First of all, I absolutely loved the Tambo del Inka resort. As a Platinum Guest, I was treated as superbly. We paid for half of the trip with points and the other half with points and cash. It was a total bargain. As our Platinum gift, we did the daily breakfast which was delicious. I am a picky eater and have a hard time with local foods. The food on the breakfast buffet contained all the basic American foods (bacon, eggs, fruits, yogurts, granola, etc) and also some local foods (like potatoes, cheese, fruits). We could even order pancakes off the menu. Honestly, it was the best meal I had every day.
The staff at the hotel was fantastic. Our "butlers" Roger and Alan, we helpful in providing advice for local restaurants and things to do. Even our breakfast waitress, Rosanna, gave us helpful advice about her hometown Lima which we were visiting after the trip. The hotel held our bags when we went up to Aguas Caliente for a night on our way to Machu Picchu. We were upgraded to a Junior Suite and had our own patio with chaise lounges, chairs, and a small lawn. While I was reading outside, a large humming bird came up to visit with me. Behind the patio was a small path that ran along a rushing river. It was very relaxing to lay outside in the sun, reading a book, and listening to the river.
The hotel is located in a beautiful little quaint town called Urubamba. We were able to use it as a base to explore the Sacred Valley. We are quite travelers and don’t really like the party or tourist scene, like Cusco, so Urubamba was perfect for that. The town was safe and I was comfortable exploring it by myself during the day. One day, it may have been a Saturday, we went to the local market. They have every kind of fruit you can imagine and different meats being cut to request. Definitely not FDA approved, but well worth checking out if you have time. We ate dinner every night in town at Pizza Wasi, which served oven baked pizza.
It was really easy to get around and to neighboring towns and sites within the Sacred Valley. We took collectivos to get to Pisca market and Ollantaytambo to catch the train to Machu Pichu. The cost was less than 1 USD for one person both ways… for both trips. There is also a taxi stand 2.5 blocks from the hotel (out the gate and to the left). A cab to Cusco will run you about 45 USD. Again, I felt completely comfortable with all modes of transportation I took. I wasn’t slightly afraid or uncomfortable. My Spanish is really poor… really really poor. But people were really patient and bystanders were always willing to help translate.
Which gets me to comment about the hotel tour services: All tours are ridiculously overpriced. For example, a car to the airport is 80 USD. We arranged for a taxi driver to take us for 45 USD and he picked us up at 3:30a. When we first arrived at the airport, we got a ride from a taxi driver there and told them we were going to Urubamba. It was not until after he gave us a price, we told the hotel name. We didn’t want him to up-charge us because we were staying in a nice resort. The bellman offered to put together a tour of the surround countryside for 190 USD. Again, we paid 50 USD using a taxi. Granted the tour with the taxi did not include a US speaking tour guide, but could figure out what was going on by what we read online and in tour books.
Unfortunately, we had to use the tour company to purchase our tickets to Machu Picchu. We were not able to purchase the tickets from the US because the website was broken and could not process international requests. Through the hotel, we only bought tickets to Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu (a little more expensive than basic Machu Picchu tickets) and round trip train tickets to Machu Picchu. Nothing more. According out our receipts from the tickets, the total should have been 167 USD per person or 334 USD total. Instead, we 224 USD per person or 448 USD total. That’s a 35% charge just to book tickets through a computer. I fail to see what value- add the 114 USD service charge bought, but it was really outrageous. The tour office did provide a suggested itinerary, but I could have figured that myself and it sure was not worth 114 USD. Having said all that, I am by no means a frugal or backpack traveler. I will gladly pay a service charge or for a luxury service. (We left Peru and flew to the Galapagos Islands). But I do expect it to be reasonable and provide some sort of value- add.
The tour office was just a little bump in the trip. Tambo del Inka was a lovely lovely resort. I would gladly stay there again :
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tambo del Inka is a part of Starwoods Hotel and Resort. Guests staying here may be eligible to use their Starwood Prefered Guest (SPG) points according to what is stated on their webpage. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tambo Del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel Urubamba
- Tambo Del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort And Spa
- Tambo Del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa Peru/Urubamba, Sacred Valley