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“Warm Hospitality” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge

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Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge
Ranked #4 of 26 Otavalo B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
USA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Warm Hospitality”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 June 2014

Ali Shungu means good heart in the Quechua language and that is exactly the vibe we got from our hosts Frank and Margaret. They were both so very helpful and a wealth of information on the area. Frank took us into town and set up a taxi and everything for us. We became fast friends with Margaret and she took us to the Saturday market which was fantastic. Not something she does often I don't think but as I said we became fast friends. They are both so interesting and have done so much to help the indigenous people of the area.
We always love staying at boutique properties while traveling. We love the warmth and hospitality that they provide. Ali Shungu by far is the best we have stayed at in all our travels and there have been many. Everything exceeded our expectations and I mean everything. There is not one thing I can think of that was lacking. When we arrived the wood burning stove had a fire already started and there was very soothing flute music playing. The guest house was beautifully decorated with art that Margaret has collected in her travels. The guest house is very cozy and relaxing and the views from the huge windows are amazing. The volcano view is spectacular and is constantly changing throughout the day. The guest house is impeccably clean. Everything is on a large scale here, the guest house the views the shower the food the friendliness of the staff the helpfulness of Frank and Margaret and Jose Maria who lit our stove every morning and evening. The stove by the way kept the whole guest house nice and warm, you may actually have to kick a cover off at night, it keeps it that warm. The bed was very comfortable with plenty of blankets. The meals were delicious and so filling, I think we took leftovers home every evening. I cannot compliment the food enough it was all so delicious and very fresh. We had a different fresh juice every morning as well as freshly baked muffins and homemade jam along with fruit, eggs, toast and of course coffee.
I can't fail to mention Sarah, Paco and Pooka the two dogs and cat. They were such a joy. They waited for us to get up every morning, walked us to the hacienda for breakfast and waited, hoping they could take us for a tour around the property. They are always ready for a walk and Sarah will play fetch until your arm falls off. I think Pooka the cat thinks he's a dog too. He loves to be held and purrs like no other cat I have ever heard.
Also it is important to mention that we felt completely safe and secure here, which is very important for two females traveling alone. We left our guest house unlocked when we went to breakfast and toured the property. It made it easy for Jose Maria to go in and start our fire.
I will end by saying that we truly felt like we were leaving family when we left. Frank, Margaret, Jose Maria and all the animals were there to see us off, all of us hugging and saying our goodbyes, it was such a warm feeling. We made fast friends with them all. We will definitely return to The Ali Shungu in the future and highly, highly recommend anyone traveling in the area make this a must place to stay. One last thing, since our flight didn't leave until midnight, we were able to stay at the Ali Shungu until 7:00 pm which was so awesome. The no checkout is fantastic for late departure flights.
Ali Shungu and Frank and Margaret will always be a fond fond memory when we think of our travels in Ecuador.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank sandylynn1962
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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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Mayo
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 June 2014

Having been to the Galapagos we had another few days in Ecuador before we left for home. We decided to spend 3 days in Ali Shungu based on the excellent reviews, but were a little apprehensive about the location, and what would we get to do and see. We needn't have worried, from the moment we arrived we knew we had made the correct decision, and by morning we had booked for a further two days. Our accommodation was superb, a house almost as big as our own, with as much thought put into the decoration! The most satisfying feature was the stove, lighting when we arrived and maintained by Jose Marie while we were at dinner. It was magical lounging on the sofa, listening to Andean music, and bathing in the warmth of the fire.
Frank brought us to town, Otavalo, on our first morning and suggested some places to go and people to see, we had a great day, and did the same for all the days we were at Ali Shungu. We immersed ourselves in the experiences of the locality and in the same way that we were moved by the beauty of the Galapagos, with Franks help, we were equally excited and moved by the Andean experience and people. This was an experience we didn't expect and will never forget, for that we have to thank Frank, a true hotelier, though not in the conventional sense!
Finally, we have to say something about the food. It was superb. All sourced from the garden just below our accommodation, prepared and served with care and attention. We loved Ali Shungu and agree with all the other guests that have reviewed it, this place is magic.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank thetaMayo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Level Contributor
4 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 May 2014

In ALL of western South America it'll be near impossible to find a better - no, a more fantastic abode than this. Frank and Peg are extraordinary hosts, and the lodges and their views are PRICELESS!!!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Reiseführungen R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Northern NY
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 May 2014

Our family of 4 stayed 2 nights at Ali Shungu in April. It was wonderful in so many ways. The steep climb up the mountain road to the lodge means the views from the villa are breathtaking! Margaret and Frank (the owners) were extremely kind and helpful and were a trove of information on so many topics. They did much to orient us to our surroundings and help us plan our activities and adventures. The surroundings were beautiful to say the least. The accommodations were luxurious, spacious, comfortable, and decorated with warmth and style. The staff members were so accommodating and polite and always with a smile. The meals were prepared and presented so thoughtfully. One night our son fell and injured his leg. Frank was immediately available on the phone and Jose Marie, one of the staff members quickly arrived and drove us to a walk-in emergency clinic at the bottom of the mountain where our son was able to get exactly the care he needed. This would have been nerve racking to accomplish without Jose Marie and we are very grateful to him. Margaret has travelled extensively and has an amazing gift shop filled with treasures she has picked up along the way. Many special items there that will not be found in the Otavalo market. Our children (11 and 13) loved having the freedom to move around and explore the property. They especially loved spending time with the extremely friendly pets (2 dogs and kitten)…they were in their element. Meal times for breakfast and dinner were flexible to our needs and no set checkout time on day of departure added to the long list of elements that made our stay at Ali Shungu so very relaxing and nourishing.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mackie42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oakland, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 May 2014

Ali Shungu is indeed a treasure. I had read a rave review in Lonely Planet about it and the earlier Trip Advisor reviews, so I expected a nice place, but Ali Shungu was unique. We enjoyed every aspect of it--the charming "cottages" (bigger than our house) filled with beautiful art; the serene setting providing incredible views across the valley to the mountains; and the exceptional hospitality. Even though we were in Otavalo to explore the region's markets and artists' workshops, owners Frank and Margaret's entertaining storytelling made it hard to tear ourselves away from the lodge each day. Our 3-day stay (too short!) at Ali Shungu followed our outstanding trip to the Galapagos and it was the perfect way to ease back into "real" life. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: All of the rooms offer amazing views--you can't go wrong!
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank backpack45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami Beach, Florida
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 May 2014

We just arrived home from our wonderful trip to Ecuador. We were fortunate to have chosen Ali Shungu as our place to stay while in Otavalo. The owners, Frank and Margaret, were extremely helpful in guiding us as to where to go and places to see, and were so knowledgeable with the local culture. While Ali Shungu is somewhat remote, Frank and Margaret would always arrange transportation to wherever we wanted to go which made our daily excursions so easy and effortless. There are three bungalows which all have fabulous distant views of the Andes and volcanoes. The bungalows are huge (the size of most homes), clean and tastefully furnished. On our second day, the weather was so clear we were able to see the snow caps on some of the distant mountains. Finally, the food was great, locally grown, and we always looked forward to the next "surprise" meal. You will love their quinoa soup and stuffed zucchini.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jeffrey D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stillwater, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
186 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 139 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank GoOSUCowboys
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 #4 of 26 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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