While it’s true there is only one hotel right next to the ruins in Machu Picchu, you may decide that its small rooms and high prices are just too much to ask. Which leads you to the town of Aguas Calientes at the bottom of the mountain. We’ve long had our eye on adding a second hotel from there and recently got one of our correspondents in to check out Hotel Sumaq.
Bridget is a jaded American guidebook and magazine writer living in South America, but she was impressed.
Everything gets a lot easier when you arrive into the train station and see a Sumaq staff member holding a sign with your name on it. Your luggage is whisked away, and after a short downhill walk, you’re seated comfortably in the hotel’s cozy lobby. Forget waiting in line at the reception desk: you can take care of the paperwork while enjoying a glass of fresh pineapple juice and gazing out the huge picture windows to the dramatic rapids of the Urubamba river. Don’t have tickets yet to Machu Picchu? No problem: the staff will send someone to pick them up for you, and make reservations for the bus to pick you up in the morning.
Only a hack travel writer is going to call Aguas Calientes “charming” or “bucolic,” but just as the Inkaterra property has its own spot carved out at the other end of town, Sumaq is by the raging river at the other end, the last building before the bus chugs up the mountain to the magical citadel. So it’s away from the bustle and the chaos, yet close enough to walk to other bars and restaurants.
You may not want to leave, however, since almost anyone you ask will tell you Qunuq is one of the best restaurants near Machu Picchu—if not the best. A buffet breakfast and elegant dinner are part of the rate plan. The chef gives cooking classes if you have the time and the barman gives lessons in making the perfect pisco sour and other cocktails.
Rooms here are well-equipped with all the expected gadgets and good bath products, plus the suites have a whirlpool tub. all face either the jungle or the river. Sumaq can arrange a whole host of activities, including an Andean wedding to renew your vows if you’re so inclined.
See our full review of boutique hotel Sumaq Machu Picchu.