Machu Picchu is one of the most spectacular sites in the worlds, so it is only fitting that your trip to the ancient Incan citadel should compare in class. Luckily, the city of Cusco, where many visitors base themselves before and after their Machu Picchu tours, is flush in 5-star accommodations. Here are some recommendations to help you start planning your dream Peru vacation.
The most exclusive and intimate 5-star hotel in Cusco is undeniably La Casona. With only 11 suites within a complex closed to the public, guests are ensured privacy and high attention to detail. From architecture, to design, to its own history, Las Casona is as colonial as it gets. The building was built sometime between 1585 and 1700 on the location of the former Inka Pumakurko neighborhood, which included several Incan schools—the practice of replacing Inca structures with colonial ones was a popular practice among the conquering Spaniards. La Casona passed through several owners, and at one point became part of the Santa Clara convent. Today, La Casona is recognized by the National Institute of Culture as a Historical Monument and is Cusco’s premier luxury hotel. It is discretely tucked away on the tranquil Plaza Laz Nazarenas, just 2 blocks from Cusco’s main square. Guests enjoy personalized professional dining services, in-room fireplaces, marble bathrooms with luxurious tubs, and VIP services that include housecleaning 3 times daily.
First an Inca temple, then a home of Spanish nobility, and finally a luxurious boutique hotel, Casa Cartagena encompasses modern comfort with colonial charm. Situated between the main historic center square and the charming San Blas art district, Casa Cartagena is steps away from Plaza Las Nazarenas where upscale shops mix with cobblestone streets. The 16 exclusive suites surround two lovely private courtyards, and the interior decoration is an exquisite blend of colonial features—such as stone face walls and carved wooden furniture—and chic modern design. In addition to the hotel’s upscale boutique shop that sells handmade Andean goods, such as clothing made from baby alpaca wool, guests are sure to appreciate the full service spa. The three level spa begins on the ground floor with a hydro massage pool, continues on to a men’s only level, and concludes with an area exclusively for women, allowing all guests to relax in their area of personal comfort.
A slightly larger 5-star hotel in Cusco is the Aranwa Boutique Hotel. Part of a luxury Peruvian hotel chain, Aranwa Boutique occupies a refurbished 16-century mansion where famous paintings from the Cusco School of Art hang in thick frames on stately walls. The exterior of the hotel features an exquisitely preserved wooden façade, which accents the grand wooden front door, which is framed by stone pillars. Aranwa offers a variety of room options; its 42 rooms are divided from classic rooms up to suites. All come with impressive marble bathrooms, colonial-style furniture, and twice-a-day housekeeping. The hotel opened in 2010, so all its rooms and amenities are new, and it will soon open a full service spa. Aranwa Boutique is conveniently located a few blocks from the main plaza.
Laura Elise is Marketing Director of SA Luxury Expeditions.