I stayed at The Hosteria Rose Cottage for a total of 12 nights (after originally planning only a weekend stay) in March, 2014. Without exaggeration I can say that it’s one of the most wonderful places I’ve ever stayed in over 40 countries of world travel. If you go in with the right expectations (it’s NOT the Ritz-Carlton Hotel or your favorite Manhattan restaurant…..and a dog with muddy paws WILL jump on you), it’s not to be missed when travelling in this region.
Located on a mountainside a few kilometers ($3.00 cab ride) from Otavalo, the Rose Cottage setting is heavenly. Amongst abundant flowers and manicured lawns, you can sit on a hammock and gaze across endless hills, with several volcanoes visible on a clear day. It’s the kind of place where you can just chill for days or weeks at a time reading a few good novels….or writing one.
The place is owned by an Ecuadorian woman named Rosa, who splits her time between Ecuador and London. Fortunately she was at the Rose Cottage when I was there. At first she can be a bit bossy and abrupt, but after getting to know her she was a wonderful host. Her assistants are Carlos and Guadaloupe, who are delightful, but speak zero English. I’m not sure how the place runs when Rosa is absent.
Service-wise, they really went out of their way for me….opening the kitchen and cooking a late dinner on the night of my arrival, escorting me and other guests on a great day trip to Peguche Waterfall and Cotacachi Volcano and providing a free ride to the bus station on my departure. Again, not sure if any of this happens when Rosa is not there.
The accommodation at the Rose Cottage can range from a spacious private cabin to a mini cottage to private rooms and dorms. All that I saw looked absolutely charming, but I opted for a single room in the main building above the dining area for an amazing $15 per night. The room was simple, but clean and comfy and featured a view to die for. Bathrooms were spotless, but hot water wasn’t always consistent. WiFi was very good in my room and decent at my favorite hammock spot, but could be weaker further away from the main buildings.
Food at the Rose Cottage was simple, but excellent (for a budget style place) and served in the communal dining hall. A basic breakfast of tea/coffee, fresh juice, bread and jam is included…and I have to laugh at the reviews that complain about the free breakfast…it’s FREE for goodness sakes. For $3.00 more you can add an omelet or pancakes…which I did every day. A couple of dinner options were available each night for $7.00. I had spaghetti Bolognese pretty much every night until Rosa offered to go to the market and make me special meals of chicken, beef, etc. Included were potatoes, rice, salad and dessert.
As for activities, the main attraction is the famous Otavalo Saturday Market, which is a must see. Even on non-market days, Otavalo is a nice town to walk around. Nearby the Rose Cottage are several nice hikes, including Taxobamba Falls and a lovely alternative route into town. Further afield are many adventures including volcanos, lakes and waterfalls. On-site at the Rose Cottage is a tennis court which is in disrepair and pretty much useless and supposedly a television room…which I never saw because I didn’t come to someplace this beautiful to watch television. Really though, the best activity is just sitting with a dog (or two), smiling at a horse and enjoying the views. Just intoxicating!
I have to make a special mention of perhaps my favorite aspect of the Rose Cottage experience….the wonderful four-legged hosts. The property has a veritable petting zoo of animals (horse, donkey, sheep, dogs, etc) and for an animal lover they alone make a visit worthwhile. My favorite was the little white dog named Mattheo. The muddy pawed scoundrel followed me everywhere (and if he invites himself into your room you can blame me, as I let him sleep in my room on a few rainy nights). Also, while I was there, a skinny brown mutt followed me home one day and appeared to adopt the place as his new home (much to Mattheo’s disgust….he definitely didn’t want to share his territory!) I named the new dog “Santa’s Little Helper” and Rosa promised they would care for him after I left…so I hope he was smart enough to stick around and behave himself.
The only animal that seemed to be missing was the ubiquitous South American alpaca. So, Rosa said that if I stayed until the following weekend that she would buy an alpaca at the Saturday market---so I stayed, and she kept her promise. That day, after much bargaining, she bought a new alpaca we named “Prince Charming” as well as a little black sheep we named “Othello”. Certainly a once in a lifetime experience!
Anyway, I don’t usually write such long reviews, but the Rose Cottage is a magical place. It’s not the Ritz, but in the backpackers price category it’s hard to top. I always say that the world is so big that I don’t have time to visit anyplace more than once…..but someday I’ll return to the Rose Cottage. I love the place that much, and someday when I return I only hope that Mattheo and Santa’s Little Helper will be there to greet me, muddy paws and all.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- HOSTERIA ROSE COTTAGE - A retreat in the heart of the Andes, and the perfect place for exploring the region’s attractions!Rose Cottage is an idyllic Hosteria with wonderful views in a rural setting overlooking the town of Otavalo, 3 kilometers away. Situated at an altitude of 2,800 metres, you’ll find it easy to forget that ten minutes down the road is the hive of activity of Otavalo, home to Ecuador’s most celebrated indigenous market. Our relaxed atmosphere and large open spaces make us popular with backpackers, couples and families alike.With seven different houses we have accommodation to suit all budgets. We offer a fully equipped family house, romantic chalet and a luxury apartment as well as double and single rooms (some with fireplace) and a comfortable dorm. Campers are also welcome. As well as a being an ideal base for independent travellers visiting the region, we are ideal for groups, parties, meetings, weddings, educational tours and learning Spanish.HOSTERIA ROSE COTTAGE OFFERS –- Attractive, affordable accommodation- Comfortable dormitory with TV room, safe storage & book exchange- Beautiful family house with stunning view & fireplace- Luxury cottage/suites with private fireplaces- Attractive restaurant with fireplace, terrace and live music- Spacious Library/meeting room with seating for 30- Hammocks, camping & outdoor log fire- Painting materials and musical instruments available- Friendly animals on site- Picturesque walks/horserding from Hosteria- Tennis court/table-tennis ... more less
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