Plazoleta Santo Domingo 259, Cusco, Peru
Cusco's Libertador can't match the Monestario's awe–inspiring effect or historic gravitas, but it is a solid second choice in a great location. It offers fewer surprises––good or bad––but more consistent room sizes, more dining choices, and lower rates for everything on offer.
Located three narrow blocks from the main square, this hotel opened in 1976 but occupies a historic two–story building facing the entrance to the Iglesia de Santo Domingo and the Coricancha ruins. The original building was put up by Inca slaves for the conquistador Pizarro, on top of an Incan palace. History has been altered quite a bit here, but there is enough of the original structure intact to remind your oxygen–deprived mind where you landed.
An exterior of whitewashed walls, blue doors and dark wood balconies leads to the large, lavish lobby,
which is a former open courtyard. Now the courtyard is under a glass pyramid, which can make the air toasty when the sun is hitting it. Oxygen tanks and coca tea are always on tap for visitors reacting badly to Cusco's thin air. Most furniture is straight out of the international chain hotel catalog, with conservative sofas and Queen Anne chairs, but antiques, colonial art and local fabrics elevate things a little. The hallways are a different story, with gallery–worthy mosaics, tapestries, pottery, costumes, and Peruvian folk art. Gurgling fountains and pretty landscaping help the two separate courtyards provide refuge from the cacophony outside. Guests who go exploring discover small, hidden lounges and sitting areas throughout corners of the property.
The evocative Rumi Bar, features an ancient Incan stone wall lining one side. The remodeled Inti Raymi formal restaurant, which overlooks the largest courtyard in the building, lures in many guests with familiar fare and attentive service. The simpler cafe, with light wood furniture and sumptuous buffets, is open for all meals. A
gym with steam room, whirlpool, and sauna is complimentary. The most inviting business center in town, spacious and complete with leather chairs and backgammon sets, complements the best meeting facilities in the area, serving intimate conferences or groups of 350.
The fastest elevators in town lead to accommodations that are far from exciting, but the rooms provide the consistent quality and predictable room size not found at the competition. Impressive stone staircases, arches and corridors line the guest room halls in several buildings. The average–size quarters display classic traditional accents: ornate period molding, reproduction appointments, fine fabrics, and ornate window treatments. Some rooms have beamed ceilings. Beautifully framed mirrors reflect watercolors of Cusco. Bed
configurations are king, queen or paired twin beds depending on room size. Huge closets harbor robes, slippers, and lots of shelves with spare pillows and blankets. The small but marble–cloaked baths have tubs, powerful
showerheads, and large mirrors.
Room 381 is an exceptionally large deluxe room with a stand–up balcony that looks out on the rooftops of Cusco. On the mezzanine of the original wing, the best units, suites 1 through 19, offer fine accoutrements and far more room, with 2 being downright palatial. Some of these suites face one of the courtyards. Room service is nonstop and eight rooms are equipped for the handicapped.
This quality hotel reveals a secret at every turn. It is often overrun with tour groups in high season, but those booking the right room here will find it to be an excellent base for exploring this unique city.
Web Address: www.libertador.com.pe
Total Number of Rooms: 254
Published rates: $164 to $390 BB
Review by Timothy Scott. Photos courtesy of Libertador Palacio Del Inka Cusco.
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