First, let me say that this was a fine hotel in a good location. The service was very good. The room itself was very plain and simple, and the bathroom was missing the tiny complimentary bottle of shampoo that we have come to expect in nicer hotels. But for a very basic hotel in a good location, this is a great choice!
The hotel might be a little hard to find, since it’s tucked away above a small courtyard off a small alley. Look for a Starbucks on the East corner of the main square, and you are very close.
We were only in this hotel for one night as we were passing through from the Sacred Valley to Puno, so we only had one meal in Cusco. But the meal was excellent, so I thought I would mention it. My wife wanted to try some Peruvian rotisserie chicken, which is supposed to be very good. So, we asked the hotel clerk for a recommendation.
She suggested “Los Toldos Chicken”, and that turned out to be an excellent choice. It’s only a couple of blocks away, and the dinner was cheap and exceptionally tasty. To get there, exit the main square from the south onto Mantas street. Walk past El Sol, and turn left on San Bernardo. Los Toldos Chicken is across the street at the next corner (corner of San Bernardo and Almargo).
Breakfast was included with our room. However in our case, we were getting picked up at 7:00 AM for an early bus to Puno, so we would be leaving too early for breakfast. The hotel was nice enough to make special breakfast snack goodie-bags for us, which were ready in time for us to eat before our early pickup.
That was impressive, since they didn’t need to do that. The service at this hotel was really wonderful.
We were a party of three (myself, wife, and son), so when I booked the room, I wanted to be sure to get a room that could accommodate three people. Back home, the hotel websites list the room types according to the beds (e.g. “King” or “Two Queens”).
But a lot of the websites for hotels in Peru listed their room choices as “Single”, “Double”, “Triple”. It wasn’t clear to me what the bed arrangements would be for these different types. I was afraid that a “double” would be a room for two people with one double bed. That obviously wouldn’t work for the three of us.
So, when booking my hotels, I always picked “Triple”, since I was confident that the room would surely accommodate three people. Well, I found out that in all these hotels where I picked a “Triple” room, we ended up with three twin beds. Bummer. We all had somewhere to sleep, but needless to say, my wife and I had trouble spooning. At some of the hotels, we were able to get a different bed arrangement when we arrived. One clerk said we should have asked for a “matrimonial bed”, but that wasn’t one of the choices I saw on the websites, and it wasn’t obvious how to do that.
Anyway, so this is one of the hotels where we ended up with three twin beds. The hotel was full, so we couldn’t switch. In any case, it worked out OK.
Overall, I think I made a general strategic error when planning my trip. I booked many things myself, but I also used a tour company to book some of the things that would be harder for me to do (e.g. private guides). I figured I would save some money by booking as many things myself as possible. While that might have been true, there’s also a downside. Definitely the portions of the trip that were arranged by the tour company had fewer “issues” than the part I did myself.
Most notably, I should have let the tour company book all my hotels and the train tickets. Actually, if I could do it over, I would let the tour company arrange almost everything. I would undoubtedly still select some of the hotels myself, for example, but I would let the tour company do the actual booking. We always had the right beds in the hotels that were booked by the tour company. The company I used was Peru For Less, and I was very happy with all of their guides and arrangements. But I’m sure there are countless other tour companies that would work just as well.
This hotel is in Cusco, which is at 11,000 feet. When you are going to spend time at a high altitude like this, it is best to go up in altitude gradually over a period of days. So, if you are coming from Lima, you shouldn’t spend your first night in Cusco. You can fly into Cusco, but you should immediately continue to a lower altitude, and then work your way back up.
We attempted to do that strategy, but when I planned my trip I didn’t realize that Machu Picchu is actually lower than everything in the Sacred Valley. So, I didn’t get it quite right. If I could do it over,
I would plan my trip in this order: Lima, Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu), Sacred Valley, Cusco, Puno.
The key to this itinerary is to fly from Lima to Cusco, and immediately take the train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, and spend the night in Aguas Calientes. We didn’t do that, and I wish we had.
(Don’t forget that you can’t take your large luggage on the train to Aguas Calientes. If you use a tour company to make your arrangements, they can help you figure out what to do with your large suitcases while you are in Aguas Calientes. Plan ahead when packing, so you have a small pack that will hold enough clothes and gear for a few days.)
PLUGS & SOCKETS:
We ran into a little problem not only in this hotel but also in other places. The charger for my son’s Nintendo DS is not compatible with the 220V power in Peru, so we bought a little transformer for this trip. The male plug on the transformer (i.e. the end you put in the wall) came with round prongs, which according to my research ahead of time should be perfect for Peru. I had read that Peru plugs are primarily made for round prongs, although many of them also accept the flat prongs. So, the round prongs are perfect, right? Wrong.
At this hotel, the wall sockets accepted ONLY the flat prongs. So, the round prongs of the transformer wouldn’t go into the wall socket.
So, here’s the problem: He couldn’t plug his game charger directly into the wall because even though the charger’s flat prongs would fit in the flat-prong wall socket, the 220V was not compatible. Therefore, he had to use the transformer for the 220V, but the transformer’s round prongs wouldn’t go into the flat-prong wall socket.
I know that sounds confusing, but the bottom line is that we needed a plug adapter to go from round prongs to flat prongs. This is the opposite from what we had.
My camera charger was different. It was made to work at 110V or 220V, so from a voltage perspective, I could plug it directly into the wall sockets in Peru. However, since my charger had flat prongs, and since some of the wall sockets in Peru only accept round prongs, I needed a little adapter to go from flat prongs to round prongs. No problem. Before the trip I bought a couple of little adapters that went from flat to round. And those flat-to-round adapters were exactly what I needed for my camera charger.
However, my son needed the exact opposite. He needed round-to-flat, and we didn’t bring any of those with us.
If you are going to bring a transformer that has round prongs, be sure to also bring an adapter that goes from round to flat! That’s what you will need at hotels like this one, which only have flat-prong sockets.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Recently opened hotel in the heart of Cusco, right next to the main square (Plaza de Armas). Conversion of historic picturesque colonial property with a a charming style patio with all modern conveniences.The rooms have private bathroom with amenities, hot water 24 hours, LCD TVs, Wi-Fi and internet conexion,telephone, heating, hairdry. We offer 24 hours front desk,safe box,luggage deposit,bilingual staff, transfer,tourist information,telephone public and the breaksfast included in the price (cereals,milk,coffee,butter,jam,eggs,fruits,orange juice, cheese, ham,te and bread) ... more less
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