Need to know
22, including three Yaku suites.
10am, but flexible. The hotel’s transfer departs at 1.30pm: if you miss it, you must arrange your own transport for an extra charge. Earliest check-in, 4pm.
Double rooms from $1098.00, excluding tax at 24 per cent.
Rates include all meals and soft drinks, guided activities (walks, birdwatching, nature encounters, Sky Bike, Life Center, waterfalls and Hummingbird Garden) within the reserve, use of rain ponchos and boots, and transfer to and from four hotels in Quito.
Attend a butterfly briefing in the Life Centre to get up to speed on the area’s lepidoptera. If that’s not to your taste, a chocolate-sampling session might appeal. Your philanthropic side with be soothed on learning that a stay here supports the Cree Ecuador project – an initiative to create jobs for local villages – and ongoing research at the Life Centre. Glide almost silently below, through and above the canopy on the Dragonfly gondola ($40 a person a stay for all activities that use this aerial tram; $20 for under-12s) as one of the lodge's expert guides will help you spot birds, animals, rivers and waterfalls from your unique vantage point.
At the hotel
Spa and wellness centre, open-air viewing platform and terrace, garden, lounge, library, boutique, research centre, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: air-conditioning, free bottled water.
Our favourite rooms
To overlook the rainforest from a Philippe Starck-designed tub with your date, book into one of the sprawling Yaku suites. Wayra Rooms 21 and 23 sit on the second floor, enjoying the same verdant sights as the suites and are just a short stroll from the terrace.
There is no pool: soak in the spa’s soothing Jacuzzi, or splash about by the forest’s hidden waterfalls.
The spa’s Jacuzzi allows glimpses of the rainforest through slatted wooden panels. Therapists practice traditional massages in a small adjoining treatment room, using nutrient-packed forest finds – mud, stones, herbs and leaves – to revive guests.
It may not be sexy, but non-slip socks will aid forest treks. Natural insect repellent is vital too. If you forget anything, the hotel’s boutique sells zippered khakis, multi-pocketed vests, waterproofs, torches, straw hats and local handicrafts and goodies.
Public areas and the ground-floor Wayra Rooms are wheelchair accessible. Visitors to Ecuador are required to show proof of either public or private health insurance upon entering the country. Without this, you could be denied entrance.
Leave pets at home: they’re walking puma snacks here. See more pet-friendly hotels in Andean Highlands.
Rainforest rambling is suited to juniors, tweens and upwards. Some Wayra Rooms (on the ground and second floor) interconnect. Restaurant staff can set up high chairs and heat milk, there are baby-changing facilities, and chefs can prepare kids’ meals.
The Lodge was sustainably built offsite, runs on hydroelectric power and uses recycled water from local rivers. Conservation projects are run from the hotel’s research centre, and staff are hired from nearby villages. Excursions are low impact and sustainable dining is preached here. Guests are asked to be eco-conscious: turn room lights off during the day and take used batteries home.