In an area with many notoriously bad hotels, I offer my truthful opinion on what I think are the 10 best hotels near Machu Picchu.
Technically there is only 1 hotel at Machu Picchu – the Belmond (was Orient Express) Sanctuary Lodge. All other hotels are located 40 minutes away by shuttle bus in the village of Aguas Calientes, also known nowadays as Machu Picchu Pueblo. Aguas Calientes is probably not what most foreign visitors might imagine of a town on the fringes of one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. Landlocked by surrounding mountains and enclosed by fast flowing rivers, land in Aguas Calientes is in short supply. Over the years to cope with the increased tourism levels the town has grown rapidly, with locals building when and where they can and without the intervention any town planning. Good hotels are few and far between and many accommodations are poorly run local outfits that fall short of most travellers’ basic expectations. However, in recent years a handful of good hotels have finally emerged in town and things are starting to look brighter. Prices for good accommodations are high, you might say over-priced, so expect to dig deep as you don’t get much for your money. Here is my honest run down of the 10 best hotels at Machu Picchu, including the pros and cons.
#1, The Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel
Leagues ahead of other competition in Aguas Calientes, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel is a sublime paradise set across 21 hectares (52 acres) of cloud forest. Located on the outskirts of town, the tranquil retreat offers 85 rustic casitas in sprawling lush tropical gardens. The sense of luxury at the Inkaterra is not pretentious, but is defined by rustic wooden beamed adobe buildings, beautiful gardens, comfortable furnishings and great service. Five free onsite excursions are included within the price of a night’s stay so guests can fully explore the rich natural surroundings of the hotel grounds. The hotel isn’t cheap with prices starting from US$ 500 per night, but if you really want to enhance your trip to Machu Picchu I personally think it is worth every penny. An a la carte dinner is also included within the price.
Inkaterra Suite, Like a Small House!
#2, The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge
As the only hotel actually located at Machu Picchu, the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge has a prime location just a stone’s throw from the main entrance of Machu Picchu. The hotel has 31 rooms across several categories and terraced gardens complete with a fancy hot tub. Although this is clearly a luxury hotel, I am still in two-minds about recommending it to clients. Starting from around US$ 1,000 per night the hotel is really expensive, and you have to question whether it is really worth the money. Well written marketing material with fancy photos seem to skim over the fact that not one room of the lodge has a view of Machu Picchu, or that rooms and bathrooms are fairly small and that from 6am – 6pm you will have the constant beeping noise reversing shuttle buses. However, there is no denying the hotel is very close and very convenient for quick access to Machu Picchu, especially for early morning starts. To boot, the price of a night’s stay also includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and a free-bar if you buy your vacation package using our confidential tariffs. Hotel rooms are currently going through a phase of renovation.
The Sanctuary Lodge Hotel, the far right is the entrance to Machu Picchu
#3, Sumaq Hotel
The Sumaq Hotel is the last of the 3 upper-class hotels in near Machu Picchu, a close runner up to the first two on my list. The hotel claims to be a 5 star hotel, but that’s a slight over-indulgent self-qualification, and in my mind the hotel is actually an excellent 4 star hotel. A recent renovation to the lobby area which saw the removal of some pretty generic furniture has added a much more opulent feel to the hotel, and I am told that over the next 12 months, each of the 60 rooms will also be renovated with the theme of earth, fire, air and water reflecting Inca mythology. Rooms are ample and comfortably furnished and the owners (a private family) really know what it takes to run a hotel. With a focus on service and an extraordinarily good food, you’d be hard pressed to find fault with this hotel. However there are a couple of things that bother me! Whilst all the front facing rooms have a view of the Vilcanota River and epic mountain scenery, those to the rear simply have no view at all. And to make matter worst only the most expensive suite comes with a king bed, whilst all the others have measly queen bed or 2 oversized single beds (not very 5 star).
Lobby Bar Area of the Sumaq Hotel
#4, Casa Del Sol Boutique Hotel
ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostel Cusco for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bar is free even for non-guests
Opening its door for the first time in 2012, the Casa del Sol Hotel is relatively unknown hotel gem in Aguas Calientes. Although it doesn’t have quite the same luxurious feel as any of the above mentioned hotels, the Casa del Sol Boutique Hotel is a real contender as a top hotel near Machu Picchu. Although the outside of the building isn’t very appealing (as most hotels in Aguas Calientes), once over the threshold you are instantly drawn into its warm and inviting lobby. This comfortable feel is carried through into the corridors and to the hotel’s 28 rooms. All rooms come complete with a comfortable king bed and river facing rooms feature a river view hot tub! Rooms that don’t face the river unfortunately look out over the train tracks and the rather dishevelled town of Aguas Calientes. Of course a night’s stay in the Casa del Sol is extremely overpriced, but compared to other hotels in town, you might just say it offers value for money.
King Bed, River View Room: Casa del Sol Boutique
#5, Hatun Inn
A small 14 room hotel that nearly ticks all the right boxes for a good night’s stay near Machu Picchu (nearly). Although operated by the same people that own the pitiful Inti Inn Hotel, the Hatun Inn is surprisingly very good. “Suite” is the only room category in the hotel, and all suites come as standard with either a king bed or two extra wide single beds. Rooms also feature a ready to light fire place, free wifi and a Jacuzzi as standard. However, for a hotel that is advertised at US$ 280 per night, it does seem rather strange that the hotel doesn’t have its own restaurant, or bar and only has the tiniest of lobby areas. River facing rooms suffer slightly from river noise (start of November until end of May when the river is fast flowing), and the front facing rooms suffer views of the train track and Aguas Calientes. In summary, an-overpriced, but comfortable well-kept hotel that is better than 90% of the other hotels near Machu Picchu. Shop around online and you might get a good price half that of the advertised rate.
Operated by the ever-successful Inkaterra hotel chain, the El Mapi Hotel is not a full blown luxurious retreat like other Inkaterra hotels, but a more moderate and fairly-priced hotel sold under the brand “by Inkaterra.” Only opening a few years ago, the hotel is also one of the newest mid-range hotels in town, which is clearly evident throughout the entire hotel. Furthermore the service is exceptionally good, and yet for a 90 room hotel surprisingly personal. On the downside, rooms are a touch small with no views (none of the rooms). On the upside, the price includes breakfast and dinner, which is very good. If I had to put a rating on the hotel I would say that it is easily a 3 star Superior hotel. The advertised price tag of US$ 250 per night is a little exuberant, but if you buy your Peru vacation through the Only Peru Guide we can apply our confidential rates which then makes the hotel really quite good value. This hotel is my first choice when planning mid-range tours to Peru.
The Bar Areal El Mapi Hotel
#7, Casa Andina Classic
Although this is featuring in position 7 of the 10 best Hotels near Machu Picchu, it could be that this hotel is actually a few places higher. The reason that I am uncertain is because the hotel is still being built! Although no one at Casa Andina seems to want to commit to an opening date, it is believed that the all new construction will be open in the next 2 months, if not earlier. The hotel will feature a large buffet breakfast area, complimentary wifi, an internet centre and 54 rooms across three categories: Standard, Superior and Suite. As with all other Casa Andina Classic Hotels in Peru, service, quality and comfort will undoubtedly go hand in hand with this new hotel. Official prices have yet to be released, but our confidential tariffs show this hotel to be around the same price as the El Mapi. From a personal stand point I am not too keen on the grey plastic façade of the hotel (it’s not too late to change it Casa Andina), but the hotel will certainly be a success and will certainly feature in our tours.
The New Casa Andina Class, Still Under Construction
#8, Hatuchay Tower Hotel
Although the Hatuchay Tower is certainly not one of my favourite hotels near Machu Picchu, I have still listed it as one of the 10 best Hotels near Machu Picchu. The reason? Well, there aren’t very many more to list! With an advertised rate of US$ 300 per night all the way up to US$ 650 for a suite, the hotel is ridiculously over-priced and simply doesn’t offer great value for money. If you can’t find space in any of the other hotels listed above (or below), then the Hatuchay would probably suffice. The lobby area of the hotel and the awful central lift shaft are showing signs of age, and the rooms, albeit rather pleasant at times are all fitted with tatty melamine wardrobes and doors (these need to change please). Request a river facing room as the rooms located on either side of the hotel have really poor views. 4 Stars you are not! I won’t say anymore.
Suite at the Hatuchay Tower
#9, The Taypikala Boutique Hotel
According to my dictionary the word “boutique” means a small stylish hotel, typically one situated in a fashionable urban location. Well I would struggle to apply that description to the Taypikala Hotel as stylish it is not, and it is certainly not set in Las Ramblas in Barcelona. However kidding aside, the hotel is quite new and the rooms are well fitted, ample in size and modern. Furthermore I found the staff (especially the manager) to be very helpful and willing to go the extra mile to please. I would actually say that this hotel is better than the Hatuchay except for a few points. Firstly its location is not very good (furthest hotel from bus stop and all up hill), secondly on my last inspection I noticed some small maintenance issues and poor attention to detail with cleanliness. However, what this hotel really has going for it is the price. A night’s stay for 2 people starts at US$ 150 per night, which is much better value than just about every other hotel in town. Perfect for 1 night.
Standard Double Room: Taypikala Boutique Hotel
#10, El Santuario Hotel
On my last visit to Machu Picchu I stayed 3 nights at the Santuario Hotel. Although the hotel is not atheistically very pleasing from outside and is fairly boring inside, it does what it says in the tin and all for a fairly reasonable price. Don’t expect the rooms to be plush as they aren’t, but they do come with cable TV (with the magic green button that changes the language to English), a safety deposit box and a good powerful hot shower. Other than a few cracked bathroom tiles and the hot water tap actually being the cold water tap, my room was fairly respectable. Rooms are clean, the hotel staff helpful and the hotel is actually quite well located. Be aware that breakfast is a bit dull, some rooms are inner facing and many rooms have pretty garish furniture. If you are a budget-minded traveller, and like me, just looking for a clean room with a good shower and a comfy bed, you wouldn’t go far wrong in choosing El Santuario.