Almost exactly one year ago I wrote an article about the top three luxury hotels in Cusco. Itís time to add one more to the list: Palacio Nazarenas. After years of construction and renovation, in June 2012 the doors opened at this dazzling new luxury hotel. Palacio Nazarenas joins Hotel Monasterio to become Orient-Expressí second Cusco-based property, and like the Monasterio, reflects Cuscoís history both in construction and design.
Palacioís past dates back to the 16th†Century when it served as the home of Mancio Serra de Leguizamon, a friend of conquistador and over-thrower of the Incas Francisco Pizarro. Throughout the years the building served many purposes, including as a convent. But with modern touches and delicate attention to detail, the building has been reborn as a chic urban hideaway.
Simple whitewashed walls keep the atmosphere low key, though original art and stonework add an air of elegance. Resorted artwork adorns common areas and Inca carvings enrich the stone faÁade. †The 55 suites offer views of the interior courtyard, swimming pool (the first heated outdoor pool in the entire city), or the surrounding colonial red roofs and mountainside. Every room is lavished with heated floors to keep the Andean chill away, as well as marble countertops, iPads containing tourism information, self-service espresso machines, and oxygen enrichment for those having difficulty adjusting to Cuscoís high altitude.
After a long day exploring Machu Picchu or perhaps finishing up the Inca Trail as the final portion of a Peru tour, Palacio Nazarenasí spa is a welcome treat. The comprehensive spa includes six private rooms with glass floors, exposing original Inca stone flooring below. All spa products were specially developed with local curanderos (Andean medicine men and women) and utilize indigenous ingredients, including salt from the Sacred Valley site Maras.
This new luxury property joins the continuing trend of up-scale accommodations increasing in popularity in Peru and across South American in general. Room pricing begins at $595 a night.
Laura Elise is Marketing Director of†SA Luxury Expeditions.