Two-and-a-half hours from Quito, Mashpi Lodge is a wondrous, modern escape in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes cloud forests. Featuring external walls of glass and steel and designed with the latest techniques in sustainable development, the lodge gives guests a front-row seat in one of the world's most biodiverse areas. The 22 rooms and suites feel like luxurious cocoons, with walls of windows looking out on the cacophony of trees, vines, and birds just a few feet away. The three Yaku Suites are extra spacious and feature Philippe Starck-designed bathtubs with unobstructed views of the forest. On the first floor, a reading area offers a large selection of books about the country for guests to peruse, as well as a computer with Internet access (Wi-Fi is available throughout the lodge). Guides and the resident biologist also use this area for talks and presentations. In a wellness area, an open-air Jacuzzi offers the perfect place to relax at the end of the day, and an adjoining room
is used for massages and treatments performed with natural local ingredients. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are gourmet affairs featuring regional cuisine prepared with fresh local products and served in the stunning two-story dining room. Daily excursions with professional guides are included in the stay and range from trips on a treetop aerial tram (opening in May 2013) to treks along nature trails, dips in waterfalls, and night walks.