Belmond Sanctuary Lodge
What We Love
- The rate includes buffet breakfast, a la carte lunch and a la carte dinner
- Location next door to Machu Picchu makes visiting the heritage site a snap
- On-site hot tub has mountain views
- Innovative, gourmet Peruvian cuisine using home-grown produce
- Massages and yoga sessions help muscles relax post-hike
- The hotel stocks a telescope and digital binoculars for stargazers and birdwatchers
What To Know
- The Lodge is up the hill from Machu Picchu town and the Aguas Calientes train station, and is only accessible via public bus; there are no taxis going to the Machu Picchu complex
- Property is about 8,200 feet above sea level, so guests often feel effects of the high-altitude
- Only 2,500 people are allowed entrance to the Machu Picchu complex each day, so book tickets in advance; the Lodge can also arrange for guides
- Check-out time is 11 a.m., but a day room is available for those departing by a later train
- The daily buffet lunch at Tinkuy is open to non-guests and can fill up quickly with hungry park visitors
- Members will be charged a 18% IVA tax by the property upon check-in that is exempt to foreigners of Peru. To avoid this fee, be sure to provide documentation at the time of check-in
- A mandatory $315 New Year's Eve Gala Dinner charge per person for those staying on December 31 will be collected on property
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
With a stay at Belmond Sanctuary Lodge in Machu Picchu, you’ll be in the mountains and minutes from Temple of the Condor and Machu Picchu. This 4-star hotel is within close proximity of Huayna Picchu and Manuel Chavez Ballon Site Museum.
Make yourself at home in one of the 31 guestrooms featuring iPod docking stations and minibars. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and satellite programming is available for your entertainment. Private bathrooms with showers feature complimentary toiletries and hair dryers. Conveniences include phones, as well as safes and desks.
Make use of convenient amenities such as complimentary wireless Internet access, gift shops/newsstands, and tour/ticket assistance.
Satisfy your appetite at one of the hotel’s 2 restaurants. Quench your thirst with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge.
Featured amenities include dry cleaning/laundry services, multilingual staff, and luggage storage.
How to Get There
The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge is the only hotel located at the summit of Machu Picchu. The hotel is a small property with just 31 rooms wedged in at the top of the bus road that takes tourists to the entrance of the site and right outside the Machu Picchu entrance.
The proximity to the entrance is the Sanctuary Lodge’s principal feature and an amazing asset. The ability to roll out of bed and straight into Machu Picchu, or to just walk straight to your hotel room after a half-day of hiking and sightseeing is pure luxury, but that convenience comes at a cost.
For the convenience of direct and immediate access to Machu Picchu, guests pay a very high premium with rates ranging from US$1,500-3,000/night. And for that you’re not exactly getting a luxury property. With exception to the 1BR Suites which range from 377-484sq ft, the standard rooms are a tight 183 sq ft. Décor and amenities in the rooms too, seemed to be more on the level of a 4-star, as opposed to luxury 5-star.
Our room included a small bedroom with king-size bed and a small bathroom with single sink, small shower and toilet. Everything was clean and well-maintained and seemed newly refurbished, though it felt more like a nice cruise-ship cabin than luxury hotel room. The bathroom was so small that the shower water would spill out and there was an odd smell that came from the drain after taking a shower. The complimentary minibar with non-alcoholic drinks and snacks was a nice touch.
The hotel includes two restaurants – one exclusive for guests and another buffet open to everyone – a small garden area, and a couple of spaces for massages and basic spa services. Our rate, which came from a package Belmond tour through Peru included full-board and we found the guest-only restaurant very good quality and more than satisfactory for our needs. The buffet restaurant was less impressive though. Public areas seemed newly renovated and nicely designed with contemporary fittings and artwork. It definitely did not feel like this was a run-down hotel resting on its laurels.
Where the hotel especially did meet luxury standards was in the service. Staff throughout were very obliging, friendly and helpful. As with the other Peruvian Belmonds we stayed in, we were very impressed with the service and noted a high attention to detail. Turn-down service was detail-oriented and efficiently executed, and it felt that there was always a staff member available to help.
Though the price is high and the rooms and amenities more closely resemble a 4-star hotel, I would not hesitate at all to recommend the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge for those willing to splurge. The service is excellent, the property is clean and well maintained and of course the location is unbeatable. Allowances should be made considering the extremely limited space and resourcing constraints available to a hotel in such a location. Furthermore, most people will be staying just 1-night or at most 2-nights, so it is really just meant to be a place for those willing to pay the premium for the convenience to crash and get easy access to Machu Picchu. If you can afford it, there really is no better way to access Machu Picchu!
Had the best time staying here! The hotel is beautiful and only about an hour from Macchu Picchu. I loved the showers that overlook the river. Came here for a wedding and never wanted to leave. The rooms are spacious and he entire property is stunning. Feed the alpacas!
The SL offers amazing service at every point of contact. Probably the best service we’ve ever experienced in years of traveling.
Example: room service couldn’t hear our order on the phone and responded, “we will come to your room.” 18 seconds later there’s a knock.
Everyone says good morning or Buenos Dias. Everyone.
Another example: we were taking the regular train from Agua Caliente to Ollantaytamba. So we took our luggage abd went to get in the line of 200+ people waiting for a bus in front of the hotel. We were intercepted by a Sanctuary Lodge bellman who grabbed our bags, took us to the front of the line, got us on the bus, rode down the to the train station with us, took our bags out, lead us to the station (which is impossible to find) carrying 2 of our 3 bags and ensconced us in the air-conditioned Belmond Hiram Walker waiting room (we were the only people there). He/the hotel didn’t have to do that. We weren’t expecting it. But it is indicative of the high level of service the SL provides.
I read some other reviews about the rooms at SL being small. They are. I suspect that’s because the hotel is grandfathered into a limited footprint and needs to maximize its utility. That said, they are plenty large enough. And they are fully equipped: super-fast WiFi, large TV w/several English channels including American CNN (although being removed from US politics is also kind of nice nice), full, high-quality toiletries, minibar with water, liquor and beer (all free), radio with iPhone option, king bed, reading lights, US electric sockets, high quality linens, fluffy towels the size of Kansas, robes, slippers, a safe, hairdryer.
I also read some review about disappointment with the room locations. It’s true, some rooms look out over the area where busses embark/disembark (though this is not a problem unless you’re sleeping late . . . something few do at MP). And, it’s true that some of the rooms with a garden terrace have no view from the room (though they can walk 30’ and use one of the lounge areas and see everything.) In part, it’s about money. We said, “the price is already outrageous, why not spend an extra few hundred and get the best?” So that’s what we did. The view from our room (#38) is below.
Then there is the food. Again, the service is impeccable. The, food quality, though, is not quite up to the rest of the hotel. First of all, of the 11 items on the lunch menu, 5 were trout-based. I like Peruvian trout, but I also like variety.
Some dishes are over-wrought. My wife was served a perfectly cooked chicken breast, but then they proceeded to stuff it with cheese and second-rate prosciutto. They should have left the sauces and additions on the side. I ordered a Club Sandwich, but the were just 2 tomato slices, no bacon, a few withered spinach leaves and an egg (yes, an egg). And it was barely toasted and had no discernable mayonnaise. Not like any club sandwich I ever had.
The breakfast buffet was OK, but certainly not up to what I’d expect from a place like the SL and for the price we paid to stay there. I ordered scrambled eggs and bacon. The eggs were quite good, but the bacon was a bit sad and over-cooked.
Despite high prices, we chose to stay at the Sanctuary Lodge as it was well rated and the only one right next to the sanctuary.
However, our experience was not that great. Despite asking a number of times, we were not guided correctly on how to get there from the train station. Check-in to the hotel was inefficient with multiple persons coming to us but no one actually giving us the room keys. Finally when we got to the rooms they were so very small that it was difficult to move around the bed.
Why on earth were we paying more than a thousand dollars to stay in a cubbyhole. Clearly the Belmont group is cashing in on the monopoly they have!
I should start off by saying I am not usually one to splurge for luxury hotels because it’s just not something that’s important to me. Give me a clean bed in a quiet safe room and I’m usually quite content. I will, however, be willing to paid extra for a great view or ideal location but I was hesitant to book the Sanctuary because I never paid this much for a single night before. Will it be worth it? For me, the location and convenience alone is completely worth it. Some people complain you don’t really have a huge advantage since the first bus starts unloading in front of the hotel around 5:45am. Seeing more and more buses unload did make me panic a little bit but I managed to eat a decent breakfast (I included photos of the beautiful display of food available), use the bathroom in my room before entering MP by 6:10am. I had tickets for Huayna Picchu that morning and finished the hike around 9:30am. Came back to my room to shower and cool down with drinks from my all inclusive mini bar, then check out at 11am and went back in to MP to explore for a few more hours. Then I came back and had my included lunch before getting on a Consettur bus to AC to catch my train to Poroy. Having the option to plan my day like this justifies the cost for me. I will also add it was the best sleep I had my entire trip. Not sure if it’s the bed or I was just sleeping poorly in Cusco due to the high altitude. The staff were all very kind and helpful, and the food was delicious. My only regret was not taking advantage of all the extras, like attending the Pisco making demonstration or having a drink on the terrace. My focus was making it up Huayna Picchu so I avoided alcohol the first night. In any case, I am glad I chose to stay at the Sanctuary. I have already recommended it to others if it is within their budget. Oh, and I took the Hiram Bingham train in which was an added bonus since all details to the Sanctuary and the first day tour were all taken care of as soon as I boarded the train in Poroy. Along with perfect weather, the hotel made my MP experience 5 star worthy.