While Cusco, Peru has long been home to luxury hotels, the rest of the Sacred Valley — the enchanting place which is also home to the South American country’s top attraction, Machu Picchu — has been slow to catch up. Until now.
Enter Las Qolqas, an eco-resort located in Ollantaytambo. Opened in late 2021, the property is within walking distance of the town’s charming center and is the ideal place to base one’s self before or after a visit to the must-see attraction, which can easily be done via a (long) day trip.
The accommodations, 16 in total, are spare, but though they lean toward rustic in their similarity to African-safari glamping tents, they’re also warm, inviting, and the perfect respite following a day trekking to see the nearby Pumamarca ruins.
A king-sized bed is the centerpiece of the standard two-guest room, but there are also family tents that can accommodate four people in two bedrooms, and a group bungalow for up to eight guests. Each night, as the temperature in the valley dips, a staff member armed with a basket of firewood and kindling stops by to build guests a fire for maximum coziness.
In spite of the temptation to stay inside under the covers with a gently roaring fire keeping you toasty, the stars in this part of the world’s sky aren’t to be missed. Star-gaze from the comfort of one of the chairs on your private deck, and you may find yourself with a new hobby.
The resort has just one restaurant: Pututu, named after the conch used by the Incas to address the sacred mountains, serves three meals a day from a small yet appealing menu. Communal tables are set with gorgeous pottery plates and glasses, and the fact that dining takes place in what is essentially a greenhouse means sunlight streams in the morning and noon and the dark sky sets the tone by night. The cuisine is traditional Peruvian-Andean with a focus on local produce, much of it grown on-site. Other items, such as the trucha (trout), are from the nearby river and the menu’s daily changes are a result of what’s available in town and at the local markets.
Las Qolqas’ spa facilities are indoor and outdoor, with massage services taking place inside a platform tent and an onsen or hot tub enjoyed outside with the sounds of the river providing relaxing music. But first, the outdoor shower must be experienced; a sauna awaits any muscles needing further relaxation.
Location: Ollantaytambo, Peru
The Vibe: Elegant, understated comfortable glamping accommodations mark this intimate and lush eco-resort that puts sustainability front and center.
Our favorite thing about the hotel: The resort’s panoramic views and quiet location in the beautiful Sacred Valley invite relaxation and contemplation. Aesthetics nod to tradition, with brightly colored rugs and bed runners rivaling pretty plates of food for presentation awards.
Food + Drink: Pututu is the only restaurant on site, and fortunately, it gets top marks for food, service, and ambiance. Each meal’s menu is handwritten in both English and Spanish on chalkboards in the greenhouse dining space. Local Peruvian wines are served, though the bar just off the restaurant is where to go for a Pisco Sour or Pisco Punch if you’re in the mood for something a bit more potent.
Amenities: Hot tub (onsen), sauna, and outdoor shower. Restaurant and adjoining bar. Indoor and outdoor public spaces.
Nearby attractions: Machu Picchu, Pumamarca ruins, Pinkuylluna Storehouse hike, Río Patacancha, Yuracmayo, Mercado San Pedro, Cusco
Rooms: There are 16, though there is no tent number 13 because of the bad luck many associates with the number, according to co-owner Carlos Gonzalez.
Pricing: Rooms start at around $160 for a standard two-person bungalow and $380 for a space that can accommodate up to eight people.
Closest airport: Most travelers fly to Lima, Peru, and from there, it’s a short hop to Cusco and another 90 minutes by car to reach Ollantaytambo.
Other articles you may like: