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“highly highly recommended fantastic experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge

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Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge
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Imbabura, Otavalo 100450, Ecuador (Formerly Rancho Ali Shungu)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 21 Otavalo B&B and Inns
Toronto
Top Contributor
163 reviews 163 reviews
64 hotel reviews
Reviews in 81 cities Reviews in 81 cities
125 helpful votes 125 helpful votes
“highly highly recommended fantastic experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2014

This place is a GEM!! If you are looking for tranquil, for hospitality like no other, for peace and quiet, for a huge house (6 houses in total and you get an entire house to yourself with 2 bedrooms a kitchen and a bathroom), for fantastic food and amazing people, this is the place to be! My friend and I could not believe the size of our house which came fully equipped with fireplace, music and all the amenities of home. Yes, the road to get up to Ali Shungu may be a bit rough, it was never an issue as the very kind owner picked us up and always helped us arrange transportation. The food at the lodge is incredible, had the best best organic home grown raspberry juice ever, we absolutely LOVED it here. The owner went out of his way to help us make our experience memorable by taking us to the local school which their foundation supports, and distributing gifts to the children which we brought from home. My 3 year old daughter loved the interaction with the local kids and it was one of the most memorable experience of our lives.... if you go, there is a school nearby and the kids are always happy to receive gifts and their smiles are the greatest reward. WE also loved that the farm had animals, lamas, horses, dogs, all super friendly. If you go to Otavalo,don't stay anywhere else... we went there expecting an authentic experience and stayed first in the actual city.. we would have stayed here the entire time if we knew how amazing it will be. Loved loved loved the place and thank you to the owners for being amazing!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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137 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (38)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
145 reviews 145 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2014

My wife and I stayed here for four nights in early February, extending our stay because we enjoyed it so much. This is a quiet retreat 5 kms up a mountain (a $5 taxi ride) which overlooks the small town of Otavalo and has a magnificent view across the valley to the peaks of Volcan Imbabura.
We stayed in one of only four villas. Our villa was large (two bedrooms, with large comfortable beds), with a spacious living room that could have seated 10 people comfortably. The villa has large glass windows all around to enjoy the views but is situated such that one has a sense of complete privacy. The furniture and color scheme are a tasteful palate of Otalvalo chic (purples, greens, yellows). It reminded us of the décor in the Southwestern US like Sedona. The bathroom was equally spacious. Meals are taken in a cozy dining room with fireplace.
The meals are partly vegetarian but Frank and Margaret (the owners) are very accommodative. The breakfasts were outstanding (fresh fruit smoothies, eggs or French toast, homemade jams and breads. The salads and vegetables are grown on the premises. All our meals were delicious and ample.
We cannot recommend Ali Shungu highly enough. It is imbued with a calmness bordering on the spiritual. The two hour horseback ride around the surrounding forest was invigorating as was the 45 minute hike downhill into Otavalo. If you are there for the famed Saturday market, Frank will personally drive and escort you around. And Frank's insights and tips on what to see and do in the local area, as well as the culture and changes occurring in Ecuadorian society, were more valuable than our guidebook.
We'll certainly be back.

Room Tip: You can't go wrong with any of the 4 villas. They all have unobstructed sight lines across the v...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Farmington, Maine
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014

My husband and I and another couple spent a thrilling and beautiful week at Ali Shungu in January 2014. The setting on the mountaintop is spectacular, the guest houses are elegant and yet fit in with the mountain scenery, the meals were delicious and were presented and served with much attention to detail. Owner and host Frank not only helps you decide what to see each day; he takes you down the mountain every morning, if you wish, and arranges for transportation when you are ready to come back "home" from town. He is a knowledgeable cultural and historical guide and a friend to many villagers and school children, all of whom clearly love him. There is no end to the countryside scenes, tiny villages, and artisans to visit. If you want to meet the local people and be a part of life there, Frank will make it happen. If you want to be a traditional tourist, he will help you do that.

Room Tip: There are several individual guest houses on the property, all beautiful and lovingly cared for, an...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2014

I think this was our 5th time at the Lodge. We have been visiting Ecuador since the 70s and this place continues to delight. Our children now stay here when they travel in Ecuador. Generations of satisfied clients, Ali Shungu provides everything you desire in terms of comfort, and offers an experience with nature, culture and cuisine that will keep you coming back. At home, when I open my laptop, the background is a picture taken from the restaurant, out on to the mountains. It reminds me that I will continue going back to enjoy the beauty that Frank, Peg and their staff continue to offer.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2014

Enjoyed three nights in a beautifully appointed 2 bedroom bungalow. Food was abundant and delicious and by the delightful daughter of Jose Maria, owner Frank's right hand man. Attention was paid to keeping the chill out of the air by loading the small wood stove. Frank escorted us to the animal market and helped us to understand the cultural context. He offered suggestions as to sights worth seeing in the area, accompanied us to the local laundry and arranged for it to be delivered back to the property. Margaret runs a lovely gift shop on the premises.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2014 via mobile

Ali Shungu has it all. The cabins are huge, full of comfortable furniture and wonderful art, well equipped and the views! Huge corner picture windows offer views of the valley below and the mountains and volcanoes above. The main bedroom looks into the beautiful garden. The coffee is great, the food is varied, delicious and the portions should satisfy even the hungriest person. The hosts are friendly and gracious and do a lot to contribute to their community.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2014

My wife started crying when we arrived to Ali Shungu and saw the view of the giant volcano in the near distance. As we stared at the incredible view from the window in our guesthouse, we were warmed by a wood fire that had been started for us, and we listened to soothing Andean music that was playing on the stereo. Our guesthouse had two bedrooms – a private room for two in the front with a view of the volcano and farm, and another much larger room in the back with two double beds and one single. The back room had a view of the vast wildflower garden that surrounds the house and lines a stone walkway to the main lodge. There was a full kitchen, large tile bathroom with a walk-in shower, and a comfortable and wonderfully-decorated sitting room with a wood-burning stove. The firewood was collected from the sustainable eucalyptus groves that surround the entire property and also give the lodge a profound sense of privacy.

Breakfast and dinner were served in the main lodge, which had a sitting room and three large tables for guests. The cooks prepared delicious vegetarian meals and also had quality local meats to offer. There were lots of fresh fruit and juices, and Margaret even brews her own black raspberry wine. You definitely should try the French toast at breakfast.

The owners, Frank and Margaret, are very special people. Thy have lived with the community for 30 years and know everything about the region. Thanks to their efforts, when building the lodge, they built a water system that not only serves the lodge but also the 5 indigenous communities that surround them on the mountain who had no running water beforehand. Frank can help guide you to whatever you want to see and do while in and around Otavalo - whether it’s touring the Otavalo market and visiting the best textile weavers, wood makers, and leather artisans in the region; hiking in the nearby bio-reserves; or touring their own organic farm that produces food for the lodge guests. Margaret also runs a gift shop on the premises that sells indigenous wares she's been collecting for 30 years. She carries masks, dolls, textiles, jewelry, wood carvings, and much more. We toured the markets and visited nearby artisan communities, and I can assure you that you won’t find better quality gifts elsewhere. They just aren’t made anymore. The lodge can arrange for an SUV to drive you to the lodge from Quito, or the airport, as well as for day trips. Our driver Fabián was incredible - very friendly, extremely knowledgeable, and a very safe driver. He speaks some English, but it was great speaking with him in Spanish - he knows so much about the region. I can't recommend him more highly.

Our stay at Ali Shungu lodge, and our conversations with Frank and Margaret – and their lovely staff – made our time in Otavalo a magical and memorable experience. We highly recommend Ali Shungu Eco-lodge to anyone who is looking for a relaxing getaway.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge

Address: Imbabura, Otavalo 100450, Ecuador (Formerly Rancho Ali Shungu)
Location: Ecuador > Imbabura Province > Otavalo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 21 B&Bs / Inns in Otavalo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Travelers enjoy the tranquility and beauty of Andean Mountains and Culture in our warm and spacious guesthouses, surrounded by 40 acres of private gardens and forests ...all just a few minutes from the world famous markets of Otavalo. ... more   less 

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