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“Peaceful, yet close to everything”
Review of Casa Mojanda

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Casa Mojanda
Ranked #1 of 14 Hotels in Otavalo
Certificate of Excellence
Quito, Ecuador
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Peaceful, yet close to everything”
Reviewed October 12, 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
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1 Thank CarolNani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Brookline, MA
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed June 5, 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
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5 Thank triptaker8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed February 26, 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
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10 Thank jodiegoldstein
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Owners at Casa Mojanda, responded to this review, March 18, 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Casa Mojanda

Property: Casa Mojanda
Address: Apartado 160 | Km. 3.8 via a Mojanda, Otavalo 100450, Ecuador
Phone Number:
Location: Ecuador > Imbabura Province > Otavalo
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access 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 #1 of 14 Hotels in Otavalo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Casa Mojanda 3*
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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