This is 18th century colonial grandeur in an equally historic setting
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City | History & culture
Often termed Bolivia’s most beautiful city, Sucre combines proud architecture with welcoming grace. Its spring climate – imparted by a picturesque valley ring of low-lying mountains – plays host to a charming historic centre where steep streets are lined with colonial gems. Think whitewashed belfries and heritage towers topped by red terracotta roofs and lined by wrought iron balconies all predicated on a 19th century silver mine boom. Unsurprisingly, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. And, Parador Santa Maria is set right in the centre of it all, opposite the city’s cathedral and just a few blocks from the Church of San Francisco, Santa Clara Convent and the Chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Built in the second half of the 18th century, this atmospheric gem combines colonial precision with Bolivian sensibilities in intimate courtyards and ranging arches. It was originally built around the Real Audiencia de la Plata, once a centre of judicial and administrative authority for the Spanish Empire. Rooms have been lovingly restored in keeping with original European tastes. Expect whitewashed alcoves, original artwork and antiques that hint at its opulent past. Flat screen TVs, WiFi and air conditioning add in modern comforts. Upgrade to a Master Suite for indulgent French style manifested in armchairs, engravings, richly patterned carpets, a Jacuzzi and balconies complete with city views.
The hotel’s signature restaurant offers a certain boutique intimacy that hints at its rich history. Dine under the exposed brickwork of its domed ceilings on French library furniture as you appreciate works by local artists and enjoy varied menus that tread between Bolivian delicacies and international classics. Whether it’s a sandwich snack or hearty Bolivian soup, you’ll find yourself well catered for. For something a bit different, make your way to Watanay, a ‘museum restaurant’ housed in a complex of underground chambers found during the house’s restoration. Here, you’ll find ceramics, weaving work and artefacts that tell the story of Sucre’s ancient pre-Hispanic cultures. An American style buffet breakfast is included each morning.
After a day of high-altitude sightseeing, return to unwind on the hotel’s roof terrace or book into its superb spa. Here, rooftop Jacuzzis look out over the city’s red-tiled roofs to the towers of San Felipe de Neri Church and its twin convent, the picturesque foreground to the Andes beyond. There’s also a massage room along with a small sauna, hydro massage shower and a free-to-use gym. Alternatively, unwind with a cocktail from the bar, order from the room service or consult the 24 hours reception desk on Sucre’s hidden gems.
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