MCLEAN, VA.—Hilton announced the opening of the Royal Palm Galapagos, Curio Collection by Hilton, a boutique estate with 21 villas and deluxe rooms brimming with the charm of an Ecuadorian Hacienda. Secluded on a 160-hectare estate in the lush Miconia Highland Forests adjacent to Galapagos National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Curio Collection by Hilton’s newest tranquil sanctuary is a haven for serenity and once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounters.
“Debuting in a destination that organically welcomes travelers to connect with nature, dream and discover, this momentous opening marks the first international hotel brand in the Galapagos Islands, while making Ecuador the Curio Collection by Hilton brand’s 30th country to welcome travelers to its growing portfolio,” said Jenna Hackett, Global Brand Head, Curio and Tapestry Collections by Hilton. “With more than 115 unique hotels and resorts around the world, Curio Collection by Hilton properties provide authentic and curated experiences that are both distinctive and draw inspiration from their local communities. Royal Palm Galapagos brings that vision to life, and we look forward to welcoming travelers to this truly one-of-a-kind hotel.”
Nestled amid jaw-dropping panorama and unspoiled vegetation on the ethereal Galápagos Islands, located roughly 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, Royal Palm Galapagos, Curio Collection by Hilton is designed to respectfully maximize guests’ interactions with the remote and eco-sensitive destination. Sheltered within a valley between two extinct cinder cone volcanoes, the hotel features nine areas of geological interest from craters to lava tunnels and features newly enhanced accommodations, a reception area, restaurants, and a gym. By the end of 2022, guests can expect a new spa and by mid-2023, the hotel plans to introduce a refreshed pool.
The hotel’s 21 villas and deluxe rooms dot the verdant landscape and are adorned with local textiles, earth-toned fixtures, and artistic touches, and offer contemporary casual elegance inspired by the natural preserve of the beloved enchanted islands.
The eight deluxe rooms have spacious bedrooms, dining areas and front porches or terraces to bask in the expansive garden and nature reserve vistas. Similarly, the eight villas feature a bedroom, bathroom, jacuzzi room, living/dining room, and open fireplaces to relish in the scenic views across the estate and Santa Cruz Island. The executive villas are secluded cottages with a private garden, indoor sauna, living room and dining area with an open fireplace. The largest suite on the property is named in honor of British royals and boasts extreme privacy including two bedrooms, a sauna, private garden areas, an open fireplace, a dining area and more.
For an extra immersive experience, guests can camp at the crossroads of comfort and unspoiled wilderness amidst pristine nature. With three different camping sites, the hotel offers a way to see the diversity of the Galapagos Islands with its overnight camping program.
Dining in a Lava Tunnel
The gastronomic experience is the heartbeat of the estate with cuisine largely based on fresh products coming from the Highlands of the Galapagos. Royal Palm Galapagos, Curio Collection by Hilton offers a distinct dining experience featuring island-sourced ingredients, from vegetables and fruits from local producers to grass-fed meat products and sustainably harvested seafood. The hotel’s food and beverage offerings are helmed by two sous chefs born and raised in the Galapagos, Patricio Sisa and Rommel Chalen, who bring their vast experience, passion and enjoyment of their local traditions, including traditional Ecuadorian and international flavors to their always evolving menu while transforming the customs of the Galapagos into culinary adventures.
The hotel is home to the destination’s only fine dining restaurant inside a lava tunnel located nearly 60 feet underground. Opening this year, this new culinary journey begins at Muttini, a 30-year-old building decorated with cannons and anchors, with a guided tour through the lava tunnel and finishes at the volcanic vault with a six-course dinner inspired by the homegrown culture and ingredients.
The Royal Palm Restaurant serves delicious international and local cuisine featuring a variety of Galapaguenian recipes with fresh ingredients from its house farm and catch of the day. The 50-seat restaurant combines elegant colonial style and traditional island design with warm mahogany furniture that reflects the glow of the open fire and on warmer nights, guests are encouraged to dine alfresco on the terrace under the equatorial stars. The wine cellar reflects the eclectic nature of the menu and includes an extensive range of some of South America’s best wines.
Amenities + Experiences
Home to one of the last remaining natural island ecosystems in the world, the Galapagos Islands are treasured for being the world’s foremost destination for wildlife exploration and encounters. Both adventurous travelers, as well as those looking for a tranquil, eco-conscious hideaway, can fill their days with an abundance of excursions. From catching the first glimpse of a Galapagos giant tortoise in its natural habitat as they roam freely in the National Park to snorkeling among the volcanic crevices filled with crystal-clear emerald water, the experiences designed by the hotel will leave guests in wonderment of the islands.
Beyond the islands’ world-renowned voyages, guests have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conserve the endangered species that reside on the property such as the Galapagos Crake, Galapagos Short Eared Owl, Scalesia pedunculata, Robesonian Miconia and more. Those looking to recharge can delight at the estate’s idyllic picturesque pool, newly renovated fitness center, and be fascinated by the natural wonders of the Galapagos while enjoying the highest level of services provided within the unspoiled location of the hotel. By year-end, the hotel plans to introduce a new spa that will boast an exclusive relaxation and massage area in the lava tunnel as well as two treatment rooms and rejuvenating treatments designed with the utmost sustainable practices and methods.
Environmental wellbeing is at the epicenter of the hotel’s ethos and comes to life as a hideaway for a Galapagos expedition. As the only hotel with a Miconia and Scalesia Reforestation Program, the fully immersive ecological promise breathes and lives within the walls of the property as seen through its Rain Harvesting program helping to ensure the destination remains resilient for generations of travelers to come. Taking sustainability to an elevated experience, the hotel’s environmental programs include its water reduction system where it reuses the water from rain and recycles almost 90 percent of its residues, a Plant-a-Tree Program, and an on-site produce farm utilized by the restaurants.
“We are proud to be the first international hotel brand to debut in this remarkable location known for its unique wildlife and biodiversity. With destination stewardship at the center of our Travel with Purpose ESG strategy, we are committed to minimizing the impact of our operations and protecting this incredible community. Sustainability is at the heart of the hotel, so we are thrilled to offer guests a thoughtfully immersive, once-in-a-lifetime experience in this special destination,” said Erica Gordon, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Public Affairs and ESG, and President of the Hilton Global Foundation.
The Hilton Global Foundation, the company’s global philanthropic arm that seeks to advance Hilton’s Travel with Purpose goals, has been engaged in projects across the region such as partnering with The Nature Conservancy to protect native Ecuador fish species and Galapagos Conservancy to feed and protect the critically endangered Floreana Giant Tortoise.