We stayed at the Casa Andina Private Collection Puno as part of a tour group in August 2013. Décor and service typical of most of the Casa Andinas we stayed at in Peru, but this hotel was definitely the most disappointing.
The biggest problem with this hotel is its location. If you are traveling by car, you can easily drive the two miles into town. I immediately asked the desk how to get down into the town by foot, but I was advised against this due to dogs and crime along the road and train tracks. No shuttle service or other options other than calling a cab. Basically you are stuck at this hotel, with its one restaurant and bar which is barely open except happy hour. Even when a bus load of 25 people arrived, you'd think they'd open the bar for the thirsty travelers, but they didn't.
The bar has a whole host of issues. We asked for a Diet Coke/Coke Zero. The bar hand (who wasn't a bartender) said they didn't have any. This was not true as there were some in the restaurant downstairs and also someone brought a shopping bag with Cokes in it to the bar just a few minutes earlier. The next day we look at the drink menu and ask for one of the Casa Andina "specials." The bartender didn't know how to make it. So, we change our order to rum and Coke, and I specified that I wanted the "Flor de Cana" rum which was printed clearly in the menu as a choice of rum. The bartender had no idea what Flor de Cana rum was. I had to tell him what the bottle looked like and he pulled out all sorts of liquors but none of them were rum. So we change our order again: ok, how about Bacardi and Coke? This he could find, but the drink was awful, not mixed and too heavy on the rum. How can anyone screw up a rum and Coke? The bartenders at the Casa Andina can. Keep in mind I can speak Spanish and even when I asked in Spanish this poor guy had a problem.
The restaurant: surprisingly the food here was the best of all the Casa Andinas we stayed at on our trip (5 in total). There weren't many things on the menu I liked, but those I did were executed very well. The buffet breakfast was exactly the same as the other Casa Andinas, although this buffet had a type of local bread which was decent. Fruit was limited, and as always, THEY NEVER SERVE YOU COFFEE, but we (the people in our group) kept getting up and pouring it ourselves. The wait staff clearly saw us do this but made no attempt to serve it for us, instead standing around and doing mostly nothing. The omelette station chef was very nice and appeared to be the only one really working. Our group dinner here went well, but even with our menu choices on a paper right in front of us, they managed to serve us the wrong things. Any changes to an entrée (ex. no salad dressing) caused them complete chaos. It was kind of amusing to watch the antics, and kind of not since I was hungry and had to wait.
The rooms here were the dingiest of all the Casa Andinas I stayed at. We were on the first floor facing the street/construction. The room was dark and somewhat cold. The radiators do not work very well, and the housekeepers have a tendency to put your towels on it which block the heat from getting into the rest of the room. Many of our fellow travelers complained about lack of heat. There were some dead insects and dirt near the sliding door and under/around the bed. Unlike the other hotels in the chain the rooms have a theme, but this one did not.
The coca tea: as with most Casa Andinas, they serve coca tea from a large metal container in the lobby. Coca tea is touted with the ability to assuage the effects of altitude sickness and other illnesses. Therefore, the hotel staff often suggest drinking a cup. DO NOT DRINK THE COCA TEA IN THIS HOTEL. We personally disliked the taste of coca tea and did not drink it, but many members of tour group did and it made them violently ill. Many experienced gastrointestinal distress or vomiting. We were the only people on the tour NOT to get sick, and it was because we did not drink the tea. A member of our group asked the front desk if they boiled the water for the tea - they did not, and used tap water for the tea. If you want coca tea, use bottled water and make it in your room with teabags. DO NOT DRINK FROM THIS CESS POOL OF BACTERIA THEY HAVE IN THE LOBBY.
So what's good about this hotel? Well, it has a large deck to gaze out over the Lake. There is a pier if you take some sort of boat trip, so they can drop you off directly at the hotel. Unfortunately the hotel isn't located on a particularly scenic portion of the lake, and it is painfully obvious the lake levels are receding. Farm animals gaze around you (cattle, pigs), and much of the length of the pier isn't water but kind of marshy nothingness. Personally I enjoyed seeing the Andean express train go motoring by one morning, and it is fun to watch the locals wander the railroad tracks. But that's about it.
So, in summary, if you're looking for a place to stay in Puno, skip this hotel and stay in town instead. And do not miss a trip out to visit with the Floating Island people of the Uros. Their community by far was the most interesting thing we saw on our tour, even more interesting than Macchu Picchu.
Second floor facing the lake
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.