I've stayed at the Miraflores Park many times over the last 5 years, and so I've been able to discern its incremental steps downward. While it is still the best hotel in Lima in my opinion, I think that Orient Express needs to be a bit more vigilant against losing that sentiment among upscale globe trotters who frequent the city.
But first, lets talk about what makes the Miraflores Park such a great hotel.
At the top of this list is location. Perched on the cliffs at the southern end of affluent Miraflores, it overlooks the ocean, and the sunsets are thus spectacular from the northward facing rooms. A marvellous little pond laden with fish and turtles, water hyacinths, and lily pads imparts a serene feeling upon stepping out of the car. Beyond that, the meticulously maintained park hosts dog walkers and nannies pushing babies, while the ubiquitous young couples smooch on benches or on the seawall sidewalk that runs for kilomteres north along the Costa Verde - a fantastic jogging venue.
The location is of tantamount importance to those sensitive to air quality, as the ocean breeze provides the very best possible in Lima, which can be eye-stinging and throat irritating most days of the week further inland.
A 15 minute walk down the seawall brings you to Larco Mar, Lima's monument to western civilization, featuring many American and European brand stores, Starbucks, Tony Roma's and Chili's, as well as some distinctly Peruvian spots like La Vaca Loca and Pardo's chicken. For fitness regime warriors, the well-equipped and spacious Nike Air gym in the bowels of the mall also happens to be the best of such facilities to be found in Lima. Lots of cardio machines facing the ocean, free weights, machines, sauna...super busy after 4 p.m. Best time is between 1 and 3.
Lima's restaurants are of course legendary, and the Miraflores Park's location on Malecon de la reserva is an excellent base camp from which to launch culinary expeditions in old Miraflores, the more eclectic and nightlife-oriented Barranco, and the staid luxurious San Isidro.
Service at the Miraflores Park is absolutely flawless, with no task refused. The allowed me to store 3 suitcases there free of charge while we went on a side excursion that required light packing. Requests for things like toothpaste, a bellman to assist with luggage, or a car to be waiting are executed immediately and competently.
The rooms themselves are spacious and well thought out, with plenty of 110 and 220 voltage outlets, free wifi that had relatively fast up and down speeds in the early morning and later evening, but slower during prime times. The bathrooms are the centerpieces of each room though. Marbled floors, a huge tub without protruding fixtures, surrounded by mirrors, all invite leisurely aquatic relaxation. And the showers are legendary. Dinner plate-sized shower heads cascade an abundance of water that is almost embarrassing in its sheer volumetric excess. It honestly feels like you are standing under a warm waterfall. Water temperature is consistent and fixtures intuitive. Towels are beach-size, though they were looking and feeling a little worn.
The Down Side
Here are the little deficiencies that have undermined what 5 years ago would have been a near-perfect review:
1) The windows don't open at all on the ocean-facing side, and air conditioning smells dank and mildewy. So the air quality (and thus, sleep quality) was very diminished from when I first visited. This is the biggest complaint I have and one which will continue to undermine the hotel's five-star status until remedied;
2) Though at first it was amusing, it eventually became annoying and ultimately kept us from sleeping. The guest in the next room was having some issue with somebody somewhere, and clearly he was not aware that the telephone already came with amplification and broadcast technology. He shouted the most vile stream of Cuban-American spanglish at the unfortunate soul on the other end of the line, incorporating every curse word in the English and Spanish slang dictionaries non-stop for an hour. But he did that about 6 times during our stay. The next guests had small children who were clearly of the "raised by wolves" variety, and who were encouraged, it seemed, to shriek with utter abandon thorughout the evening. My point is, sound insulation needs to be upgraded badly.
3) The breakfast buffet has seen a steady deterioration in quality over the last five years. It used to be the reason to get out of bed early. Now its the reason to go eat at La Tiendecita Blanca. The fruit was dry and/or tasteless and/or unripe and/or woody. This is an absolute disgrace in Peru, where the very best of the world's produce comes in the form of mangoes, pineapple, banana, melons, and oranges. The baked goods have also seen a downward trend lately.
4) The rooftop pool is a daily ritual for me. The water is kept quite warm, and over 2 metres deep, so its great for swimming lengths as long as there's no one else trying to do the same. The water is either very mildly chlorinated or using some other system for purification, because there is no chlorine stench afterward, which is godsend for me. During my entire visit of one week's duration, however, the glass walls that line the pool area were inexplicably filthy, and my expectation that somebody would clean them each day was never realized - an unfortunate oversight on the part of hotel management.
Overall, I still love the Miraflores Park hotel far and away above every other 5 star hotel in Lima. But these deficiencies represent an erosion of what was clearly proprietary pride. I recommend it without hesitation, but unit the situation is rectified, you will need to request a room on the back side of the hotel (with a small balcony for fresh air) if air quality is important. And don't bother with the breakfast buffet if you find the quality remains as described here - there are myriad great locations for fresh fruit of the highest quality and freshly baked breakfast breads in the immediate vicinity.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set in Miraflores, one of Lima's most exclusive residential areas, Belmond Miraflores Park is an all-suite hotel offering breathtaking views out to the Pacific Ocean. Its state-of-the-art facilities, spacious accommodation and pampering services make it the perfect hotel for both corporate and leisure guests. In Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards 2014 it was voted #10 in the "Top City Hotel in Central and South America" category. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Miraflores Park
- Miraflores Park Lima