What do you picture when you hear the phrase “jungle lodge?” What you conjure up in your head probably looks nothing like Mashpi Reserve Lodge in Ecuador. And the jungle you imagine around it probably looks nothing like what surrounds this lodge.
Mashpi, in a huge private reserve of the same name, is literally in the clouds. In a cloudforest to be precise, with dripping vegetation clinging to trees full of birds. In this fountain of life sits a chic, modern design hotel that looks like it could have been plucked out of a major capital city. But then you look through the glass walls to a scene that feels a million miles from Quito. (In reality, it’s only about two and a half hours away.)
“Mealtimes at Mashpi are far better than you would expect in such an isolated location at the end of a long dirt road. The dramatic dining room, with a ceiling several floors above, has picture windows facing out to the forest and the passing misty clouds. What’s on the plate continually changes as well, a mix of Ecuadorian standards like empanadas and potato soup as well as an array of salads and international items. The homemade breads at all meals are excellent and the lunchtime ice cream bar has flavors made on site from local ingredients, some of them fruits you’ve probably never seen or tasted before.”
Yes the food is excellent, the nature guides experienced, and the rooms very plush for a nature reserve hotel. Again, you could get one of these rooms in a major world capital and be quite happy. Everything at Mashpi has been done with high quality in mind and there’s no place anything like it in the rest of the Americas.