La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa is probably one of Ecuador's best kept secrets. It is a luxuriant oasis located on the grounds of an old 200 acre Ecuadorian Hacienda, roughly two hours drive from Quito on the outskirts of the delightful town of Cotacachi, otherwise known as the "Leather Town."
The hotel consists of several individual cottages interspersed around the lush and beautiful gardens situated on the property. These gardens are known to be home to over 48 species of birds which have been observed at various times. Graceful peacocks flaunt their plumage and walk undeterred among guests in the gardens who are greeted upon arrival with a "Welcome Refreshment" consisting of ingenious concoctions of fruit juices and herbs. My welcome drink consisted of a mixture of fresh basil, pineapple and lemon juices which might sound strange but was superb!
The name "La Mirage" is reference to a "Hidden Secret" and when you find this hidden secret, you will be most impressed. It has not received the Relais et Chateaux designation undeservingly. Some 26 years of hard work by the owners to achieve perfection is noted in one detail after another. The staff are fabulous and their command of English is excellent. You feel like you are being treated as royalty and ... you are! One of the lesser known facts is that La Mirage was host to the Queen of Spain during a visit of hers to Ecuador.
A culinary experience at La Mirage is a delight to any palate and where else would you find such unusual details that make your dining experience unique and worthwhile such as a chef's complimentary appetizer served in a wooden music box? Fresh herbs and local organic ingredients make the dishes in the dining room something to remember and the breakfast buffet is not to be missed.
The public areas of the hotel and guest rooms are filled with antiques and antique reproductions, so tastefully decorated you would think you are in a European castle! Grand beds with canopies and real wood burning fireplaces within the rooms make for wonderful ambiance and restful sleep. There is Direct satellite TV with countless selections of music channels to prepare you for your evening rest. And ... the grand bathrooms with lavender infused toiletries and fresh lavender flowers sprinkled around will ensure you rest well. The fresh lavender is organically harvested from the enormous bushes located along some of the walkways throughout the gardens.
The spa is well worth a visit and a traditional Ecuadorian Shamana is on site to provide a genuine experience of Andean culture that you will not forget. A large swimming pool, every kind of spa related therapy, as well as the traditional Andean Shamanic healing is available, all of which far exceed expectations. I would sincerely recommend a "Purification" with Estella, the spa's Shamana!
On site also is a gift shop filled with locally crafted items. Many items are exceedingly unique designs created by the brilliant artistic sense of one of the owners, Senor Jorge Espinosa. Garments with intricate and delicate leather cut out designs sewn on to them, colourful and joyful masks that make one think of Carnival, beautiful jewellery made from silver and coastal Ecuador sea shell as well as many other superb creations are worth taking a look at and considering to bring home as souvenir or gift.
I would return to La Mirage in an instant and I give it full marks--it is a little piece of heaven, is not a "mirage" at all, but is an Ecuadorian oasis where I know I can rest, be comfortable and receive a little bit of pampering!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- La Mirage is a contemporary resort built on the grounds of a 200-year-old hacienda. Wander through the extraordinary fragrant hummingbird-filled gardens, watching peacocks strolling by. Enjoy delightful regional and international cuisine. Relax in the unique and elegant spa for a variety of 11 different treatments. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Mirage Garden Hotel Cotacachi
- La Mirage Garden Hotel And Spa
- La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa Ecuador/Cotacachi