• Ancient stones are everywhere
    Photography: Greg Sacks

  • Lovingly decorated with soothing colours and painted in warm light
    Photography: Greg Sacks

  • Every room has a story, and the knowledgeable staff know them all
    Photography: Greg Sacks

  • Breakfast is served in a room looking out onto the courtyard
    Photography: Greg Sacks

  • This is a tough room to leave
    Photography: Greg Sacks

  • A fireplace at the foot of your bed ensures a cozy sleep
    Photography: Greg Sacks

  • The backlit tub beckons after a long day of hiking
    Photography: Greg Sacks

  • The courtyard is even more impressive at night
    Photography: Greg Sacks

  • Living room detail
    Photography: Greg Sacks

  • A relaxed afternoon in the courtyard
    Photography: Greg Sacks

  • Colonial furniture blends with indigenous textiles for perfect effect
    Photography: Greg Sacks

La Casona: Hotel Perfection

Cusco has its fair share of hotels, welcoming grubby backpackers, blue rinse jet setters, and everything in between. You could spend hours (if not weeks) choosing the best place to bed down.

If you’re a hotel aficionado and want to be wowed, it’s no done deal; there are several properties worthy of distinction. And of course, everyone is an expert—just take a look at Trip Advisor and you’ll know what I mean. But if you can honestly say you want the best, I can honestly reply that there is no choice; Inkaterra La Casona rules.

While guiding in Cusco back in 2003, I befriended the owners of hipster restaurant Fallen Angel, located on the Plazoleta de las Nazarenas, across from the Monasterio Hotel. Late one night they took me behind yellow caution tape and showed me a project in the works—one of the city’s most prestigious and historical properties was being brought back from ruin. Six years later Inkaterra La Casona opened its doors, and man did they nail it.

In keeping with the best new boutique hotel trends, there is no formal reception desk—friendly staff just appear and intuit your every need. The lounge area is all candelabras and cozy couches, peppered with curios from colonial times. Eleven suites encircle an inner courtyard and are cocooned from the street bustle outside (if there is anything to complain about, it’s the lack of windows in each room). The whole place is lit like a film set, and every detail just gets better upon closer inspection. Giant antique doors open to reveal the most welcoming rooms imaginable, despite their enormous size. Each one is unique, featuring carefully curated textiles, fireplaces, backlit bathtubs and architectural accents from the building’s storied past.

Many travel itineraries place Cusco near the front—an early chapter to precede Machu Picchu. But Cusco is quite a bit higher than Machu Picchu, and to really enjoy the city you are best to acclimate beforehand. If you’re keen to end your trip on a high note, save Cusco for last and book yourselves into Inkaterra La Casona. It’s a hotel exclamation mark you won’t soon forget.

July 22, 2009

The whole place is lit like a film set, and every detail just gets better upon closer inspection.

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