Hotel extras can be so boring. Little soaps? Check. Slippers in plastic? Ho hum. Bathrobe plus sign pleading with you not to steal said bathrobe? Yawn.
For a really interesting extra, you’d be hard pushed to beat a sky bike.
Guests at Mashpi Lodge, an eco-friendly cocoon in the Ecuadorian cloud forest, get just that to cycle through the forest canopy.
The hotel, which has won a slew of awards since it opened last year, sits in a 1,300-hectare (3,200-acre) nature reserve.
Located on a high plateau only accessible by guests, the hotel has been designed in such a way as to bring the forest inside at every turn, mainly through the use of plate-glass walls.
The windowless “wellness area” takes things a step further, with slats of wood that allow you not just look out at the forest while you sit in the Jacuzzi, but you can also soak up the sounds, too.
The first floor is a “Reading and Learning Area”, which hosts shelves of wildlife books and also regular talks from the resident biologist. There’s a “Life Centre” pavilion nearby, where you can learn even more about the
biodiversity of the area.
Or, you can simply experience it for yourself, pedalling happily through the treetops on your sky bike in search of wildlife – including 22 types of humming bird and more than 200 kinds of butterfly, cooling down from time to time with a swim in one of the waterfall pools below. Sure knocks free shoe polish into a cocked hat.
A three-day, two-night package costs from €980, including transfers to and from Quito.