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“Good Reason For Great Reviews”

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Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge
Ranked #6 of 29 Otavalo B&B and Inns
Stillwater, Oklahoma
Level 6 Contributor
188 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
“Good Reason For Great Reviews”
Reviewed 26 April 2014

Notice how many people gave Ali Shungu top ratings? There is a reason for that, and the owner makes sure it stays that way. He has been in the business in Otavalo for decades and is set on doing thing his own way.

"His own way" means construction to US standards, for one thing. That's neither easy nor cheap in Ecuador. The meals they serve are nothing short of gourmet, and basically all the ingredients are raised right on the lodge property.

The grounds of the lodge are a showplace, and the accommodations (you can't call them rooms) are palatial by local standards. I am only partly joking when I say ours was the same size as our home, but nicer.

You won't have to work to meet the owner, Francisco, or his wife Margaret, but if you somehow do not run into them make it a point to get to know them. They are US expats, but have been in Ecuador some 35 years. Both have outsize personalities and are a hoot to talk to.

The one downside to the place is location. If you want to be in a remote place with a view that is a good thing. If you were thinking of being able to walk downtown when you want, it's not. Plus, the road into the lodge is suitable only for SUVs. The owners are more than willing to shuttle you in and out, but unless you have high clearance of your own you will need to rely on their vehicle.

Room Tip: There are only 3 accommodations, all more or less equal. It might be a slight advantage to take the...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank GoOSUCowboys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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168 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Houston, Texas
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2014

I stayed here for two nights in February and oh how I wish it had been longer. Where do I start? The guest houses are just splendid with more amenities than you can imagine. The owners are a charming American couple who seem to delight in their guests and in making your stay a joyous one. The breakfasts and dinners rival the finest restaurants, lovingly prepared with fresh, organic ingredients. There are horses and llamas and dogs and cats and pigs. There are hiking trails and beautiful flowers. The view of the city from the mountaintop is unparalleled. I felt this was such a romantic setting – unfortunately wasted for me as I was traveling with a friend. Don’t be dissuaded by the fact that this amazing lodge is located a couple of miles from town. If you are visiting Otavalo, do not miss the chance to experience Ali Shungu!! And be sure to take a peek into Margaret’s onsite gift shop where you will find such lovely, unusual items that are unrivaled in the famous Otavalo market.

Room Tip: All rooms are perfect
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
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1 Thank 136ae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
Level 6 Contributor
283 reviews
116 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2014

This place is a GEM!! If you are looking for tranquil, for hospitality like no other, for peace and quiet, for a huge house (6 houses in total and you get an entire house to yourself with 2 bedrooms a kitchen and a bathroom), for fantastic food and amazing people, this is the place to be! My friend and I could not believe the size of our house which came fully equipped with fireplace, music and all the amenities of home. Yes, the road to get up to Ali Shungu may be a bit rough, it was never an issue as the very kind owner picked us up and always helped us arrange transportation. The food at the lodge is incredible, had the best best organic home grown raspberry juice ever, we absolutely LOVED it here. The owner went out of his way to help us make our experience memorable by taking us to the local school which their foundation supports, and distributing gifts to the children which we brought from home. My 3 year old daughter loved the interaction with the local kids and it was one of the most memorable experience of our lives.... if you go, there is a school nearby and the kids are always happy to receive gifts and their smiles are the greatest reward. WE also loved that the farm had animals, lamas, horses, dogs, all super friendly. If you go to Otavalo,don't stay anywhere else... we went there expecting an authentic experience and stayed first in the actual city.. we would have stayed here the entire time if we knew how amazing it will be. Loved loved loved the place and thank you to the owners for being amazing!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank GlobalCitizenM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
Level 6 Contributor
770 reviews
117 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 324 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 March 2014

My wife and I stayed here for four nights in early February, extending our stay because we enjoyed it so much. This is a quiet retreat 5 kms up a mountain (a $5 taxi ride) which overlooks the small town of Otavalo and has a magnificent view across the valley to the peaks of Volcan Imbabura.
We stayed in one of only four villas. Our villa was large (two bedrooms, with large comfortable beds), with a spacious living room that could have seated 10 people comfortably. The villa has large glass windows all around to enjoy the views but is situated such that one has a sense of complete privacy. The furniture and color scheme are a tasteful palate of Otalvalo chic (purples, greens, yellows). It reminded us of the décor in the Southwestern US like Sedona. The bathroom was equally spacious. Meals are taken in a cozy dining room with fireplace.
The meals are partly vegetarian but Frank and Margaret (the owners) are very accommodative. The breakfasts were outstanding (fresh fruit smoothies, eggs or French toast, homemade jams and breads. The salads and vegetables are grown on the premises. All our meals were delicious and ample.
We cannot recommend Ali Shungu highly enough. It is imbued with a calmness bordering on the spiritual. The two hour horseback ride around the surrounding forest was invigorating as was the 45 minute hike downhill into Otavalo. If you are there for the famed Saturday market, Frank will personally drive and escort you around. And Frank's insights and tips on what to see and do in the local area, as well as the culture and changes occurring in Ecuadorian society, were more valuable than our guidebook.
We'll certainly be back.

Room Tip: You can't go wrong with any of the 4 villas. They all have unobstructed sight lines across the v...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank RodMcLeod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Farmington, Maine
1 review
Reviewed 2 March 2014

My husband and I and another couple spent a thrilling and beautiful week at Ali Shungu in January 2014. The setting on the mountaintop is spectacular, the guest houses are elegant and yet fit in with the mountain scenery, the meals were delicious and were presented and served with much attention to detail. Owner and host Frank not only helps you decide what to see each day; he takes you down the mountain every morning, if you wish, and arranges for transportation when you are ready to come back "home" from town. He is a knowledgeable cultural and historical guide and a friend to many villagers and school children, all of whom clearly love him. There is no end to the countryside scenes, tiny villages, and artisans to visit. If you want to meet the local people and be a part of life there, Frank will make it happen. If you want to be a traditional tourist, he will help you do that.

Room Tip: There are several individual guest houses on the property, all beautiful and lovingly cared for, an...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank FlowerPlace22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 27 February 2014

I think this was our 5th time at the Lodge. We have been visiting Ecuador since the 70s and this place continues to delight. Our children now stay here when they travel in Ecuador. Generations of satisfied clients, Ali Shungu provides everything you desire in terms of comfort, and offers an experience with nature, culture and cuisine that will keep you coming back. At home, when I open my laptop, the background is a picture taken from the restaurant, out on to the mountains. It reminds me that I will continue going back to enjoy the beauty that Frank, Peg and their staff continue to offer.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Celeste B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 27 February 2014

Enjoyed three nights in a beautifully appointed 2 bedroom bungalow. Food was abundant and delicious and by the delightful daughter of Jose Maria, owner Frank's right hand man. Attention was paid to keeping the chill out of the air by loading the small wood stove. Frank escorted us to the animal market and helped us to understand the cultural context. He offered suggestions as to sights worth seeing in the area, accompanied us to the local laundry and arranged for it to be delivered back to the property. Margaret runs a lovely gift shop on the premises.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Patnevans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge

Property: Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge
Address: Imbabura, Otavalo 100450, Ecuador (Formerly Rancho Ali Shungu)
Region: Ecuador > Imbabura Province > Otavalo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 29 B&Bs / Inns in Otavalo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Travelers enjoy the tranquility and beauty of Andean Mountains and Culture in our warm and spacious guesthouses, surrounded by 40 acres of private gardens and forests ...all just a few minutes from the world famous markets of Otavalo. ... more   less 

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