Arriving at Cusco at night after a whole day of flying, I had reserved an Uber from the airport and the trip from the airport to the hotel in the old town of Cusco costs just PEN12.75 (~$3.80). I was able to negotiate a rate with the driver for him to drive us to the Tambo del Inka property in Urubamba as well on a flat rate.
The hotel being a historical property did not have a traditional porch. Instead there was an archway entrance on cobblestone pathways so there was a bit of a difficulty for guests with rolling luggages. Just right by the entrance of the hotel is an area for the concierge and a couple of desk that is manned by tour operators in the day.
Inside the hotel, guests are then directed to the check-in counter located past the entrance with its own glass covered atrium. However it was dark when we arrived past sunset.
While I went to check-in, my wife was able to get some coca tea from the stand beside the reception desk. Most hotels in Cusco region provides coca tea for travelers not accustomed to the altitude. Check-in at Lima always takes some time as the staff will request for all the occupant’s passports and/or ID cards before processing the stay. A valid credit card is then swiped for incidentals. Some locals in Peru might not be fluent in English, but the front desk staff here are easy to converse to in English.
In the evenings, the lobby is quite busy so it was a brief explanation of the benefits for Platinum guests along with mentioning where breakfast is served. She also pointed the concierge and tour desks in case I wanted to book a trip to Machu Picchu. Along with the room keys, she handed me drink vouchers, spa discount vouchers and a letter detailing benefits for Platinum members.
Room No: 477 Category: Deluxe Suite with 2 Twin Beds
Since it was late and we wanted to rest, we brought our luggages with us so we can freshen up quickly once we get to our room. For a short hotel, it was fortunate that elevators were installed and our room was not far from the elevators that was close to the reception desk.
The front desk staff checking us in mentioned about the suite upgrades as part of the Platinum benefits and a living room greeted us on entry. There is a lounge chair with an armchair in the living space around a low coffee table. A flat screen TV hangs on the wall.
Beside the entrance, there was a small powder room with its own toilet.
At the end of the living room, there is a work desk but it was cluttered with the thick folder outlining the hotel’s facilities. The other half of the space was taken up by a large Philips speaker and a capsule espresso machine by Britt. That basically renders little use of the desk for anything else but I doubt many travelers come to Cusco to do business.
Next to the desk there was a circular table that looks out of place and should probably be a dining table except there was no extra chairs. There was an ice bucket on top of this circular table. At the end was the minibar cabinet with glasses placed on the top.
Moving to the bedroom proper which is separated by a door, there was 2 generous sized beds inside the room that could easily sleep a young family of 2 adults with 2 kids. This could certainly count for a family suite and definitely rare to find a suite with 2 double beds.
In between the beds, there was a small bedside table with 2 bottles of water placed there. Guests could easily request for additional bottled waters without additional charges. Power outlets were convenient to access for charging devices from the bedside table as well.
At the end of the bedroom, there was a small bench that could be used as a luggage stand or additional room seating. The positioning of 2 large beds in the bedroom meant there was little space for any other furniture and the flat-screen TV was wall mounted with no console underneath it.
Next to the bedroom, there was a walk-in closet with space to store your luggage and valuables. A standard in-room safe is found here with umbrellas and a luggage stand. There was bathrobes, slippers and additional pillows inside the closet as well.
Connected to the closet was the bathroom. For a suite, the bathroom was standard in size and feels a bit small. There was only a single sink with the shower area being located over the bathtub. A standard rain shower head found in most North American hotel chains is placed above the tub, while a Euro-style swivelling glass partition keeps the water out of the floors. It was functional but not the nicest to use in a luxury hotel.
Even the space for the toilet is limited as the bathroom door would swing over to cover it when the door is opened. Fortunately, there is an extra toilet over in the powder room.
Bath amenities placed on the countertop was by Gilchrist & Soames, which is the first time I saw it in a Luxury Collection hotel.
A small piece of chocolate is placed by each bed after turndown service in the evening, something I expect of any hotel that states itself as luxury oriented.
While the suite was nice, there seems to be a lack of windows and the only windows in the suite was small. The suite has views of the hotel’s smaller Casona courtyard so it is quiet and peaceful even in the day.
In the day, guests could see the hills in the north where the statue of Jesus Christ is located at.
Breakfast at Inti Raymi Restaurant
Destination fee charged by the hotel includes breakfast and daily coca teas so I was able to get the free breakfast and the bonus points. Breakfast is served at the Inti Raymi restaurant located beside the larger Cuatro Bustos courtyard. Guests could get a seat by the courtyard or even on the tables outside in the courtyard but it was a cold morning so we chose the interior seating.
What makes the breakfast great was that in addition to the buffet, guests could order items like French toast, omelettes and other eggs prepared to your liking. This was listed on the menu presented by the server.
On the buffet spread, there was the usual continental selections of milk, yogurt, granolas and quinoas. Gluten free pastries were available beside the yogurts and quinoas.
There was a section filled with a good variety of cold cuts and cheeses. Beside it was a basket of great croissants.
Toast was available along with a selection of pastries.
In the hot food section, there was two kinds of pancakes – standard and quinoa with various fruit compotes to add on the sides. Strawberry sauce or syrup was provided as the toppings.
Other dishes includes the regular scrambled egg, bacon and sausages that we commonly find in breakfast buffets, with mixed vegetables and potatoes.
A local dish was rotated on the buffet and one of them was Pastel de Acelga. Packet of energy bars are found on the buffet island as well, making it convenient for diners to grab a couple for their hikes or trips around the city later in the day.
At the end of the buffet section, there is the salad bar with guacamoles, various chilli sauces and more specialty salads. Tamale, a South American cuisine was served on one of the day we had breakfast. Sliced salmon was available at the side of the salad bar too.
For beverages, there was a range of smoothies and fruit juices in addition to coffee that guests can order from the menu. Tea bags and fresh herbal teas from the coca leaves are supplied on the buffet for diners to brew their own favourite.
Fresh and cut fruits were to be found on the buffet, and there was a small bowl of algarrobina syrup that is meant as toppings for the fruits.
The whole buffet spread was very good with plenty of selection and I liked being able to pre-order eggs cooked to my liking. In addition, the buffet had plenty of condiments and toppings along with some local dishes that separates it from the standard hotel breakfast buffet.
During the morning we had breakfast, the hotel has an arrangement with some locals to sell their wares in the courtyard next to the restaurant. There was a musician playing the harp for guests seated in the inside section. It was definitely a hotel breakfast to remember.
Spa and Fitness Facility
There was a fitness centre at the end of the courtyard which I did not get to explore since it was in a small room but I did check out the spa that was located next to the reception. While the fitness centre has no supervision and is open 24 hours, the spa operates from 10am to 10pm and using the thermal baths requires a fee even for hotel guests.
There was a small plunge pool and a jacuzzi with several chairs for relaxation but I cannot fathom why guests have to pay for such a mediocre facility.
As a heritage property, the hotel actually hosts a guided tour every evening with one of the hotel’s staff explaining some of the highlights of the artworks in the hotel along with the historical significance of this mansion that has a prominent location in the oldest part of town.
At the end of the tour, a local dressed as an Inca warrior will conduct some rites and traditional blessings, with tour participants welcome to provide tips.
There was other activities to participate in like a pisco sour making demonstration where participants can then try out some pisco sours by the bar. For my stay the rate was $275 which includes a destination fee of $25. The destination fee includes the hotel guided tour, complimentary pisco sours, a free audio guide app for San Blas and Cathedral of Cusco, credit for the spa, access to the press reader for digital newspapers and unlimited local calls. At this rate, it was definitely on the upper end of the scale for a lodging in Cusco since there are definitely plenty of local lodging for less than half this price. However for a special occasion and to be able to experience a stay in a historical mansion, I think it would be worth it.