As luxury traveller destinations go, Peru probably doesn’t rank that highly for high end tour expenditure. This shouldn’t be the case, because with Machu Picchu as a focal point, Peru is on a par with Europe, North America and Asia for premium hotels and travel experiences.
A stint in the city of Cusco is the beginning of your Machu Picchu trip. You’re going to spend at least one night here, given that you’ll want to depart to Machu Picchu in the morning. In which case, you might as well spend a couple of nights and allow yourself to get acclimated to the altitude and enjoy some of the fine dining that Cusco has to offer.
There are several restaurants worth going to but one of the best has to be a relative newcomer to the city: Tartessos. While it has a full menu, the tapas offer many different taste sensations, the desserts are heavenly and the wine list will make it difficult to make a choice. Other things that are worth considering include the Divina Comedia with its Quechua opera and Le Soleil, a new French restaurant. To help passengers carry on their conversations, tasteful intervals are used for singing.
For luxury hotels, the first name on the sheet has always been Monasterio. It has some competition now, however, in Inkaterra’s luxury boutique hotel, La Casona, located in the same plaza. Other offerings to consider are the Casa Andina Private Collection and the Libertador.
When it comes to luxury, there is only one way to travel to Machu Picchu and that is on Peru Rail’s Hiram Bingham train. The South Americas isn’t known for its luxury trains but this train with its brunch on the way there, and pre-dinner cocktails with a 4-course meal on the return journey is as close as you can get to the Orient Express. The train will arrive around mid-day so it’s a good idea to simply relax and overnight, going to Machu Picchu the following morning when it’s less crowded. Note that the train is typically taken up and back in the same day so you will need to make it clear that you want a different itinerary.
Once you’re at Machu Picchu Pueblo, also known as Aguas Calientes, you have some choices to make. The architectural site itself is home to one of the best luxury hotels. Although this doesn’t give you any additional privileges as far as the site is concerned, you will get some stunning views of the citadel that you couldn’t otherwise obtain.
Room choices include suites, rooms that have terraces and rooms that have mountain views. It is also possible to get a room with a king-sized bed. The restaurant is gourmet quality, featuring both Peruvian dishes as well as those from around the world. You can have a massage as you relax or enjoy the hotel gardens.
When it comes to gardens, however, the Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel can’t be beat. The grounds are enormous, allowing you to take a lovely walk without even leaving the hotel where there is a nature center allowing you to enjoy a huge variety of birds and orchids.
This hotel also offers a fantastic restaurant and spa area. Choices of rooms include casitas with their own fireplaces and villa suites, each of which has its own pools, garden and terraces.
Last but not least, a luxury alternative is the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel for your accommodation needs. A spa and five-star hotel, this too comes with junior, superior or full suites with some rooms having a jacuzzi, fireplace and king-sized bed. Of special mention here is the gastronomic pleasures offered by the hotel restaurant.