Hold tight for a bumpy ride up the potholed gravel road to Hacienda Rumiloma (at the end of Obispo de la Madrid; 593-2-320-0953; haciendarumiloma.com), more than 10,000 feet up the slopes of the Pichincha Volcano, literally above the clouds. The jarring ride is well worth it for a romantic dinner overlooking the city. Outfitted in a hodgepodge of Baccarat chandeliers, booths made of thick slabs of worn wood and antique chairs covered in woven fabrics, the restaurant offers a luxurious, rustic feel, with a wood-burning stove in one corner and a baby grand piano in another. Specialties like the Asian-influenced camarones Rumiloma ($20) and cordero La Cantera, a savory lamb dish ($22), are served on heavy metal platters. Head downstairs to the Irish Pub for an after-dinner drink next to the fireplace. (There are also luxurious suites with fireplaces from $305.)
High in the Andean cloud forest, overlooking the country's capital city, Rumiloma leaves no design stone unturned. Rooms are filled with antiques and local crafts; toilets are painted with 17th-century regional designs and some tubs have claw feet or mosaics. Conservation-minded owners Amber and Oswaldo Freire take pride in sourcing food for the restaurant from local suppliers. Oswaldo, a professional mountain climber, steers guests to superb hikes. The 45-minute daybreak llama trek—with breakfast at a dazzling lookout point—is an unparalleled way to start the day. 7 suites; from $305, including breakfast and airport transfers back to Quito.
The views and accommodations at this rustically luxurious lodge -- housed on the grounds of a colonial-era hacienda -- are spectacular. Although it's just 10 minutes or less from downtown, this volcano-side hotel feels worlds away. All the rooms are large and unique, with extravagant and ornate decor. Adobe walls, red-tile floors, brass sinks, and exposed beam and brick ceilings are combined with an abundance of antiques, artwork, and eccentric design touches, including hand-painted ceramic toilets. The common areas are equally ornate and artistic, and the hacienda has almost 40 hectares (100 acres) of land, including both primary and secondary forest. The restaurant here is also excellent.
On the slopes of Pichincha, yet only a 20-minute drive from the airport, lies the haçienda of Rumiloma with its sweeping views of Quito. The trip is worth it for the Ecuadorian fusion food alone - and locals do make the journey. The owners, Amber and Oswaldo Freire, let nothing stop them from opening the haçienda, be it an earthquake, a serious fire or four young daughters. Their passion infuses everything - from the antiques in the rooms to the joyfully incongruous presence of an Irish pub under the main building. Two nights' B&B at Rumiloma, including transfers and a private half-day tour of Quito, cost £457pp for two sharing.
Hacienda Rumiloma offers a peaceful setting and stunning view of the city. It provides an experience to remember, whether you dine at the exceptional restaurant, imbibe in the Ecuadorian-Irish Pub, or sleep like royalty in the hotel's suites. You may even end up on a Chivas bus through colonial Quito with a band on top and a hot toddy in hand. It's just that kind of place.