Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hosteria Mandala -- The Only Place to Stay!

So many of you have asked where we stayed while in Puerto Lopez, so the secret is out: Hosteria Mandala. We call it our place in paradise while we were away from paradise. In fact, when we go back to Puerto Lopez, we won't consider staying at any other place!

We stayed at Mandala's "Butterfly Suite" which was a lot more room than we needed (sleeps six), but we were trying it out for future days when our family comes to visit. All of the rooms, suites and cabanas come with a private bath and a magical view. Our suite came with a terrace and an ocean view where we enjoyed many sunsets from our front-row seats!

Mandala isn't just a place to stay, it's an experience! The owners, Aurelio (who speaks Italian) and Maja (who speaks English, French, German and Swiss) are the world's innkeepers. Along with their excellent staff and family of four dogs, they make you feel at home as soon as you step inside the large reception area. Aurelio is a master at gardening, woodworking, sculpting, designing and painting. At every turn, you can see something that Aurelio has crafted into a magnificent work of art.

Puerto Lopez is a small fishing village that normally stays dormant except for the busy tourist season (June 15 - October 15) when the humpback whales make their debut into the warmer waters of Ecuador to "make babies." If you plan on visiting during those dates, you need to make your reservations well in advance!

Hosteria Mandala also assisted in all of the arrangements for our excursions to Isla de la Plata and Los Frailes. Alejandro, at the front desk, speaks perfect English and is quite helpful in making arrangements for day trips. And even if you don't want to do anything except lie in a hammock, read a book from their plentiful library or wander through the gardens, you’ll feel refreshed and invigorated.

We enjoyed all our meals at the Mandala (except for one) and we were never disappointed. Whether you enjoy seafood, Italian or a mixture of "Manabita" specialties, you will be amazed at the variety. The bakery items—especially the choice of fresh breads and desserts—are worth the trip alone. Every evening I had a standing order: "tres bolas de helado de coco" (three scoops of coconut ice cream). Aurelio is the only person that can make true gelato with the same creamy texture that we have come to adore from our life in Italy.

But it's the little things that make a place memorable! For us it meant service that was delivered seamlessly without even being aware of it. It's as if Maja and Aurelio read our minds and allowed us to enjoy the best vacation of our lives. We appreciated the abundance of beach towels and hammocks available at our disposal, picnic lunches made to order for our day excursions, luxurious bath soap instead of the usual "generic" variety, fresh aloe vera delivered to our room when they saw my blistering sunburn, and alert notices when there was going to be a spectacular sunset!

The Machalilla National Park is a huge playground, but there's only one place to stay—Hosteria Mandala!

Until next time....hasta luego!

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Hosteria Mandala
Malecon Julio Izurieta
Puerto Lopez, Manabi, Ecuador
Tel/fax: 05-230-0181
Cell: 09-951-3940

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maja said...

Thanks a lot for your big publicity!!!! See you soon.
Maja and Aurelio

Connie Pombo said...

You're welcome! We can't wait until June for our next visit. Un abrazo fuerte! ~ Connie and Mark

Leo Uzcategui said...

I have a friend who stayed at the Hosteria Mandala a few years ago and she loved it. I have checked it online and can't wait to visit there soon. It looks so pretty. How long has it been there?
Joyce Uzcategui

Connie Pombo said...

Hi Joyce, I'm not sure how long Mandala has been around, but certainly as long as we've been going (5 years now).

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