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.
- 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