Niños Hotel (Meloq 442, tel. 084/23-1424, www.ninoshotel.com , US$40 s or d) is a remarkable place with a cause. Its Dutch owner uses hotel revenue to feed, clothe, and provide medical assistance to needy street boys. And as if that isn’t enough reason to stay here, just four blocks from the Plaza de Armas , the restored colonial home of Niños Hotel is absolutely lovely. With large, stylish rooms, hardwood floors, and a pleasant courtyard for taking breakfast, it’s easy to make yourself at home. There is a second location at Fierro 476 (tel. 084/23-1424) and a Niños Hotel Hacienda in Huasao.
Just one block from the Plaza de Armas, Hostal San Isidro Labrador (Saphy 440, tel. 084/22-6241, labrador [at] qnet [dot] com [dot] pe, US$35 s, US$45 d) is a simple and elegant place with a handful of rooms, each with its own charm. It is right next to the police station and thus is one of the safer locations in Cusco . This hotel is operated by the Lambarri family, who also run the exclusive Huayoccari Hacienda Restaurant in Yucay.
In the center of San Blas  are Casa de la Gringa (Tandapata 148) and Casa de la Gringa II (Carmen Bajo). The houses (tel. 084/24-1168, www.casadelagringa.com , US$28–31 d), owned by Lesley Myburgh, are recommended for their colorful rooms, friendly staff, and small gardens. There is a New Age, spiritual air about the place, and the dedication to such matters, including the imbibing of San Pedro and ayahuasca, is very sincere.
A lovely place in Tandapata is Casona les Pleiades (Tandapata 116, tel. 084/50-6430, www.casona-pleiades.com , US$50 d). Whether it be Melanie or Philip who opens the door for you, the welcome is bound to be warm and friendly. This young French couple have made their seven-room home into a guesthouse, and their aim is to make you feel right at home. That’s why there are down comforters on the beds and eggs made to order for breakfast.
In lower San Blas, one of the nicer hotels in Cusco is Amaru Hostal (Cuesta San Blas 541, tel. 084/22-5933, www.cusco.net/amaru , US$33 s, US$43 d). The 27 rooms, with balconies, are spread around two sun-filled patios overflowing with geraniums and roses. The rooms have comfy beds and wood floors, and are small but nice. Rooms here vary dramatically—ask for the corner rooms with sun porches, wicker furniture, and vistas on both sides. For those on a budget there are cheaper rooms with shared bathrooms. The hostel has two more locations in San Blas at Chihuampata 642 (tel. 084/22-3521) and the private Hosteria Anita at Alavado 525 (tel. 084/22-5499).
The very sweet and good value European/Peruvian hotel Madre Tierra (Atocsaycuchi 647-A, tel. 084/25-7358, www.hostalmadretierra.com , US$49 d) has seven comfortable carpeted rooms and cozy and inviting communal areas with white sofas, exposed beams, and open fireplaces.
Just down the street is El Grial (Carmen Alto 112, tel. 084/22-3012, www.hotelelgrial.com , US$30 s, US$45 d), a small, friendly hostel with basic but comfortable rooms and a sunny, pleasant dining area for breakfast. The South American Spanish School is right next door and run by the same owners.
The best value accommodation in San Blas and a great alternative to hotels is Saya Wasi Apart Hotel (Kiskapta 1000, San Blas, tel. 084/25-4160, www.sayawasi.com , US$25 pp). These three sunny, comfortable, and tastefully decorated self-catering apartments include a lounge area with cable TV, kitchenette, bathroom, and floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible views. There is also a lovely communal terrace with even more spectacular panoramic views of the entire city.