A Place Worth Exploring
by, 02-23-2014 at 11:56 AM (1447 Views)
Often visitors only pass through or possibly spend one night in Cusco on their way to or from Machu Picchu.
This remains one of the great historic cities in Peru. A place for exploring - plazas, cobbled stone streets, restaurants and pubs, busy markets, ongoing preservation projects and a perfect base for venturing out in search of ancient Inca ruins.
Two years ago we were in Cusco and stopped by the Hotel Monestario for lunch. We inquired about the extensive construction underway on the adjacent 16th century convent; hoping we might get a peek inside. We were unable to gain access, but were encouraged to return after Orient-Express completed their decade long project and sample the results.
Late last year, we were successful bidders for a Luxury Link three-night auction package at Palacio Nazarenas. Now with more than 12 years invested in the transformation of the former 16th-century convent, we had high expectations for our stay at this boutique property.
Unlike the Hotel Monasterio next door, this property has obviously been positioned to cater to upmarket travelers seeking both a historic elegance as well as unchallenged levels of services and amenities.
Butler service 24/7, fresh suite flowers changed daily, a variety of custom and scented pillow offerings, a private selection of organic baths (a must have for the roman tub) drawn and prepared as requested, a grand assortment of daily replenished mini-bar snacks, ensuite complementary bar service (carafes of Pisco and Rum restocked as consumed) with butler preparation, if requested.
Our package included:
· Three nights in a Chica Junior Suite
(we were upgraded to a Z Collection suite)
· Breakfast each morning
· A three-course dinner and wine pairing
· And a multitude of other perks
The butler team offered to assist us in creating a travel program for Cusco, which we could be accessed on an iPad provided during our stay. We passed on the offer but still thought it was creative. We also didn't require oxygen to be pumped into our veneration system; however, it was available upon request (we travel with our own battery-operated machine and use Diamox® whenever dealing with altitude - doesn't everyone).
Touches we enjoyed at the hotel:
· The under-floor heating system, warming the Peruvian marble bathrooms for your toes
· Well-soundproofed walls and total blackout window shutters.
· Carved antique furniture, a separate bathtub and shower, fresh flowers and plenty of space...
· The guest lounge; housed in the building’s former chapel, a great place for a cup of tea or coffee while considering what to do and where to go
· At the spa in our treatment room (possibly in all others), glass panels were placed in the floor, enabling views of the ancient Inca walls beneath the building.
· Breakfast by the only outdoor heated swimming pool in Cusco with accompanied by music from an Andean harpist
· The extraordinary dinner at Senzo Restaurant in a refined atmosphere (we enjoyed five courses or six if the handmade chocolates served with our espresso was counted)
Ideas for spending time in and around the city:
· Walking the historic cobbled stone streets and plazas and exploring ongoing restorations
· Visiting the popular Saint Pedro market and sipping a freshly prepared, and very purple chica morada
· Hiking from Palacio Nazarenas to Sacsahuaman and exploring, with the aid of a local guide, (usually a number of them are offering their services at either entrance to the site), this impressive site. Or hire a guide with a car and driver to visit Sacsahuaman, Q’enqo and Tambomachay
· Visiting http://www.luxurylink.com/5star/hote...boutique-hotel for a leisurely and informative tour of this amazing Cusqueña style renovated boutique hotel
Dining drinking and socializing:
1) La Bodega 138, Herrajes, 138 - only a short walk from Palacio Nazarenas and a world apart in dining experiences. If you go, ask if Diego is working (one of the owners). Very, very casual, inexpensive and can be a lot of fun, depending on your spirit and those of your fellow diners.
2) La Bodega Verde, Santa Catalina Angosta, 135 - A casual second floor hangout for backpackers and 'tree hugger' types. Honest and fresh simple food, at a fair prices. If you can score the one and only table on the small balcony - take it!
3) Paddy's Irish Bar - Almost everyone who spends any time in Cusco will climb the stairs, attempt to find a place to sit and sip some refreshments while sharing their stories.
4) Looking for a place with drinks, more English channel satellite TV choices and friendly barkeepers? Try the JW Marriott Cusco and ask the front desk personnel to show you a room with a 'wall view."
Whatever you do, try not to just pass through Cusco! This is a wonderful place to stay for several nights and explore the history.