Cuzco is a city of contradiction. Do you want to experience colonial opulence? Visit the main Cathedral. Do you want to admire Inca architecture? Visit Qorikancha. Are you a bit travel weary and need a touch of home and familiarity? Visit the Starbucks in the main plaza (yes, believe it or not, it's there).
Although you can pick and choose the Cuzco you experience, to holistically understand the city’s past and present, you need to embrace the blend. One hotel that seamlessly stirs together colonial dominance with modern luxury is the Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel.
This 5-star property, part of Peru’s premier luxury hotel chain, is tucked just a few blocks from the city’s main plaza, perfect for exploring yet out of the main tourist bustle. Occupying a 16th century mansion once belonging to the dean of the Cuzco Cathedral, the building became a National Historic Monument in 1980.
But don’t expect musty hallways or dusty rooms. Aranwa Boutique, which began welcoming guests in 2010, embraces its heritage while bringing the building up-to-date with modern technology and fixtures. For example, every room has a complimentary oxygen enhancement system. This might not seem important until you consider Cuzco is 11,200 feet above sea level. Trust us, you don’t want to experience altitude sickness, especially when there are so many things to do and places to see in the stunning Inca capital. Though several luxury properties in Cuzco offer oxygen treatment, it is almost always at an additional fee.
Before you even enter Aranwa's front door, you know you’re about to be impressed. Aranwa Boutique features an external wooden façade with intricate carvings, one of the best preserved in all of Peru. Inside, the halls are adorned with original pieces from the Cusco School of Art, ornately framed.
The 43 rooms are decorated in a colonial style while spa-style bathrooms take a modern approach. Heated floors, stand-alone tubs or Jacuzzis, organic bath products, and cozy bathrobes keep you pampered. Back in the main room wireless internet, cable television, and an iPod dock enable you to connect to the outside world.
In addition to a filling breakfast buffet, Aranwa Boutique operates the Khasikay Bar, serving pisco cocktails and tapas, and the Mishti Mestizo Restaurant, blending ancient Andean and modern recipes into gourmet meals. Internal courtyards let you to relax in the Andean sun while you sip some coca tea, preparing for your next Peruvian adventure.
The Aranwa Cusco hotel is located off of Plaza Regocijo, a small and quiet plaza with a central green area, benches, and a fountain. The cobblestone streets lead you to nearby dining options, including several of our favorite Cusco restaurants. Just around the corner is a chocolate museum where you can learn how to make your own treats or sip some spicy hot chocolate—it’s better than it sounds—and the main square, called the Plaza de Armas, is just minutes away.
The location lets you explore colonial art and religious history at the main Cathedral and return to your hotel to rest before setting off to explore another one of Cuzco’s stunning sites—perhaps Qorikancha, the most important temple in the Inca Empire, or the bohemian district of San Blas. With so much to see and do in Cuzco, you'll fully appreciate the soaking tubs, heated floors, and oxygen enhanced rooms at Aranwa Boutique, which is just enough luxury to keep you refreshed and ready for your next expedition.