I just returned from an incredible tour of Peru that included a few days in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco. Although I didn’t stay at the Inkaterra La Casona, I did visit this historic property and can recommend it as a luxurious option for Cusco visitors. The hotel has been on my radar for a while, I also noticed it when I first visited Cusco in 2008. The Inkaterra brand, with six hotels in Peru, has established itself as the leader in boutique luxury and they really blend local (and Inca) culture with the style, service and amenities serious travelers demand. The hotel is housed in a classic Spanish colonial mansion built in the 1600s, hidden from the street by a large door. Inside, there is a beautiful courtyard, surrounded by columns and arches.
The Inkaterra La Casona (Plaza Nazarenas 113, Cusco) is right near Cusco’s San Blas district, home to many of the city’s artists and art studios. It’s also directly next door to the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. The hotel is only a few steps down the street from the Plaza de Armas and the main tourist and historic area. It’s a very central location that allows for easy walking access to all the museums and tourist areas.
The all-suite hotel features 11 distinctive suites offered in three levels of size and price. Basic suites include a dining area, hypo-allergenic bedding and a large marble bathroom. Some have large living areas and even stone fireplaces. All the suites have heated floors, a flat screen TV, iPod connections, DVD player, a safe and free WiFi. There is three-times daily maid service. Rates start at $418 per night and include breakfast.
The hotel offers a range of tours and excursions around Cusco, grouped as quarter-day, half-day and full-day. They can also facilitate specialty interests like a cooking tour or art tour. The hotel is very private and protects the privacy of guests as well. As a small property, with only 11 rooms, there is very personal service from the staff. I spoke with several guests and they all commented that it was like staying in a private mansion, with that level of attention from staff.
I would recommend venturing right next door to the MAP Cafe por Coque Ossio, housed in a glass box in the courtyard of Cusco’s Pre-Columbian Museum. It’s probably Cusco’s most modern, stylish restaurant, serving Novoandean cuisine. An avant-garde set menu (which changes daily) is served for lunch (about $50) and dinner (about $70).
For travelers using Cusco as a base to visit Machu Picchu, take the time to spend the night at Machu Picchu, don’t go up and back in one day. Visitors who spend the night get about four hours in the morning and another four hours in the late afternoon before and after the day trippers arrive and depart allowing some actual private, alone time at the sacred site. Inkaterra has a hotel at Machu Picchu, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel and a visit to both can be easily coordinated.
Freddy Sherman is a world traveler and editor of the travel blog travel4people.com. In the past six months, he has visited Turkey, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia and Canada and just returned from Peru. You can follow him on Twitter @thefredsherman
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