Stay in UNESCO-listed heritage as you’re treated to contemporary comforts
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Food & wine | History & culture
Built in an area once exclusive to the Inca nobility, today the cobblestone streets that lead to this city centre hotel – tucked quietly behind the main plaza – are lined with fine dining restaurants and boutique shops. However, that’s not to say that Cusco has painted over its rich heritage. Indeed, the city is much more than a mere jumping off point to nearby Machu Picchu; it’s home to Inca ruins and Renaissance cathedrals that mark the meeting point of European and South American culture. In fact, it’s the oldest continuously occupied city on the continent.
Casa Cartagena’s original Inca walls combine with colonial frescoes to form a truly unique hotel and one of Cusco’s most exclusive. In 2007, careful restoration work saw it repurposed into 16 exquisitely decorated suites, each with a balcony that looks out over the central courtyard. And, while the exterior hints at a centuries-old heritage, interiors showcase the best in contemporary design with splashes of vibrant colour and innovative artwork picked out against whitewashed walls. Upgrade to a Master Suite for some extra space or the Presidential and Royal Suites for grand balconies that look out over the San Blas artisan district and a whirlpool bath – the ideal high-altitude hangout.
At La Bodega de la Chola, you’ll be able to enjoy the same balance of delicate flavours and rich textures that have entranced Pablo Neruda and Che Guevara. Fine Peruvian cuisine is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner as locally sourced ingredients are used in a range of regional delicacies. Perhaps keep things light with a green salad, the house soup or a carpaccio bite before tucking into an alpaca, risotts or silverside fish main, each immaculately plated. Breakfasts are a particular highlight with a full range of freshly baked breads available.
Unsurprisingly given the hotel’s name, its spa is a real standout feature, spreading across three storeys. Organic, ethically-sourced ingredients such as Andean salts and coca leaves are used across a full range of treatments that span from steam baths and hydro-massage pools to reflexology and massage sessions. You’ll also find a fitness centre, a pool and a bar where complimentary cocktail classes are held. Learn how to mix the perfect pisco sour – Peru’s favourite drink – or, after you’ve been inspired by the restaurant, book into a cooking class. A butler service and oxygen system – for any of those high-altitude wobbles – round off the amenities.
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