My boyfriend and I stayed one night at Hacienda La Cienega in August 2007. His parents are from Quito, and apparently La Cienega is well known to the locals with virtually all middle- to upper-class Quitenos making a visit at some point. So his mom booked us the room.
Although his grandmother warned us that she had heard the hacienda had "gone downhill" in the last few years, we were pleasantly surprised to find a very organized and adept Colombian woman manager (Senora Gladys) who had the operation running in top form, as far as we could tell.
We had heard the older rooms in the original hacienda (which is 400 years old) were worth staying in and more interesting and attractive than those in the newer section of the house so we requested one. It was very small and located along the front of the hacienda, with a balcony overlooking the parking area and horse pasture. It was not what I would call "luxury" (no pillow top mattress, no TV, and only basic bathroom necessities), but it was clean, quiet, and perfectly comfortable. It was also decorated with what appeared to be antique furniture.
Regarding sleeping, bring WARM pajamas! There is no heat in the rooms, but there are small space heaters and thick blankets on the beds. However, it's pretty darn chilly when you first climb into bed, and I would say that's true probably most of the year, regardless of season.
We wandered up two levels of stairs and discovered the open Honeymoon and Presidential Suites, which were far nicer than our piddly room (both in decor and amenities). I think if I'd been there on my honeymoon (and had money to burn), I'd want to stay in one of these rooms.
The restaurant is wonderful. The cafe con leche is absolutely memorable, as was the chicken ravioli and the locra potato soup. The staff is also superb and was always ready with refills and polite and hasty service. There was also an Andean band playing in the evening at dinner service, which was very nice.
Finally, we went horseback riding and had a great time. We signed up for two hours, but the guide took us out for more than three hours (and didn't charge us extra). Although the horses appeared a wee bit skinny, they were generally healthy, and it only cost $7/hour per person, which I understand is much less expensive than in other parts of Ecuador. The ride took us all over the poor rural areas surrounding the hacienda and provided us the ability to see the way people lived off the main roads in farming areas, which I found very valuable, if not a bit heartbreaking.
In sum, I highly recommend this hacienda. It's in a great location for outdoor activities around Cotopaxi, the staff is wonderful, and it has an antique charm that is hard to find in most hotels.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- One of the oldest colonial properties in Ecuador, this 300 year old hacienda is located in the skirts of Cotopaxi, it's made of volcanic stone walls of two meters of thickness. Turned into a hotel in 1982, when it opened its doors to offer the visitor the poetry of a time and the nature of the zone, La Cienega is an unforgettable memory of The Andes. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Cienega Hotel Cotopaxi Province
- La Cienega Cotopaxi
- Hacienda La Cienega Ecuador/Lasso, Cotopaxi