From Urubamba, we returned back to Cusco where we stayed for another night as we had an early flight out of Cusco to Lima the next day. That makes it not feasible to stay another night in Urubamba. After another pleasant taxi ride with the same driver who brought us to Urubamba, we stayed at Hilton Garden Inn in Cusco for a more economical stay since we were just overnighting. The Hilton Garden Inn is located on higher ground than the old town, though it is still within walking distance to the Plaza San Francisco. There are no interesting sights, shops or restaurants in the neighbourhood though getting an Uber is easy and cheap to travel around the city.
There was no one to help us with our luggage when we arrived as the hotel was somewhat busy. As I walk across the small lobby, the other front desk agent welcomed me to the hotel and asked for my passports and credit cards. Check-in was more straightforward here and the agent asked if I would need late check-out. I was also provided with a drinks voucher and a breakfast voucher for 2 persons on account of being a Hilton Diamond member.
Aside from the lobby lounge, there is a gift shop selling Alpaca shawls and souvenirs from Peru. There is also a small tour desk at the side of the lobby with the pantry selling snacks and necessities on the right side of the lobby. More on the snack shop later but I headed straight to the room to drop off my luggage after getting my room keys through the elevators on the side.
Room No: 119 Category: 1 King Bed Suite
Being built on the slopeside of a hill, the reception and lobby is located at the top most floor with rooms located below. That meant going down to our rooms via the elevators.
Upon entering our room, I realized we had been upgraded to a suite, which is their highest category of room available. The large foyer has a long console table with the minibar placed on top. There was an espresso machine and Britt coffee capsules provided for guests who wants to make coffee. Two bottles of water was provided as per the Hilton members’ benefits, though I was able to request additional bottles of water easily.
Right after the foyer is the living room, and this added privacy for guests sleeping or resting on the bed as any housekeeping accidentally entering the room would not see you. The living room has a basic 2-seater sofa with an armchair and an elliptical lounge table that can double as a legrest. There was a flatscreen TV mounted in the wall separating the bedroom and the living room.
At the end of the hallway was a standard sized work desk with a swivelling work chair. While not large, the empty desk made it easy for guests who needs to use the space for their laptops.
On the desk, there was a plate of welcome amenity consisting of 4 small pralines with the Hilton Honors sign dusted in cocoa powder in the middle. It seems to me a bit of style over substance as it was not necessary to use such a large plate for the small chocolates.
Across from the living room was the bedroom but there was no doors separating the 2 spaces and this meant an open view to the King bed and armchair found in the bedroom. There was another flatscreen TV facing the bed so guests could still watch TV from the bed. Being a relatively new hotel, there was power plugs located above the bedside tables. An alarm clock is found on one side of the bed and a cordless phone is placed on the other.
While the living room has small windows beside the desk, there was a nice floor to ceiling window on the bedroom side.
Next to the bedroom was a closet area with sliding doors that doubles as a large wall mirror leading to the bathroom. The large closet was very nice for couples staying in this room for an extended stay. The bright lighting in this area made it very comfortable as well.
The bathroom was a standard design and layout common to North American hotels with a countertop on the left, the toilet in the middle and the bathtub and shower area on the right. On the countertop, there was amenities by Neutrogena though instead of a shower gel, there was only a bar soap. This is usually the case in a limited service hotel.
Instead of a bathtub and shower combination, this hotel has a shower cubicle with a glass door that opens out. I prefer this modern design for baths when travelling though there was only a standard over the head shower with no handheld ones available.
Being located on the hilltop, there was a nice view of the city from our room, if you discount the makeshift car park on the lower corner.
Breakfast in the Restaurant
Breakfast in the morning starts early at 6am which allowed us to grab breakfast before heading to the airport for our morning flight to Lima. The breakfast is served in The Garden Grill restaurant at the lowest floor in the hotel and is served buffet style.
The buffet is found along the wall and there was a made-to-order egg station at the end with a staff on hand to help you prepare them. Scrambled eggs were available from one of the plates on the buffet.
There was local vegetables and stir-fried tomatoes on the buffet alongside the usual bacon and sausages as hot dishes.
Local quinoa soup was served from the pot and beside it was a variety of cold cuts and cheese. Olives, vegetables and salsa was available underneath the cold cut platter as side dishes.
No buffet is complete without a large bread and pastry selection and the choice here was respectable with a variety of breakfast rolls, sliced bread and sweet pastries. There was various jams and honey in jars to add to your plain white toast.
To end there was strawberry yogurt and natural yogurt from glass jars with cold milk or soy milk. Basic sliced fruits like pineapple and watermelon was provided with small glasses of healthy smoothies.
For drinks, there was Lipton tea or local tea bags including sachets of Coca tea. Brewed coffee is served from the dispenser alongside hot water while orange, watermelon or papaya juice are available as well.
Drinks at the Bar
As a Diamond member, I obtained free drinks at the bar located across from the Garden Grill restaurant. Guests could sit by the bar area or in the small lounge area.
Guests could select from a variety of wines, cocktails or pisco sour for the free drink. The bartender was fairly generous with the choices and a bowl of mixed nut snacks was served alongside the drink. It was a nice way to spend my last night in Cusco.
In lobby, besides the gift shop, there was a Garden pantry like in all Hilton Garden Inn properties. As there is no contents in the minibar fridge, guests could purchase a variety of items at more affordable and reasonable prices in the pantry. There was basic chips and nuts on sale along with travel necessities like toothbrush, razor and hygiene products.
Cold drinks and ice cream was available for purchase as well since there was a chilled section in the pantry.
Other facilities inside the hotel includes a wellness and yoga room that comprises of a small room with several yoga mats and fitness balls for basic exercises. This was adequate for a Hilton Garden Inn in a leisure destination since most travellers would get their exercise from the hikes around the Sacred Valley.
My favourite feature of this hotel though are the large courtyards that they have on the lowest floor outside the restaurant and bar area. One of the courtyard has a fountain in the middle with outdoor deck chairs placed around for guests to lounge in during nice weather while the other courtyard is empty but there was sofas and tables beside it where guests could lounge during rainy weather.
Along the second courtyard, guests could also find a business centre with a TV lounge and a couple of desktops connected to a printer.
Located at one corner of the courtyard there was the >El Mirador conservatory which is a very nice lounge for guests who wants some quiet time. There was some old magazines and books placed in the lounge but other than that, there was no attendant or food and beverages here. There was a nice view outside from the window though and its location at the end makes it a very empty part of the hotel where guests can read books in peace.
Room rates here was around $193++ per night when I stayed, and this was on the whole a bit steep for a Hilton Garden Inn but it was cheaper than the other established chain hotels found in Cusco. Being a tourist and leisure destination, there are limited established hotel chains that have quality rooms and I just picked the cheapest one I could earn points and have an assurance of a good nights sleep before getting on the road again. For longer stays in Cusco, I would recommend booking other properties like the Palacio del Inka or the JW Marriott for a bit more since they are way better and more convenient for walking around the old town.