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- Reviews: 499
Hacienda Manteles: Warm Hospitality, at the Top of the World
The Hacienda piqued my curiosity through its web site, and I exchanged a couple of emails with a señorita in Quito, whom I realized later is the owner's daughter.
The first afternoon, before dinner, I went on a hike with Don César, the owner of the Hacienda. He is a well traveled man who once had an office at the World Trade Center in New York. Walking through the brush and the mud with this elegant, refined yet forceful gentleman was an experience. In flawless English, he explained me his plan to combine eco-tourism and organic farming, and how he was trying to convince the other farmers in the valley.
When he started talking politics, I felt like I was with a perfectly suave James Bond villain, planning to take over the world with organic farming. Don César is just wonderful, and he will take over your life if you let him. His wife, Doña Guadalupe, has the kind and patient face of one who has heard many ideas taking shape. And his henchman Ernesto, a reformed beach bum, also has as many stories to tell as you are willing to hear.
Ecuador is, notoriously, a country where few individuals own a lot of land. A stay at Hacienda Manteles allows you to meet such an individual, who happens to work hard at improving conditions in his valley.
The large rooms of the Hacienda Manteles are very comfortable, with lots of blankets to ward off the damp chill in the air. The bathrooms are great and the hot water plentiful. The common areas have roaring fireplaces.
The food is good, but not tipica enough for me. The other visitors, if there are any, are likely to be Europeans.
Transportation to Baños can be arranged, but it will pad up your bill. My room was $49/night, including breakfast. Dinner or lunch is $12, and the pickup to Baños is $50 r/t.
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