The first time I visited Peru, about six years ago, the Sacred Valley was an afterthought for most tourists. It was a place you visited on a day trip from Cusco, but not an area where many people spent the night. There were some decent hotels, but nothing to rival what you found on opposite ends of the valley: at Machu Picchu and in Cusco.

It looks like 2010 is going to be the year when the Sacred Valley gets on the luxury travel destination map. We just posted a review of Aranwa Resort and Spa and it outdoes anything that’s been in the area so far. For one thing it occupies a huge amount of land intersected by a river and flanked by misty mountains.

“The hotel’s one hundred spacious rooms are sprinkled in about the property in either a restored 18th century colonial hacienda, the centerpiece of the resort, or in several more modish modern buildings with minimalist décor. Both styles are equal in amenities—LCD TVS, DVD players, working Wi-Fi, mini-fridge, safe, and hydro-massage tub. Every room has a small balcony and the view is more or less spectacular in whichever part of the property you are.”

Aranwa is going to have company soon though: Tambo del Inka—part of the Starwood Luxury Collection—will be opening up this month. Stay tuned as we’ll be reviewing it as soon as our Peru correspondent is in the region.

If you have a small group or family, also check out our review of Urubamba Villas. With these you get your own lovely house and it comes with a cook!

See other luxury hotels in Peru.