With the demand for luxury travel booming, and the development of several luxury hotel resorts over the last few years, the Sacred Valley of the Inca’s is becoming an increasingly popular destination for foreign tourists visiting Peru. Ideally located for visiting nearby Inca archaeological sites of Pisac, Moray and Ollantaytambo, and just 2 hours from Peru’s premier attraction – the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley is also an intelligent choice to spend a few nights.
As the price of land in the City of Cusco continues to sharply rise (Sotheby’s is opening an office there at the moment), luxury hotel investors are choosing to constructing away from the city, opting for the more tranquil setting and lower land costs of the Sacred Valley. What this means is that there is now a selection of exclusive hotels that are less restricted in size, offering attractive gardens, all at more affordable prices. And, to boot, the Sacred Valley is located several hundred feet lower than Cusco, making the whole process of acclimatizing to the Andes that little easier.
Set on the banks of the fast flowing Urubamba River, the Tambo del Inka is one of Starwood’s leading luxury hotels in Peru. The dramatic lobby features a 2 story stone open fireplace which contrasts against the warm and inviting earthy tones of the hotel’s décor. The 128 room hotel not only offers everything you would expect from a hotel of this calibre, but is also the only hotel in the Sacred Valley to have an onsite train station for catching trains direct to Machu Picchu. The 5,500 square foot spa includes 12 treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy circuit, plunge pools and more. A popular treatment at the spa is the hydrating wrap and massage using maracuya (passion fruit) and honey.
The astonishingly beautiful Aranwa Hotel is one of the Sacred Valley’s hidden gems. Located in 3 acres of stunning gardens which include a private adobe chapel and lake, the Aranwa Hotel is a haven of tranquillity for visitors to the Sacred Valley. Built on the site of an old corn plantation, the hotel still features the original 16th century hacienda, which has been fully restored to its former glory. The hotel’s 115 rooms and suites are some of the largest of all the hotels in the Sacred Valley. The Presidential Suite offers the ultimate in luxury with 2 bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, a bar, a cinema, a private swimming pool and even a grand piano.
From the ever successful Peruvian Casa Andina chain, the Casa Andina Private Collection at Yanahuara offers luxury at affordable rates. Located just 10 minutes from the Inca fortress of Ollantaytambo and in close proximity to the train station to Machu Picchu, the Casa Andina Private Collection is ideal for leisure travellers visiting Peru. The hotel offers 85 rooms and 7 Andean cottages all with panoramic views of the Sacred Valley. Guests at the hotel can enjoy a fully equipped spa, pristine gardens and even an onsite planetarium.
As one of the original luxury hotels in the Sacred Valley, the Sol y Luna Hotel has had to constantly redefine itself to maintain its position as a leading luxury hotel in the area. Luxury at the hotel is defined by exquisite experiences and small details rather than outright extravagance. With colourful gardens that have matured for over 14 years, the hotel is a peaceful habitat to some 35 registered species of bird. The Wayra Ranch (part of the hotel) offers exclusive horse-back rides in the Sacred Valley using their own Peruvian Paso breeds. The hotel even features a secret wine cellar for cosy private dinners. Wine paring, with menus of up to 10 courses can be specially tailored to guests needs.
As one of four Orient Express owned hotels in the Cusco region, the Rio Sagrado Hotel is pushing the boundaries of luxury and service in the Sacred Valley. Set on the banks of the Urumbamba River, the hotel has panoramic views of unspoilt Andean mountain scenery. The large gardens, with open and impeccable lawns dominate the hotel grounds. Guests can even take a tour of the gardens, led by their head-gardener – a specialist in indigenous botany. The hotel offers a choice of luxurious rooms and suites, plus two large villas. The villas offer unparalleled space and include a private deck, a lounge, a study and accommodations for up to 6 people.
Paul Jones is Managing Director of Totally Latin America.