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For anyone wanting an authentic Andean experience just an hour and a half from Quito, Hacienda la Alegria is the perfect luxury hotel, with a welcome so warm it feels like staying in someone’s home.
To be strictly accurate, you actually are staying in owners Patricia and Gabriel's home, where some meals are served and guests can relax before retiring to one of the ten rooms in the two-storey guest wing. Go for one of the first floor rooms for big views across the garden and out towards the soaring Andes beyond although bath lovers should request one of the family rooms on the ground floor as they are the only rooms with baths. The guest wing is also home to the dining room, a sitting room and terrace with hot tub. Every evening, guests meet for cheese and wine before eating together, family style, and enjoying set menus of delicious fresh Ecuadorian specialities.
Back in the main house, the whole homestay feel is enhanced in the main sitting room with its roaring fire, photos of the family and books about the Andes dotted around. Guests eat breakfast together in the breakfast room and it's all very traditional, cosy and comfortable.
Hacienda la Alegria is a working dairy farm and guests can see the place in action or enjoy beautiful walks and caving, but the real draw here is riding. The owners breed their own horses and now have 60, including criollos, andalusians, arabs and thoroughbreds. The hotel provide helmets and chaps and can arrange day rides or even longer trips with overnight stays in other haciendas and estancias.