Oh Ecuador – you are a beautiful place with some great ways of enjoying a proper soak. In this article I will talk about two spas that I was able to take advantage of in my very short time in Ecuador. One in Quito and one about an hour away from Quito.
I should first say that it was a pretty bumpy ride coming into the Quito airport. My understanding is that is one of the highest aiports in the world and the mountain winds make a a real challenge for pilots. But I did eventually make it. And promptly went to the Swiss Hotel!
If you get the chance this is a great place to stay – roses on the pillows, slippers, chocolates… and the spa!
Not only is there an indoor/outdoor pool, but there is a great dry sauna, a steam room and a hydrotherapy walk! It was such a pleasure to be in this hotel while I was there on business because it too the guess work out of finding a spa at night. I took full advantage of this lovely retreat.
The hydrotherapy walk could probably use some re-working to make it a little more accessible, but I love the fact that they thought about it. The dry sauna and steam room are in the individual gender change rooms. But both were sufficiently hot.
The entire experience at Swiss Hotel in Quito was unlike any hotel I had ever had before. It was a whole nother level of service and comfort! This hotel and spa was so great that I imagine it will appear in my ‘hotel spas’ page as well. The stay might get a little pricey, but I promise it is worth the indulgence. Just look at those roses!
If you are in Quito for work, make sure you set aside 1.5 days enjoy Papallacta. Okay it took me a little while to learn how to say this, but I’m pretty sure that any way you choose to get there (whether by taxi, rental car, bus, hitch hiking etc.), you need to learn the name. It’s: pa-pa-yack-ta. Such an amazing place I don’t even know where to start.
The drive up, and up, and up, is about an hour away from Quito. It seems that at one point you just get onto a road that ends in a misty mountain valley, at the end of which is our gem!
Hot springs, hot springs and more hot springs. And there are so many ways to enjoy them, which is why I’m going to lay out the options here.
Coming up the hill on the left side is the entrance to the public baths. There are about 15 different pools to choose from. The two previous photos are from this area, which really has all kind of nooks and crannies to enjoy.
This includes falling soaker pools for 2 terraced up a hill, to shallow hot pools with rocky pillows…
to secluded 10 person soakers, with an optional cold stream dip…
… to a steamer grotto, showers… a cafeteria… bubbly pools, kiddy pools
… no matter what your style, preference and even how many people are there, you are bound to find the perfect space at the public pools and be able to enjoy an entire day just soakin’ away.
I would say that the only thing missing was some indoor rest areas. Sure there is the restaurant and the store, but out of the water can get a little chilly.
The second choice is the private spa…
Offering treatments, like massages and facials, this is a great option for folks who want the full ride.
This part is, of course, more theraputic. you can see it in the pool designs. But it is not necessarily better. There are less pools to choose from, but more variety in terms of their function. They had a really nice pebble stone walk for foot therapy, pressure falls and very hot soakers.
I can’t remember if you can get into this part without booking a service. I think not, because I ended up booking 20 minutes in the steam grotto, which ended up be far, far better than the sad one in the public part.
The resting facilities were also a great bonus.
A third choice is to keep soaking into the late night and just stay over at the hotel. This, of course, was my choice.
I can’t even begin to say what a treat this is for the spa-lover. I would get a little chilled in the room, hop up and walk out my door, into the bliss.
Connected cabins surround a maze of hot springs that flow eternally throughout the night, in the morning, after dinner, before dinner, before breakfast… whenever you want. It’s just great to crawl into bed after warming up.
The food was good and the atmosphere cozy.
As I recall it was affordable – just over $100/night. But entirely worth it. You could probably at least spend two or three nights there without feeling bored. There are nice hiking trails around guided or solo. Bring a book and drink lots of water because this is a proper hot spring.