Hacienda San Miguel was the center of a huge hacienda (term for ranch with lots of acres) 100 years ago. Ecuador was divided into these huge estates originally granted to Spaniards by the Queen of Spain. This was the way Spain maintained control. The families of these haciendas pledged loyalty to the crown in return for their huge grants.
Slowly thru social and land reform the big estates were broken and all that remains of the hacienda is the old house and about 12 acres. To get there you drive a dusty road that runs along a small river just past a charming small village.
The grass here is so thick and green it glows. This special turf comes from the volcanic soil, plenty of rain and 365 days of direct sunlight. You don't get this elsewhere in the world.
At the entrance a large iron gate blocks the drive and the property is surrounded by an ancient hedge and many mature trees. The short drive to the house is protected by a huge (maybe 12 feet high) wall, At the cobblestone parking area, there is a small house on the left (currently for the servants). On the right the main house rises three stories of mottled (with age) white stucco. Oversized wooden doors and windows with large wooden shutters accent the outside as well as a covering of climbing bougainvillea and large pink and white rose bushes. Three large flagstone steps lead to the front entrance and a large living room of cobblestone floor. White mottled stucco walls lead to ancient eucalyptus beams.
The house has been fully restored by a brilliant architect (our friend Jorge Espinosa) who co owns La Mirage a nearby spa where we have our health courses. He has brought the structure up to standard but retained the old look. This room has a large fireplace and will be our library-sitting room.
From this library you enter a large sitting room covered with worn-shinyMexican tiles. To the right of this sitting room, is a bathroom and two bedrooms. The bathrooms are definitely 50s additions and could be redone.
One wall of the sitting room is floor to ceiling wood framed windows, each small frame (about 18 inches square) of wonderful faded hardwood.
Walking to the left along an exquisite, ancient tile floor you step up two steps into a truly huge kitchen (maybe 1,000 square feet) with a grand sky light and large fireplace in the corner. There is an abundance of stainless steel (sinks etc.) and one whole wall of carved eucalyptus walk-in storage. This very wonderful room is capped off by a big, hardwood table in the center!
Back in the hall is a old creakedy eucalyptus staircase. Jorge rebuilt this using much of the original wood. This leads to a second floor which of old, hardwood, creaky floors. Wonderful to walk on. This floor composes is a deck maybe 12 feet wide that runs round the whole house providing excellent views of the fields and mountains beyond.
In the middle of this deck is one huge (maybe 800 square feet) bedroom that goes onto the deck thru two huge doors. Lots of muslin and mosquito nets make this very romantic. One end is a complete wooden walk in closet. Another rickety staircase goes to the third floor and one tiny room, a perfect office or studio. Two more bathrooms (plain Jane 50s) are on the second floor.
The walls around the entire second floor deck are again all small wooden framed windows with stunning effect. I have not been able to do this house justice as the sum is definitely more than that parts.
The landscaping is perfect, old, lots of vines, mature walnut, fig, avocado, orange and a French herb garden. The lawn is thick grass. In the back is a walled garden lined with mature fruit trees. A modern stable sits further back in the property. The remaining 11 acres or so are currently used for grazing, vegetable garden and lots of beans and corn.
The feel, the old wood, tile, stucco and landscaping are just us, so I do not expect that this property will still be on the market by the time you read this. The good news is we can invite you to visit us if the deal goes through.
We had no intention of buying such a place but this is the beautiful way an international business person's life goes. We look for years for the perfect place and when least expected it suddenly pops up. We are ready to make a fast offer because we have been preparing.
We have bought this way in the past. In fact we bought one cabin in North Carolina after a five minute look. We saw this little cabin in the woods by a roaring waterfall and I said “I'll take it.” We looked inside for maybe two minutes. The broker thought we were mad, but what we knew that he did not as that we had looked at dozens of places and knew what we wanted and how the market was. Later we could not remember if the place even had a kitchen (Merri was a bit worried about that) and when we went to go back we did not know how to find it. We had to track down the broker so we could get a map (it was really back in the woods)!
The same is true of international business. If you are traveling and keeping your eyes open you will know when you find a bargain that you want! We look at why buying like this can be a very powerful way of making money in our upcoming courses International Business Made EZ in Ecuador.