Stay the night: Hacienda Zuleta, Ecuador

You can live like a president in this Andes mansion. The family home of a former head of state of Ecuador is now welcoming paying guests

It's not often that you can say you've slept in a president's house. Yet, Hacienda Zuleta, set in the dizzy heights of the Andes, has been in the family of the late Galo Plaza Lasso, a former president of Ecuador, for more than 100 years.

Now the doors of this splendid 17th-century hacienda are open to paying guests, though the atmosphere remains less a hotel, more a luxurious home from home. Only two hours north of Quito, the hacienda sits in bucolic countryside, flanked by evergreen mountains and volcanic slopes. Rooms are furnished with colonial pieces and family heirlooms; log fires help to ward off the evening chill.

The hacienda is renowned for its stable of 100 horses, and the specially bred Zuleteños can be ridden by novices and expert equestrians alike. The fertile valley is a sublime setting for a gallop over high-altitude grassland, or a trot along pine-scented trails to the pre-Inca Caranqui pyramids.

The hacienda is the centrepiece of a 4,000-acre working farm, which includes a cheese factory, organic garden and trout farm. It's also the base for the Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation, which has set up a wild condor rehabilitation project on the estate, and funds numerous local community programmes.



The bedrooms

Most of the 15 delightful, quirkily shaped bedrooms are named after family members and decorated with old photographs and hand-embroidered linens. The beds are dressed with cosy blankets, and the ensuite bathrooms have large tubs – perfect for a long soak. By day, the rooms are light and airy and have views of the surrounding mountains or the grounds, some offering access to a private garden, terrace or the central cobbled courtyard.



The food and drink

The chef interprets recipes passed down through the generations to fuse artfully Ecuadorian tradition with international influence. At breakfast, the communal dining table is laden with jam from the fruit orchards, milk from the dairy, semi-aged handmade cheese, and freshly baked bread. At dinner, locro – a hearty potato soup served with hunks of avocado – might be followed by melt-in-the-mouth freshwater trout, or succulent steak served with organic vegetables, washed down with a fine South American wine.



The access

Children of all ages are welcome at the hacienda, but pets are not admitted. The rooms are accessible for guests with disabilities but they are not specially modified.

The extras

Offset the hacienda's gastronomic delights by riding, hiking, and biking along the numerous trails; see the endangered condors, or take a tour of the cheese factory, organic garden and farm, where you can try your hand at milking one of the mild-mannered Friesians. Zuleta village is famous for its exquisite embroidery, which you can buy from the on-site shop or in the village itself.



The bill

Rooms from $175 (£105) per person per night, excluding activities and alcohol. Last Frontiers (01296 653000; lastfrontiers.com) offers eight nights in Ecuador, with flights, transfers and accommodation at Hacienda Zuleta, from £1,990.



The address

Hacienda Zuleta, Angochagua, Imbabura Province, Ecuador (00 593 6 2662 182; zuleta.com).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Sport
Lionel Messi pictured after reaching the final
world cup 2014
Sport
Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller have shone brightest for Argentina and Germany respectively on their way to the World Cup final
Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

    Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

    The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
    The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

    The Open 2014

    Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?