I love Lima — the food here is incredible! Casa Inca is a charming boutique hotel in which to base yourself to eat up the delights of the world’s second largest desert city. From Casa Inca, you can walk to some of Lima’s most popular destinations (and to an abundance of restaurants), yet you’re on a quiet street away from the traffic noise.
Casa Inca is in the affluent Miraflores neighbourhood, just a block in from the Malecón de la Reserva and its lovely views 260 feet above the sea. Make sure you take a stroll along here in the evenings, or rent a bike from the hotel to go further afield.
Case Inca has 16 rooms (another six are on their way). Choose carefully — each room is sized and decorated differently, some have views and some do not, and the decor in some is a little tired. The website helpfully shows the layout and photos of each. You’ll be more than content with one of the Premium rooms. All rooms are equipped with flat-screen cable tv, mini-fridge, safe, and phone; beds have luscious down comforters. Wifi (included) is available throughout the hotel.
The building has historical significance: it was the last home of Julio C. Tello, a world authority on Peruvian archeology, founder of Peru’s national museum of archeology, and friend of philanthropist Nelson Rockefeller. Mr Tello is known as the Americas’ first indigenous archaeologist (he was Quechua). Books and artefacts from his time decorate the main building and there are several public rooms in which you can sit and soak up the atmosphere.
There are also three outdoor areas — the large second-floor terrace with views toward the cliffs and the ocean, and a front and back patio — to relax. They are all (as is the house) protected behind a high wall and a gate to which you need to be buzzed in. You do not have to worry about security here.
The hotel can arrange transfer from the airport (but double check the price if your plane is late; they charge extra if the driver has to wait and don’t seem to double check arrival times with the airline before setting out).
Lake Titicaca is a beautiful lake, and Taypikala Lago is a hotel which sits right on its shores, perfect for lapping up the views.
This Peruvian-owned hotel is 15 minutes outside the hustle and bustle (and steep streets) of Puno. Quiet flower- and bird-filled gardens separate the hotel from the bright blue waters of the lake.
The hotel is large — 77 rooms, including nine triples, four suites and three junior suites. The hallways are decorated with lovely handmade fabrics and crafts. The on-site shop sells similar items at excellent prices and will inspire your gift-giving.
Taypikala is able to host large groups, and has two conference rooms. Groups looking for a spiritual experience favour the hotel, with its labyrinth maze in the garden, places to meditate, and proximity to Inca Uyo, the temple of fertility, in the village of Chucuito.
If you’re travelling with children, Taypikala is a good choice: there’s space for them to run around, often sheep grazing nearby, table tennis and foozball tables, as well as a small indoor pool, 6-person jacuzzi, sauna, and yoga room (you’ll need to advise staff in advance to use the sauna (4 hours) and jacuzzi (24 hours)). Everyone will appreciate the extensive buffet breakfast with its delicious fresh juices and wide selection, as well as the large portions at dinner.
At 3,830 meters (12, 566 feet) above sea level, Lake Titicaca and its shores are chilly at night (approaching freezing temperatures, though space heaters are in each room) and in the daytime the sun shines fiercely. Bring warm clothes and lots of sunscreen.
Encantada is a cozy boutique hotel on the slopes of San Blas, the artisan district of Cusco. The views from the communal top-floor terrace are spectacular — you can see all the way down to the Plaza de Armas, and all the way up the opposite slope. Two of the 15 rooms in the main building have a balcony, and the three in the garden area have patios. All have views either down to the Plaza de Armas, or up toward the white Jesus statue which towers above the city. The views, and the lovely garden area, are what make this hotel stand out. The Swiss-Peruvian owners are big flower fans, so there are fresh blooms throughout the lobby and exteriors.
The rooms are simply decorated and well-equipped. Important for chilly Cusco nights is a space heater, but I needed mine only one night of my three-night stay. I did, however, very much appreciate the evening “cat” delivery — the hot water bottles wrapped in a furry cover. Perfect for keeping your feet toasty!
The hotel prides itself on its friendliness and service. Should you want a romantic dinner, they’ll set you up on the terrace looking out over the twinkling lights of Cusco.
The hotel houses a small spa (a bigger spa facility is in the works, as is a new building adding another 12 rooms). There’s also a small restaurant on-site; the breakfast is included in the rates.
For larger groups or families, consider renting their nearby 4-bedroom house with fireplace ($250/night).
My suite is very romantic. All creams and whites and pale golds. The ceiling is high and there are skylights on one side of the dormer ceiling. The bed is immense, as is the hot tub in the corner.
I’m at the Andean Wings Boutique Hotel.
In the centre of Cusco, this boutique property bills itself as “a heavenly haven in the heart of the Andes”. Housed in two old manor homes of the Spanish colonial era, the hotel has 16 rooms. Each is sized and decorated differently. Purple Haze was one of my favourites — two stories and a piano! Have a look at the website to make sure you choose a room that suites your needs and personality.
In addition to the variety of rooms, Andean Wings has a bar with a fireplace (delicious pisco sours!) and a restaurant with a glass roof (though there are umbrellas in case you want to enjoy your breakfast or lunch in the shade). There’s also a spa, the Six Pumas Pasaypa Therapy Center, which offers a wide range of services using Peruvian products from the Amazon and Andes. Just in case you need it, there’s a tank with complimentary oxygen on-site to help fight the effects of Cusco’s high altitude.
Though on a fairly busy street (making it easy to find), my sleep was not interrupted by traffic noise. And my jacuzzi bath — complete with rose petals and bubbles — was the perfect antidote to ward off Cusco’s night time chill.