A land of spectacular deserts, high mountains and rainforests that teem with wildlife, Peru is also home to an array of dramatically situated pre-Colombian ruins, including Machu Picchu.
Recommended place to stay:
Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge
Aguas Calientes, Cusco Region, Peru|www.belmond.com|
Official star rating:
There’s only one reason to stay at the Sanctuary Lodge: this is the only hotel on the mountain next to the Machu Picchu ruins. At the tip of a cloud forest peak, the Sanctuary Lodge has an unrivalled position: the entrance to the Inca citadel is, quite literally, just a few steps away.
During the busy high season, this can offer the distinct advantage of being first at the gate in the mornings. You’ll get to see Machu Picchu at dawn (its best time) without the crowds – who have to bus-up from the valley below. And you can leave long after everyone else has gone.
Few guests, therefore, care that the rooms are three-star simple, cubic-shaped, with space for little more than a bed, with plain wooden ceilings and French windows opening onto a modest terrace and shared lawned garden. For the price, rooms are small and plain, but there’s a decent restaurant serving a hearty pre-ruin early breakfast, and glorious Andean views throughout.
The Sanctuary Lodge is located at the top of a zigzagging mountain road, a few metres from Machu Picchu’s main gate. Other than the hotel and the ruins, there’s nothing else at the top of the mountain, making the area around the hotel a busy tourist destination by day (especially in high season) and supremely quiet at night.
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