Sign Up for Our Daily Newsletter
Despite its relatively small size and remote location, Cusco, Peru, has always been an important destination. For centuries, it was the capital of the Inca empire, and today it’s the gateway to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. When the first Spaniards arrived here in the 16th century, they marveled at the city’s engineering feats, technical achievements and stunning architecture.
After the Spanish invasion, many Inca buildings were destroyed, as the conquerors sought to put their own stamp on the city. One of the new construction projects was a monastery, and visitors to Cusco can stay at this same monastery today.
No longer a religious center, the grounds now make up the Belmond Hotel Monasterio.
This 122-room luxury property, which dates to the 1500s, is also a protected national monument. It has retained the historic feeling of the past, while adding the modern amenities that travelers expect from a five-star accommodation. The result is a truly unique and unforgettable experience.
The hotel hosts one of Cusco’s largest collections of 18th century colonial religious art, and walking around Belmond Hotel Monasterio feels like touring a museum. (In fact, the hotel offers guests its own art tours of the property.) Art in the guestrooms as well as the public areas make the property feel more like a private hacienda. The hotel’s standard guestrooms feature king-size or twin beds; a marble bathroom; an LCD television; and air conditioning on request. Suites feature a large marble bathroom with separate bath and shower; a separate seating area and a writing desk; a private patio, balcony or terrace; air conditioning; and more. All rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi access.
The hotel is built around a central courtyard, and at its center is a fountain and a 300-year-old cedar tree. In the mornings, guests can eat outside in the courtyard, and there is an afternoon coffee and bar service around the fountain.
The hotel has two main restaurants. Illariy, the breakfast and lunch restaurant, is located in the cloisters overlooking the courtyard. It features live guitar music until 10:30 a.m. El Tupay is open for dinner, offering gourmet Peruvian cuisine. Three times a week, the restaurant stages an opera night featuring some of Cusco’s best singers.
The lobby bar specializes in top-notch pisco sours and other cocktails. The colonial Spanish atmosphere is a great setting for live jazz and blues music three times per week. Tell your clients to ask about the secret entrance to a second cafe that opens to the street. It’s a lively place where guests can hang out with the locals and enjoy homemade baked goods, coffee and more. The hotel also offers 24-hour room service.
As great as the accommodations and amenities are, one of the best aspects of the Hotel Belmond Monasterio is its location. It’s a five-minute drive from the Cusco airport and a five-minute walk from the Plaza de Armas, the city’s main plaza. The hotel is also in the heart of Cusco’s shopping and dining district. Abercrombie & Kent uses the hotel for its tours because of its luxury and its convenience.
One of the fears with staying at a historic property is how well it accommodates modern travelers’ needs. The Belmond Hotel Monasterio succeeds in being historic, without feeling old. There is nothing cookie-cutter or boring about the experience, and it’s the kind of unique property that today’s guests hunger for.
The DetailsHotel Belmond Monasteriowww.belmond.com