A formerly state-owned hotel has been taken over by the Inkaterra Group to create El Mapi (Pachacútec 109, tel. 084/21-1011, reservas [at] byinkaterragroup [dot] com, US$200 s or d with breakfast buffet). This hotel is by far the most modern looking of the Inkaterra range, with a beautiful bar, restaurant, and wooden fencing along the windows. To get there from the main square take the main road, Pachacútec, and it is on the right-hand side.
The owners of the Aguas Calientes restaurants Toto’s House and Pueblo Viejo have various hotels: Inti Inn (Pachacútec s/n, tel. 084/21-1137, www.grupointi.com, US$140 s or d). Although the rooms are impressively small, the furnishings are pleasant, the beds firm and comfortable, and your towels come wrapped up like a Christmas package.
The Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (Railroad Km 110, tel. 084/21-1132, www.inkaterra.com, US$394 s, US$500 d) is one of Peru’s most elegant hotels and has been aptly described a “paradise at Machu Picchu’s feet.” A short walk from the hustle and bustle of Aguas Calientes, this peaceful patch of rainforest echoes the tumbling of the nearby Río Urubamba and the sounds of some 150 different tropical birds. Stone paths wind through the forest past fountains and pools and up to secluded bungalows. Large rooms feature rustic colonial-style furniture, rough tile floors, luxury bathrooms, recessed reading areas, and nice details like fluffy bathrobes, fruit, and the hotel’s own line of organic shampoos, soaps, and conditioners. The hotel has grown since 1978 with an earth-friendly philosophy that includes building all of its furniture on-site. It received the Sustainable Travel award from National Geographic Traveler in 2002.
Pueblo Hotel is the only Machu Picchu hotel to give visitors a taste of the jungle, and it’s the best substitute for those not planning to visit the Amazon. The biologist guides lead early-morning bird-watching walks (we saw a range of tanagers, hummingbirds, motmots, and the Andean cock of the rock in two hours). The hotel’s nature walks include the biggest orchid collection in Peru (372 species), a butterfly house, and a miniature tea plantation. The hotel has reintroduced the Oso anteojos (Andean spectacled bear) to the area; three bears now live in the grounds of the hotel, and you can also take a tour to visit them. There is an excellent restaurant, a bar, a spa (US$60 for massage and sauna), and a spring-fed swimming pool. Guides lead a two-hour walk up into the forest to waterfalls and pre-Inca stone carvings as well as other day hikes in the area.
If you have deep pockets and want to stay within a stone’s throw of the lost Inca city, check out the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge (next to the entrance to the ruins, tel. 084/21-1039, res mapi [at] peruorienteexpress [dot] com [dot] pe, http://machupicchu.orient express.com, US$825 s/d with full board). The lodge began as a state-owned hotel in the 1970s, but it was privatized in 1995 and ultimately acquired by Orient-Express Hotels, which also operates Cusco’s finest hotel, Hotel Monasterio, and PeruRail. Orient-Express is not allowed to make any additions to the building, so it remains a small, modest hotel on the outside with an elegant interior. The 31 rooms have been outfitted with antiques, king-size beds, and cable TV, and the slightly more expensive rooms have views over the ruins. One advantage of staying here is a night excursion to the ruins, hosted by a local shaman, which is difficult to do from Aguas Calientes. There are two restaurants, one serving gourmet à la carte items (US$40–50) and the other offering an extraordinary buffet (US$29). The hotel also offers trekking, river rafting, and mountain-biking trips; walking paths behind the hotel lead through an orchid garden. In high season, this hotel is booked solid, so make reservations at least three months in advance.
The lastest five-star hotel in Machu Picchu, which took two years to build, is Sumaq (Av. Hermanos Ayar s/n, tel. 084/21-1059, reservas [at] sumaqhotelperu [dot] com, US$480 s, US$600 d). This stunning hotel has been built in an Inca style with large, spacious rooms, each with its own range of amenities, beautiful king-size beds, and bathtubs. The hotel offers cooking classes, bird-watching tours, and access to a spa equipped with a sauna, massage service, and a Jacuzzi. Dinner is also included in the price.
Another option is the upscale Hatuchay Towers (Carretera Puente Ruinas MZ 4, tel. 084/21-1201, www.hatuchaytower.com, US$282 s, US$305 d), which is fully equipped with elevators. Breakfast and dinner are included, and family suites as well as regular rooms are available. While you shouldn’t be put off by the garish mural in the lobby, the hotel restaurant, with its delicious buffet, is highly recommended, and fair-trade textiles from a community in Chinchero are for sale at the hotel shop.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition