo natives need outsiders to help them live in this fertile valley that is home to their long-standing and world-renowned market place." We have never heard such a truly insensitive conclusion before and I doubt we ever will again. It is utterly ignorant to state that the Otavalo market sustains the local economy. Most of our rural indigenous and mestizo peoples are subsistance farmers who barely eek out a minimal living. In fact, even the actual producers of handcrafts make very little money for the hard work they put in.

As to whether we are "outsiders," Diego is Ecuadorian and Betti has been living here for over ten years, during which time we have both worked very hard to make Casa Mojanda a business we are very passionate about and proud of, and have committed a considerable amount of time to helping our neighbors improve our rural community.

In sum, we found this review shockingly unfair and not factually based. In addition, the writer displays great insensitivity to the social and economic conditions that currently exist within our beautiful area and country.

We invite readers to write to us to mojanda@uio.telconet.net if they wish more information about Casa Mojanda or have any questions.

Diego Falconi Garces and Betti Sachs


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Additional Information about Casa Mojanda

Address: Apartado 160 | Km. 3.8 via a Mojanda, Otavalo, Ecuador
Phone Number:
Location: Ecuador > Imbabura Province > Otavalo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 13 Hotels in Otavalo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Casa Mojanda operates on the basis of a firm and ongoing commitment to the principles and practices of ecological tourism and contribution to the surrounding community. Casa Mojanda was designed to have a minimally intrusive impact on our local ecosystem and culture. We believe that ecotourism operations must at a minimum “do no harm,” and be sustainable socio-economically and environmentally, as well as harmonious with and actively supportive of indigenous traditions and cultures. When it comes to lodgings and resorts, we believe that small is beautiful. By keeping Casa Mojanda large in vision but small in scale, we are able to interact with our guests personally, and whenever there is interest, we will connect visitors with local schools, clinics and environmental projects. Each guest is a part of this ongoing process and your feedback and participation are most welcome. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Casa Mojanda Otavalo
Casa Mojanda Hotel Otavalo

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