The designer responsible for the renovation of this hotel completely missed the mark for a hotel that is part of the Mountain Lodges properties. The previous reviewer makes note of the issues that can potentially be resolved; no telephone service, missing items, lack of reliable wi-fi) the bigger issue is the basic design of the rooms, public spaces and overall esthetic.The lodges on the Salkantay trek are very well planned and comfortable without being pretentious. This hotel, on the other hand, has no relationship to the thoughtful design of the lodges. The most significant problem has to do with the heating. While the use of radiant heat could have been a great solution, placing it in a small portion of the wall is inadequate for the job. Had radiant heating been built into the floors, it would have worked well. In the room we stayed in before the trek, we never had enough heat, especially since the wall with the heat is about 15 feet away from the toilet, shower sink, which is open to the room and covered in marble, which is another big mistake in a climate where it is really cold. The floor in the toilet was always freezing as was the toilet seat. Why would marble be used in a climate that has really cold nights? It is pretentious and very inappropriate. The shower walls are in marble and never warm up. When we asked about the heat, they obviously knew about this issue, because they had these huge propane heaters available and brought us one. But the heater needed to be on all night in order to heat up the shower and toilet area, which is very problematic since propane heaters use oxygen for combustion, and at over 11,000 feet there isn't a lot of oxygen to spare. In addition, each of the rooms have all four walls that aren't heated either by a hallway, since that is open to the outside, and none of the rooms share walls since they are all exterior rooms and have an open light well between rooms. The rooms on the top floor have some views, but lower rooms have windows facing the light well which is shared by the adjacent room.
The room, although it is large, is awkward. The doors to the closet with the safe and hanging space can't be opened very far since they are blocked by the bedside table. It is interesting that the floor plan shown on the fire exit plan on the back of the door shows very different layouts, including enclosed bathrooms rather than the open ones. Perhaps when they decided on the heating system they realized that there was not way that an enclosed bathroom could be kept warm by a wall on the opposite side of the room. The furnishings are also strange, more appropriate to a hotel in Miami Beach than Peru. In a country with weaving traditions there is a plastic rug on the floor. Maybe the designer had a plan for a tropical hotel in the drawer that had been cancelled and was able to sell this as "trendy" and "upscale". We had expected a hotel that was similar to the really lovely lodges, but were severely disappointed.
On the other hand, the personnel working the breakfast was very sweet and try to do everything to help. The personnel at the front desk are aware of the issues, but can't do very much to help. We needed to try to change some flights and no one offered to help us, given that we could make phone calls.
One last item that perhaps has been changed is that there is music in the hallways. That in itself isn't necessarily a problem, but the entire time we at the hotel (2 days prior to the trek and one day after) they were playing the same Ray Charles CD. Now I like Ray Charles as much as the next person, but the same CD over and over again is a bit much. And in the first room we were in, the speaker was just outside our door, so even in our room we heard the music. When we suggested that it was after 11 and that it would be nice to turn off the music they did, but it was back on the next morning.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- El Mercado is Mountain Lodges of Peru’s new boutique hotel in the heart of Cusco. It is proof positive of the company’s total commitment to its guests, featuring original and eye-catching interiors and exceptional customer service that starts right at the very beginning of the adventure, in Cusco itself. ... more less
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