This Hotel in Cusco, Peru, Doubles as a National Monument

Travelers heading to Peru’s Machu Picchu inevitably pass through Cusco, the former capital of the Inca empire. Whether you’re simply spending the night after enjoying the hike of your life on the Inca Trail or have more time to explore, Monasterio, A Belmond Hotel, Cusco offers an ideal homebase, and serves as a window into this mythic city’s fascinating past.

Built in 1592 on the foundation of Inca Amaru Qhala’s palace, the 16th-century monastery that houses the hotel is recognized as a landmark by Peru’s National Institute of Culture. Owing to its historic status, little has changed in the building’s Spanish colonial design. Graceful stone arches, cobblestone pathways, a gilded chapel, and cloistered courtyard surrounding a 300-year-old cedar tree transport guests back in time. Throughout the property you’ll also discover one of Cusco’s top collections of 18th-century religious art—Monasterio even provides daily, expert-led tours of its treasures, and oil paintings adorn the walls in many hotel rooms. 

Despite its location two blocks from Cusco’s main square, everything about Monasterio’s serene atmosphere invites guests to slow down and appreciate these precious details. A range of in-house activities, such as cooking classes and pisco lessons, are also available. Whether you’re listening to a haunting Gregorian chant in the Baroque chapel or sipping a cocktail and watching the stars shine on the patio, it’s the type of place you want to settle in and stay awhile.

Top Takeaways

Location: Cusco, Peru

Rating: Five-Star

The Vibe: Monastic chic

Food + Drink: Rates include a lavish buffet breakfast with made-to-order eggs. Later, grab lunch at Illariy, nestled among the cloisters, and dig into ceviche and suckling pig at El Tupay, where opera singers serenade guests over dinner three times a week. The Lobby Bar serves one of the best pisco sours in town.

Amenities: A massage suite, rooms with oxygen-enriched air (altitude sickness in Cusco is no joke), free wifi, and Andean bath butler service 

5 Nearby Attractions: Sacred Valley, Sacsayhuaman, Qorikancha, San Pedro Market, and The Pre-Columbian Art Museum

Any Personal Neighborhood Recs? Don’t miss the nearby San Blas neighborhood, known for its steep, narrow streets, colorful houses, and bohemian artisans. Buy handmade alpaca clothing and accessories from one of the city’s up-and-coming designers like Cocoliso and Concepto Raiz. Have dinner at Chicha por Gaston Acurio, from the chef widely credited with modernizing Peruvian cuisine. 

Rooms: 122 uniquely designed rooms and suites. What they may lack in size (the smallest are just 161 sq. feet) they make up for in character, richly decorated with antiques, luxe marble bathrooms, and original architectural details. 

Pricing: Rooms start at $561/night 

Closest Airport: Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport

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