Peru Travel Guide
The last time we were in Cusco, we missed the opening of JW Marriott's second Peruvian property by just a few days. While we haven't been lucky enough to hit the Inca Trail since then, we've been hearing just enough about the now one-year-old JW Marriott Cusco to have us think about packing up our hiking gear and heading south of the border.
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Good news for those adventurous types! Peru's Cusco, one of the most sacred and spiritual places on earth gets a new Luxury Collection property,Libertador Palacio del Inka, right in the heart of the temples and ancient ruins.
Set to open its doors in June of this year, the 203 room renovated hotel will welcome guests that want a little relaxing before they head into the hills or a pampering reward after they worked their dogs on a hiking trip. If the renovated rooms aren't enough, a visit to the Travertine marble and tornillo wood spa can rejuvinate any weary body.
Poised directly across from the Temple of The Sun, the stone building features traditional Peruvian construction techniques built without using any mortar. Don't worry, the building itself is 35 years old, so it has stood the test of time. Showcasing Spanish colonial architecture, the super European center-court will have you feel like your walking back in time and still getting comfy in a modern designed building.
Somewhere between both the Orient-Express and JW Marriott opening in Cusco, the focus has been pulled away from Lima. It’s no wonder they feel left out, considering a hotel opened in December and the news got lost in the holiday shuffle.
Well, let's rectify that. Guess what? There’s a new 207-room Hilton Lima Miraflores, located in the capital city’s trendy Miraflores district, just 11 miles from the airport. This is Hilton’s first managed hotel in Peru and its flagship hotel in the country.
While traditionally courting the business market, this Hilton is different in that the décor is inspired by Peruvian history and architecture. Rooms feature lattice woodwork reminiscent of the country’s balconies of the 18th century, where ladies could see outside their windows but no one could see inside their homes. The original nosy-neighbor design!
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If you've made it as far as Cusco, Peru, chances are you want to feel like you're in Cusco, Peru. That's where the Hotel Monasterio comes into play, as it not only calls a well preserved 15th century monastery home (hence the name), but keeps the furnishings and food as locally sources as possible. It's not all so foreign, however; the toiletries are L'Occitane, the staff speaks excellent English and its membership in the Orient-Express Collection ensures a certain level of service.
Yesterday we showed you all around the property and made mention of the fact that it was the first Cusco hotel to introduce the option of oxygen enriching guest rooms to counter the effects of Cusco's high altitude. Luckily we didn't suffer from "soroche," or altitude sickness, and thus didn't need to add the additional service.
First things first. Hotel Monasterio is the most famous hotel in Cusco, Peru. Part of the reason comes from its being of the Orient-Express Collection, but the property really distinguished itself when it became the first to offer oxygen-enriched rooms to combat the effects of altitude sickness, a very real obstacle to enjoying Cusco for travelers who arrive to the city's 11,200' height without acclimating. Airplanes actually have to specially adjust their cabin pressurization after arrival at the city's small airport.
Altitude effects everyone differently and we were lucky to only get super winded while climbing stairs, which isn't much of a problem as the hotel is only two stories and occupies a monastery built in 1595. It's got electricity now, and window glass, and luxury bedding, and other niceties of the last couple centuries (including free WiFi!), but the building has been well preserved and the 16th century aura is still very much alive.
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Fly into Peru's Lima Airport anytime soon and, even before you hit the streets, you'll be face-to-face with a huge ad for the two JW Marriott properties in Peru: the JW Marriott Lima and the JW Marriott Cusco. For now we focus on the JW Marriott Cusco, as it's only just opened and we just missed it by a few days. Still, we managed to snap a few preview shots.
The property sits within a former monastery and numbers 153 rooms and suites, all with supplemental oxygen to combat the effects of Cusco's high altitude. This feature they "borrow" from the Orient-Express Hotel Monasterio just up the street, which originated the unique offering. In fact, the JW and the Monasterio will go head-to-head in competition for guests; who will choose Orient-Express and who will choose Marriott?
Today Orient-Express Hotels officially opened Palacio Nazarenas, in Cuzco, Peru. Transforming the former 16th century Carmelite convent into a 55-suite hotel was a long, four-year excavation project in which architects and archeologists uncovered Inca artifacts. These have been preserved to use for the hotel’s historical talk series on the area and Cuzco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It so rarely happens but yes, a hotel has opened--no, not on time, but early. (We know, take a minute to compose yourself.) OK, so we had it listed as May 1 on our master list, but the Westin Lima wasn't really going to open until June and then, voila!, its doors opened, as if by magic, on May 16.
Not only is the property--the third under the Libertardor partnership with Starwood--ahead of the game, it's also quite dashing looking, as you can see from these photos.
Cubicle Dreamin' is a feature in which we ask the hotel mavens to take some time out of their busy work day, surf the Internet, and tell us what hotel they wish they could beam themselves to right that very second--all on the slave driving company's dime, of course. Oh, like these people aren't surfing aimlessly anyway; at least now their purposeless clicking will be cobbled together into useful hotel stories--we hope. Have a destination hotel you are just dying to leave your cube for? Send the story our way.
Call us crazy but this edition of Cubicle Dreamin' actually involves health. All summer long, you see, we've been eating out, partying hard and generally having a good time doing things that are not very good for us. So now, as we return to the grind, we're daydreaming about a getaway that can kick both our mind and body back into gear.
Which is why we love the sound of The Quinoa Trail at Tambo Del Inka in Peru's Sacred Valley.
While we were staying at the Casa Cartagena in Cusco last month, we popped over to the nearby Plazoleta Nazarenas to scope out Fallen Angel, a restaurant-lounge-guest house frequented by the city’s glitterati.
There, we fell under the spell of fancy finger foods and odd furnishings like a 10-foot sparkly angel sculpture, tables that are made from bathtubs converted into fish tanks with glass tabletops on them, and bathrooms that are categorized by “Angel” and “Devil” rather than by sex so that patrons can self-segregate depending on their mood that evening.
But the restaurant bathrooms have nothing on one of the restrooms we spotted upstairs in one of the four new, equally quirky guest rooms.
When we told friends that we were going to Cusco last week, every single one of them, without exception, asked us if we were staying at the city’s most famous and historic property, Orient-Express Hotel Monasterio. We weren’t.
Instead, we got a sneak peek at the city’s newest boutique luxury property, the 16-suite Casa Cartagena, which, as it turns out, is right next door to the Monasterio, but feels a world away.
When you think Machu Picchu, you probably don't think luxury—but Starwood is hoping to change that, with the addition of a new hotel to its Luxury Collection. The newly opened Tambo del Inka is just 50 minutes from Cusco, making it a great base from which to explore the Sacred Valley. (Dude, there's a spa. Perhaps now we may finally get into this thing called "hiking.")
Starwood are partnering with Libertador Hotels, Resorts & Spas on Tambo del Inka, which has 128 rooms and suites, all with views of the Andes and Vilcanota river.