El Monte seemed like a lovely place - the pictures were lovely, and the reviews overall were good. My sister and I booked the a cabin for a weekend stay, and although there were several positive aspects, I absolutely would not recommend it.
A lot of the reviews talked about the owners, and about how lovely and helpful there were. I cannot comment on that, as the owners were away for our entire stay. The woman who was left to run the lodge was genuinely nice, however she didn't have a lot of the information (how much an extra meal would cost, etc.) that one would expect from the person in charge.
To confirm our reservation, we had to either go to the office in Quito or make a transfer at the local bank. When we called the lodge to book, we were NOT told about the office. We were told that the only way to reserve a space was to go to the bank, so although it took a lot of time to do so, we completed the bank transfer, photographed our receipt and emailed it to the interim manager. Except she didn't check email, and when we called her to confirm she had received it, she said she didn't have email access after 5 pm, and she told us to bring our receipt with us.
The lodge was empty save for one other guest, and I don't know why we couldn't just have paid cash once we arrived - it would have saved us an immense amount of trouble.
The food was good, and Fernando was a wonderful guide. The extra activities (outside the lodge - butterflies and ziplining) were lovely, and the grounds and buildings were stunning.
We left the lodge with mixed feelings. It was a beautiful experience, but for the price we paid, we had expected a smoother-run operation: The interim manager seemed ill-equipped to handle guest needs: When we asked for seconds at one meal, we were told that the lodge didn't have enough food. When we arrived back after zip-lining in the rain, we spent almost half an hour huddled across the river, waiting for someone to hear our call and let us onto the property.
The accommodations were gorgeous, and they had obviously been cleaned - however, not necessarily right before we arrived. The other guest found a dead cockroach on her bed, and we too found several dead insects in the battub, floor and sink. We understand that this is an Eco-Lodge, but a quick sweep before our arrival would have made a huge difference.
When we went to the washroom to brush our teeth before going to bed, we saw several large, reddish-brown cockroaches scurrying in and out of the walls. When we mentioned this to the interim manager the next day, she confirmed that there were indeed sometimes cockroach problems, and said that because the owners preferred not to use chemicals, they were difficult to get rid of. While I understand this, a cockroach infestation is something that guests should be warned of prior to accepting payment for a reservation.
We went on to our next hotel - the Quito Radisson - and when we opened our toiletries bag in the evening, three huge cockroaches ran out. Instead of the relaxing evening we had anticipated, we instead spent the time changing rooms and arranging with hotel staff for all of our luggage to be taken away and fumigated (a hotel Radisson requirement). We were also informed that we would likely be charged with costs associated with bringing these insects into the hotel.
We immediately called both of the numbers on the Eco Lodge's webpage, and did not receive a response. We will try them again tomorrow, and try their office, but this experience has significantly tainted our overall impression of the weekend.
For the record, we are avid Ecotourists - we are not adverse to a few bugs and have come home with over 30 mosquito bites apeice, which we wear proudly. However, a cockroach infestation that follows you home - as well as the other frustrations mentioned in this review - is not acceptable.
We left the Eco Lodge this afternoon and went to our next stop, the
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- El Monte Sustainable Lodge is an ecotourism destination in every sense of the word. We emphasize nature here at El Monte, in the form of birdwatching and observation of wildlife in general. Aside from the natural focus of our lodge, we also supply many of the vegetables, eggs and more from our organic garden. Most of our energy is supplied by a microhydro plant. We are located in a 110 acre reserve that is close to the Mindo-Nambillo Reserve of over 40,000 acres. At only 3 kilometers from the town of Mindo we are within access of many the activities, such as the Butterfly Garden, Ziplines, White-water Tubing, waterfalls and more. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- El Monte Hotel Mindo