24-Hour Room Service

Hacienda Cusin, Ecuador

When South American mayhem starts to wear you down, there is a haven in the Ecuadorian sierra where you can get away from it all and smell the hollyhocks. The 17th century Hacienda Cusin is owned by a dashing Englishman, Nicholas T Millhouse, who strides around the grounds in plus- fours and an old tweed jacket, followed by his faithful hound, Bolivar.

When South American mayhem starts to wear you down, there is a haven in the Ecuadorian sierra where you can get away from it all and smell the hollyhocks. The 17th century Hacienda Cusin is owned by a dashing Englishman, Nicholas T Millhouse, who strides around the grounds in plus- fours and an old tweed jacket, followed by his faithful hound, Bolivar.

The restored Andean estate, made up of the main house (all white walls and terracotta tiles) and El Monasterio de Cusin (complete with towers, parapet and cloisters) has an English country garden that blooms foxgloves, bougainvillaea and orchids all year round and has llamas grazing on the lawn. The entrance hall is of the grandiose kind with dark wood panelling, and the dining room has a roaring log fire and tapestries (dinner is served by candlelight to theatrical Gregorian chants).

A stay here is total escapism, with tea in the library, horse riding and a stock of Fawlty Towers videos to while away the hours. Guests who have been seduced by Cusin include Isabella Rosselini's ex, Jonathan Wiederman (who loved it so much he came back to marry his Icelandic girlfriend here).

Location, location, location

Hacienda Cusin is at San Pablo del Lago, Imbabura, Ecuador (00 593 6 918 013/316, fax 00 593 6 918 003 or e mail: hacienda@ cusin.com.ec).

Cusin is 90 minutes north of Ecuador's capital, Quito and just seven miles north of the equator. At 8,500ft it nestles beneath the Andean mountains of Cotocachi, Mojanda, and Imbabura, close to the famous market town of Otavalo where you can stock up on colourful jumpers, rugs and hammocks.

Transport

The Airport Shuttle between Quito and Cusin for 1-6 guests costs £57.50. A helicopter, if you're feeling flash, is a snip at £450. Public transport on the mountainous rollercoaster between Quito and Otavalo is a risky business but if you're feeling brave, buses from the depot in Quito's Old Town stop nearby.

Are you lying comfortably?

There are 40 guest rooms, suites and garden cottages, each with a private bathroom, garden and mountain views. The sturdy wooden beds have crisp, white cotton sheets and the softest pillows imaginable. Most of the rooms have traditional kiva fireplaces and beamed ceilings, and are furnished with local crafts.

What to book: Ask for the Dueno's Suite with its antiques and crafts and a portrait of "Senor Nik" in a stylish red poncho. Number 25 has its own roof terrace, private garden and a tower from which you can see the landscape immortalised by the 19th century painter, Frederic Church.

It's all in the details

The great thing about staying here is that numerous excursions can be arranged on site. Trips to the Galapagos start from £385 per person (plus a £240 airfare) and trips to the Amazon start at £400. You can go hill walking and horse riding (£8 per hour) or visit local villages to see traditional craftsmen.

The bottom line

A single room costs £45, a double £63, including full American breakfast. Lunch and dinner are a bargain £9 each and the delicious home-cooked fare is all fresh.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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

    Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

    £25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-Qualified Accountant) - Manchester

    £23000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Day In a Page

    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell