Wednesday, January 18, 2017

THE BEST OF PERU - IN STYLE

With good reason Pernilla Aguillar is our Peru specialist. She has lived in this South American country and has visited many times. Her latest trip takes in highlights of the scenery and culture, and the best accommodations available… 

Her trip starts in the capital Lima…

Lima

With some 9 million people, Lima is full of chaos, traffic jams, street dogs and people everywhere. But it is also a place to discover history, culture and some of the world’s best restaurants. Eat, eat and eat ..

City center has beautiful colonial style architecture and a wonderful cathedral. However, the best hotels and safest areas to stay are on the coastline. Miraflores is the most popular area for tourists with its many restaurants and high end hotels. Barranco is the upcoming trendy area with nice restaurants, arts and hip ‘vibe’.


Belmond Miraflores Park

Overlooks the beautiful coastline. It’s worth upgrading to a suite with Ocean View! But all suites are bright and modern, with own decoration and finest of cotton linens and amenities. They also have an Exclusive lounge area for those staying in club rooms, offering breakfast, afternoon tea, snacks, tapas, daily newspaper and private concierge service. You can also use the showers if you have a late flight.


One-bedroom suite at Miraflores

But the place to gravitate to is the the rooftop with a year round heated pool and magnificent view to the Pacific Ocean. Here is also the small gym and SPA.



Belmond Miraflores rooftop
 Extra: Complimentary bicycles to explore the area of Miraflores. There is a very nice path just outside the hotel. Safe and nice. 

Lobby at Miraflores

Hotel B

Located in the trendy art district Barranco. This unique hotel offers superb rooms -  not one like another. As I walked around it reminded me of Greenwich hotel in New York (owned by Robert de Niro). . Hotel B has that kind of trendy, arty, personal touch. It was an old private house now turned in to this wonderful boutique hotel.

Hotel B

The Don't Disturb sign on a room door


They have a popular restaurant and a great rooftop with chilled out atmosphere. No pool but sun loungers and bar. The house drink is not the Peruvian Pisco but Gin. They offer complimentary afternoon tea and vintage style bicycles to their guests.

A hotel for those wanting a unique hotel.

Cusco

Surrounded by the Andes at 3400m above sea-level lies the beautiful and charming town Cusco.  Cusco – meaning “middle of the world” was the Incas capital before the conquistadors moved it to Lima.

In recent years I find that Cusco has changed to the better. A lot more high-end restaurants and 5 star hotels have opened. This without losing the magic of its own rich culture from the Andean people. As you walk the streets of Cusco you will pass original Inca walls and antique shops selling unique handicraft.

I visited three top hotels Monasterio, Nazarenas and Inkaterra, all located on the same little square, not far from Plaza de Armas.

Belmond Hotel Monasterio 

As the name suggests the hotel is located in an old Monastery. It even has a chapel with original paintings that can be used for special occasions or for group check in. Like many old buildings in Cusco it has a lovely courtyard where guests can have their breakfast, coffee or just relax.

Hotel Monasterio


Some of the rooms have extra oxygen (extra charge) so that you get the same oxygen supply as you would down at about 1000 m. 

The rooms are nicely mixed with rich wood furnishings and antique artwork with a touch of the Andean styles. There are two restaurants, a spa,  hairdresser, and Cusco’s only Nikon shop in the hotel.

Belmond Palacio Nazarenas                

Next door to Monasterio is Palacio Nazarenas, a boutique hotel (55 suites) with butler service in all suites. It opened 2012 after many years of restoration of an old nunnery. They also have little courtyards and one of them is an organic garden where they grow herbs. Everyday they serve complimentary afternoon tea.


Studio suite

All suites have extra oxygen in the air conditioner making the altitude go down with 1000m. In the suite you will also find a complimentary bottle of Pisco. The butler will introduce the guest on how to prepare a perfect Pisco Sour.

The suites are wonderful and spacious, up to date and light. Nazarenas had the most  nutritious breakfast buffet I have ever seen. All the goodies from the Andean highland (like quinoa, kiwicha and more) and all the fruits from the Amazonas. Wonderful start of the day.

A rare feature in Cusco - hotel pool outdoors

Nazarenas is one of the few hotels in Cusco offering an outdoor pool. Always heated to 25 degrees. That is a good reason to make the  hotel the first choice in Cusco. 

Inkaterra La Casona      

Inkaterra La Casona
Opposite Palacio Nazarenas you find a green door. A modest sign on the wall, no flags, no doorbell – just a green door. As you knock on the door a porter will open and let you in. There is no front desk; you do your check in in the lounge or in your room. Inkaterra La Casona is very small, only 11 suites.

Balcony suite

The restaurant is small and for breakfast everything is ordered from the kitchen. There is no space for having a buffet breakfast out front but for sure they do have all you want in the kitchen.
Afternoon tea is complimentary. There is a tiny spa.

D├ęcor is a mix of antiques and Andean textiles. Beautiful. There is an open fire in each suite and the floors are heated. Very nice - as Cusco can be cold.

 Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley is a hidden gem. Here is so much to see and do. The Incas were very active in their agriculture here growing corn, potatoes, quinoa and typical Andean herbs and left loads of interesting places for tourists to visit. The valley is so beautiful with high green mountains, snowy peaks as backdrop, deep valleys, small towns (like Pisaq, Urubamba, Ollantay) and superb 5* hotels. It is also a place to stay if you want an active Peruvian visit.

The climate is nicer here than in Cusco where the night are colder. Sacred Valley has an altitude of 2400 m above sea level. 1000m less than Cusco. I would recommend at least 2 nights stay.
There is lots to do from visiting the Pisaq ruins and handicraft market and Ollantaytambo to riding, hiking, hot air ballooning and ziplining.


Inkaterra         

In the Sacred Valley - Inkaterra

Located outside the village of Urubamba in a remote area. Inkaterra is an elegant and lovely hotel with fantastic views. The main building consists of a lounge, reception, restaurants and a few suites while cottages are scattered around the area. All cottages have a smaller veranda with sun chairs to just relax and soak in the majestic mountains. The decoration has a wonderful and beautiful Peruvian touch.

A hotel  everyone would like.

Explora

Of the beaten track reached by a dirt road Explora was newly opened summer 2016. Explora as a chain is all about exploring the area you are in, a hotel for outdoor activities. This one is no different. Almost all excursions are included in the price.

Explora

The hotel is basically wooden with clean cuts and lines. Very “Scandinavian” one could say. The colors are mellow and earthy. The rooms are located in three (not so nice looking) separate buildings and the rooms are rather simple. I missed color and coziness… 
For those wanting outdoor activities all day long.

Belmond Valley Sagrado       

WOW - I absolutely love this Belmond property. It has the views, the accommodation, a large garden where they serve barbeque, nice pool area, Spa with Inca shower, sauna, Jacuzzi, and even 2 lamas living on the premises. They offer excursions in the area and even support local villages in society cooperation.

Their 3 bedroom villas are fabulous with wonderful design. In each villa there is a fully equipped kitchen, a living room with an open fire and access to the garden. Very private.
In the garden they have set up hammocks and placed sun chairs for relaxation overlooking the river

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca borders between Peru and Bolivia at altitude of 3800m above sea level. According to ancient beliefs, God Viracocha first destroyed earth by creating a flood and then created the sun, the moon and the stars from the lake.

Today there are about 40 Islands in the lake, some nhabited. Most popular to visit are Amantani, Taquile, Uros and on the Bolivian side Sun Island and Moon Island. In addition you can go hiking, canoeing, biking…

You need at least 2 nights stay.


Hotel Titilaka    

Some 2 hours drive from the airport of Juliacas is Titilaka. On the way you pass traditional Andean villages, both horrible and lovely at once. It might seem like a long transfer but it is sooo worth it...

Titilaka is a trendy boutique hotel with only 18 rooms. It is located right on the edge of the lake and all rooms have superb views over Titicaca. The most popular room type gives both sunrise and sunset views. All rooms have heated floors which are great as it gets really cold at night. There are plenty of common spaces with comfortable chairs to relax and in the lounge area there is an open fire, a popular stay for a drink after a day full of out door excursions.  The hotel has one restaurant serving really good food.

Sundowner by Titicaca
But you are not in this area just to stay in the hotel. You are there to explore Lake Titicaca and the surroundings. A lot of excursions are included in your stay as well as cocktail time and afternoon tea.



Love this place. 


Note: in May 2017 Belmond's luxury sleeper train will go between Cusco and Lake Titicaca. READ OUR INFORMATION. .

Pernilla Aguillar, our Peru specialist, is a travel advisor at Select Collection in Stockholm. We will tailor make a journey just for you and your party.

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