Five Best: Luxury haciendas

The best Latin-style ranches around, in Europe and beyond
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The Independent Travel

Hacienda Cusin, Ecuador

Hacienda Cusin, Ecuador

Dapper Englishman Nicholas T Millhouse wanders the grounds of his 17th-century hacienda in Ecuador dressed in plus fours and a tweed jacket or vibrant red poncho. The Andean estate, close to the little market town of Otavalo, is made up of the white-walled and terracotta-tiled main house, and El Monasterio de Cusin, all towers, parapet and cloisters. An English country garden that blooms year-round is stocked with hollyhocks, foxgloves and orchids - and llamas grazing on the lawn. Through the large wood-panelled entrance hall hung with religious relics is the cosy bar and dining room complete with roaring log fire and tapestries on the walls. Dinner is served by candlelight to theatrical Gregorian chants, after which you can curl up in front of a selection of classic Fawlty Towers episodes. There are 44 guest rooms, suites and garden cottages, most with traditional kiva fireplaces and beamed ceilings, and furnished with Indian crafts from the surrounding villages.

Hacienda Cusin, San Pablo del Lago, Imbabura, Ecuador (00 593 6 918 013/316; www.haciendacusin.com). Doubles from $105 (£62) with breakfast Lucy Gillmore

Hacienda Los Lingues, Chile

Hacienda Los Lingues, in the heart of the Chilean wine-producing Cachapoal Valley, dates back to 1599 when King Felipe of Spain presented the estate to Don Melchor Jufre de Aguila, the mayor of Santiago. It is still in the same family today and is renowned for its stud farm, the oldest in South America. The Aculeo horses bred here are thought to be descended from the Berber horses taken by the Moors to Spain. Surrounded by tropical gardens, the main house, which dates from the 17th century, is decked with antiques, while the wooden floors were carved by Bavarian monks. Guests can stay in one of 18 rooms and suites and enjoy billiards, hunting, fly-fishing, water-skiing and, of course, horse-riding.

Hacienda Los Lingues, (00 56 2 235 5446; www.loslingues.cl). Double rooms cost from US$150 (£88) without breakfast LG

Hotel Hacienda Zorita, Spain

The rambling Hacienda Zorita is located in the Spanish wine-producing region of El Duero, 10km from Salamanca. Parts of the historic estate, which overlooks the banks of the River Tomes, date from 1328. It was meticulously renovated several years ago and now accommodates guests in 22 rooms in the "Casa Grande" and a further 19 rooms located in the neighbouring buildings, where the winery is based. Guests follow in the footsteps of Christopher Columbus, who lodged at the hacienda before he set off on his voyage to the New World. Wine buffs can join the daily tours and learn about the vineyard which has been in operation for more than 900 years. They can also visit the winery and the cellar, which boasts more than 2,000 bottles.

Hotel Hacienda Zorita, Valverdon, Salamanca. (00 34 923 129 400; www.haciendas-espana.com). Doubles from €117 (£80) without breakfast Aoife O'Riordain

La Hacienda del Buen Suceso, Gran Canaria

The Hacienda del Bueno Suceso is an 18th-century farm building turned luxury small hotel near Las Palmas. The hacienda became an 18-bedroom hotel six years ago, and guest rooms are decorated with carefully chosen antiques. Breakfast is served in the renovated "El Al Pende", where the cows used to be fed.

Hacienda del Buen Suceso, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (00 34 928 622 945; www.hotelhacienda.sitio.net). Doubles from €154 (£110) per room per night with breakfast A'OR

Hacienda Mahakua, Mexico

Hacienda Mahakua, cradled in the highlands of western Mexico, dates back to the late 19th century. Originally an Arabica coffee and sugar plantation built by a German planter, Arnoldo Vogel, and his Mexican wife, it is now a luxury Aman resort. The hacienda is set in elegant formal gardens inspired by Spain's Alhambra Palace with spectacular views stretching out towards Mexico's largest volcano, Volcan del Fuego. Rooms are located in a two-storey wing with its own courtyard, and have grand vaulted ceilings and balconies.

Hacienda Mahakua, Municipio de Comala, Colima, Mexico (00 52 312 313 4411; www.mahakua.com) Doubles from $1,157 (£680) full board LG

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