On the ruins of an Inca palace, under the incredibly blue sky of Cuzco, in Peru, rises, majestic, the Belmond Monasterio Hotel, a jewel of colonial architecture that blends the magnificence of a Jesuit monastery, built in 1595, with the luxury, elegance and comfort of the finest five star hotels. Declared a national historic landmark, this boutique hotel is just steps from the main square of the legendary city of Cuzco. The building has two floors that stand on solid stone columns holding endless rows of consecutive arches. More spectacular boutique hotels in Latin America: Hacienda Temozón and Estancias Argentinas.
Wide corridors surround a central courtyard decorated with a fountain, a 300-year-old cedar tree and gardens that highlight native flowers with lush colors. Classic Spanish terracotta tiles crown the gabled roofs of this charming retreat, whose décor is full of history, a reflection of its rich heritage, with baroque details carefully chosen to harmonize with the setting.
A chapel, also baroque, is integrated into the rest of the enclosure. The walls are adorned with the hotel`s private art collection. Oil paintings with suggestive chiaroscuros and golden frames show scenes from the life of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of the city. The main entrance still holds the Spanish Coat of Arms and the image of the bishop Monsignor Juan Serricolea and Olea.
Each room has a unique personality, but all reflect the elegance and charm of the monastery. Luxurious marble bathrooms blend seamlessly with the warmth of the precious woods of the Spanish colonial furniture. The textures and colors of the locally made fabrics are of top quality, but with the sobriety imposed by the overall style. The walls are ocher, with hand-painted valances that suggest frames.
The junior suite has two levels. On the mezzanine, there is a bright and spacious bedroom equipped with a king-size bed and colonial furniture and art while the steps lead to another comfortable room overlooking the Andes.
All rooms and suites have air conditioning and heating, but also come with enriched oxygen to mitigate the effects of Cuzco’s topography, more than 10,000 feet above sea level. Since Peruvian cuisine is characterized by mixing elements that create an explosion of flavors, the dining experience at the Belmond Monasterio Hotel is simply sublime.
Tupay, one of the area’s finest restaurants, offers international cuisine with touches of the local gastronomy. It is the ideal place to share a romantic dinner by candlelight featuring wines from the best wineries of the new and the old world. As a complement, the best operatic voices of the city resonate under the Tupay vaults.
Overlooking the gardens of the cloister`s inner courtyard, Illariy restaurant offers breakfast or lunch with Mediterranean charm. And to enjoy a coffee or tea with exotic elaborate cakes or pastries, the Deli Monasterio is the perfect place. It also features artisan breads, meats and cheeses with the authentic flavors of Peru. ■