Whether trekking or on a cultural visit – there's plenty of great places to stay in Peru
Situated in a lovingly restored Belle Epoque mansion, the Hotel B is now a funky boutique hotel with contemporary art on the walls and luxurious bedrooms. Set in the heart of trendy and safe Barranco, it is within easy walking distance of restaurants, museums and galleries, and only a block from the sea. The only drawback is that you'll be tempted to spend all your time in the hotel, thanks to its seductive public areas, excellent food, and rooftop terrace.
Occupying the premises of a former market, the El Mercado Tunquil (pictured above) is a tranquil Colonial-style boutique hotel five minutes from the main square. The rooms are large and well heated and offer purified drinking water and excellent showers. Breakfast includes a large choice of fresh juices squeezed to order, while the restaurant offers some little-known Andean dishes. If you want a mix of character and comfort here is ideal. (www.elmercadotunqui.com)
The Salkantay Trek has become known as the 'Alternative Inca Trail', crossing 15 ecosystems and with jaw-dropping scenery. Whether tackling it by foot or on horseback, you can do it in style through Mountain Lodges of Peru who have four lodges dotted along the route. Built for the exclusive use of MLP clients, the largest has 16 rooms, the others eight rooms, and each has its own unique character that reflects its environment. Massages are available to soothe the aches and pains, and three of the lodges have outdoor hot tubs.
Visiting Machu Picchu, there are numerous places to stay in Agua Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo. But the best place to relax has to be the luxurious Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (www.inkaterra.com). Within walking distance of the station and yet set in luxuriant grounds on a hillside above the gushing Urubamba river, it is the perfect spot for nature lovers who can go bird-watching within the 12 acres of grounds or in the surrounding cloud forest. The hotel also has its own spectacled bear project and can arrange a wide variety of activities. Just don't make the mistake of only booking one night!
After an Inca Trail Trek, or any sort of activity, ease your aches and pains with a stay at Sol y Luna Lodge & Spa (www.hotelsolyluna.com) in the Sacred Valley. Stylish casitas are dotted around beautiful flower-festooned grounds. For food you can choose between a fine dining restaurant and a more casual restaurant and bar. The hotel has its own stables and riders can hack out on very special Peruvian paso horses, who have a unique and comfortable 'running-walk' gait.