Belmond Hotel Monasterio
What We Love
- Staying in the heart of historic Cusco, just a block from the Plaza de Armas
- This wonderfully preserved monastery is full of Inca and colonial history
- Pisco sours in the lobby bar
- Some rooms are enriched with extra oxygen to ward off altitude sickness
What To Know
- Cusco is 11,000 feet above sea level; give yourself plenty of time to adjust (water, oxygen) to the altitude
- All rooms have a different style and layout; some of the Superior Rooms feel small, at 269 square feet
- El Tupay restaurant can be pricey but is worth the splurge
- There is a mandatory $350 New Year's Eve Gala Dinner charge for adults staying on December 31
- A 10 percent service charge per room will be collected at checkout on Jetsetter
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Kids Club
If these walls could talk. It’s not typically the first thing you think of at a hotel, but few, if any, are infused with history on the scale of Cusco’s Belmond Hotel Monasterio. The collision of cultures that this Spanish monastery, built in 1595 atop an Inca palace, witnessed is first revealed when you enter from the Plazoleta Nazarenas, where walls of original Inca stones give way to the hotel’s regal doorway, which is still graced with Spain’s coat of arms. Exploring the hotel’s history could easily occupy a full day. Its story is told in the exquisite art that adorns the walls and the stone columns that rise from a series of inner courtyards, with the main cloister protecting a 300-year-old cedar tree. It also houses a Baroque chapel decorated with works by Cusqueña artists.
Bed and Bath
Despite its age, this hotel’s 126 rooms and suites, originally the dormitories for the Jesuits stationed here, are far from monastic — they are, in fact, supremely comfortable. No two are exactly alike, but all are decorated to reflect the building’s colonial and Catholic heritage: burned yellow walls hung with religious art, and antique wooden beds, tables and chairs. Window shutters open to reveal views of the courtyard or the red tile rooftops of Cusco, which sits a dizzying 11,000 feet above sea level. Few travelers will have experienced such heights, and in some rooms, the hotel will pump pure oxygen into your room to ward off altitude sickness.
The service here is as superior as the hotel is historic. Your luggage is whisked away upon your arrival, so you can sit with an energizing coca tea or pisco sour in the lobby lounge while the front desk deals with check-in. The hotel’s two restaurants veer from the traditional, combining local ingredients with chef Federico Ziegler’s French sensibilities at El Tupay. Hearty breakfasts and light lunches are served at Illariy, which looks out through floor-to-ceiling windows into the main courtyard. The concierge services are knowledgeable and comprehensive, though you’d be well served to plan your explorations of Cusco and the surrounding archeological sites well in advance — there’s half a millennia of history to explore, after all.
In the Area
Cusco’s ancient alleyways and cobbled streets were made for exploring on foot. Don’t miss the Plaza de Armas and its 16th-century cathedral, the Qorikancha (Temple of the Sun), and the artists of the San Blas neighborhood. The extraordinary Incan ruins of Sacsayhuamán and the market town of Pisac are also within easy reach. Shop for stylish alpaca scarves and knitwear at Kuna and Sol Alpaca, and silver jewelry at Ilaria. Feast on Novo Andino cuisine at Limo, which overlooks the main square, and sample inventive cocktails at the Museo del Pisco bar.