We are delighted to announce our new partnership with Latin Trails, appointed as their representatives for Quito’s Illa Experience Hotel and the Galapagos Sea Star Journey. Given Quito’s strong tourist credentials, there are still relatively few hotels in the historic centre that offer such an intimate and exclusive feel (not to mention the special cultural experiences on offer for guests here). And while the wonders of the Galapagos Islands rarely disappoint, we know first-hand how important the careful selection of a cruising vessel can be to shaping your experience of this wondrous archipelago. The Sea Star Journey really is something special, and voters in the 2017 World Travel Awards agreed, naming it South America’s Best Boutique Cruise in 2017.
Why choose Illa Experience Hotel to enhance your stay in Quito?
A genuine cultural immersion – before work on the hotel even began, the owners of Illa were already in close contact with the local community of San Marcos to make sure they were involved in the project. San Marcos is a community of artisans and historic traditions, and this close link with the community means that hotel guests can now enjoy unique cultural experiences during their stay, involving traditional confectioners, wooden toy makers and local artists.
Exclusive hideaway in Quito’s atmospheric old town – with just 10 suites, Illa is one of Quito’s most intimate luxury hotels. From the discreet main entrance Illa’s doors open into an elegant colonial house, complete with plenty of original features. The light and airy central patio with mirror pool is a focal point, and guests can also ascend to the rooftop bar to admire the memorable view of Quito’s iconic El Panecillo Hill. This prime location also means that the main attractions of Quito’s historic centre are all within short walking distance of the hotel.
Exquisite suites – Illa’s spacious suites are spread across 3 floors, each named after a key period in Ecuador’s history and with design touches to reflect this. As well as all the facilities you would expect from a hotel of this class, we love the little extra touches such as underfloor heating, L’Occitane amenities and the prospect of a warming mug of hot chocolate before bed.
Wellness & gastronomy – despite the hotel’s small size, ample provision has been made to ensure guests experience first-class facilities during their stay. The hotel features a refined spa and wellness area with Jacuzzi, as well a 24-hour fitness room. The fine-dining restaurant, Nuema, regularly features as one of the best places to dine in the city (head chef Alejandro Chamorro trained under Gaston Acurio and has previously worked at Noma in Denmark). And even if you decide not to take an evening meal here, the ‘chef’s special’ breakfast really is unlike anything else you will experience in the city.
Why experience the Galapagos Islands on the Sea Star Journey?
Small-ship intimacy – with just 8 cabins and a maximum capacity for 16 guests, you will really appreciate the personalised feel of this elegant motor vessel. Disembarking to visit the landing sites feels so much calmer, as do meal times and relaxing periods out on the sun deck.
Sparkling new interiors for added luxury – the Sea Star Journey underwent extensive refurbishment in November 2017, meaning the guest suites and communal areas are some of the freshest out there. All spacious cabins are brightly furnished with polished wooden floors and marble-finished bathrooms. 4 suites on the main deck also feature private balconies.
Sublime sun deck & outdoor dining – in between excursions the ample sun deck is a superb place to relax and admire the passing panorama. Two Jacuzzis can be enjoyed up here (one in sun and one in shade), as well as comfortable loungers and day beds. Guests will also be able to enjoy at least one sumptuous meal out on deck during the cruise if conditions allow, and a private outdoor dining experience can be arranged for a special occasion.
Memorable itineraries – The Sea Star Journey operates 4-night and 5-night itineraries taking in the very best of the Galapagos archipelago, all led by an expert naturalist guide. These itineraries can also be combined to form a comprehensive Galapagos experience for those with even more time. All itineraries feature some element of exploring the islands on foot, with guided walks to discover the remarkable flora and fauna of the islands. Out on the water, snorkelling excursions always form a memorable part of any Galapagos experience and guests can also take advantage of sea kayaks to witness the abundance of marine life from a different perspective.
For more information, images, factsheets or training on the Illa Experience Hotel and the Galapagos Sea Star Journey, please contact Oonagh on +44 1242 506444 or [email protected]