silvia
Silvia Pisci
BELMOND Palacio Nazarenas
Plaza Nazarenas 276, Plazoleta Nazarenas, Cusco, Peru
14th July 2016

An old monastery and Inca site, the gorgeous suite-only Palacio Nazarenas sits right in the heart of one of the world’s most mystical cities, Cusco. If it’s not the altitude (3,400 metres above sea level), it will be the beauty of this place to leave breathless.

Location
Located on quiet Plaza Nazarenas, right next to its “old sister” Belmod Hotel Monasterio, Palacio Nazarenas prides an unbeatable position in the centre of Cusco, only two blocks away from Plaza de Armas.
All the restaurants, bars and cultural attractions are within 10 minutes’ walking distance. The airport is a quick 15 minutes’ drive, while it takes approximately 30 minutes to reach Poroy train station (where Belmond’s Hiram Bingham train leaves).
Who stays?
The typical traveller to Cusco has a full schedule of tours and leaves the hotel early in the morning, so I guess that’s why I didn’t get to see many guests during the day, even though the hotel was running full occupancy. Quite diversified in terms of age and nationality (although I noticed a clear predominance of North Americans), all guests seemed to share the same purpose of travel: love for Nature and culture, with no compromises on quality.
Style and Character
Opened in 2012 after years of restorations under the severe supervision of Peru's National Institute of Culture, Palacio Nazarenas sits on a former palace and convent. Some of the suites and common areas (including the old chapel, which has remained untouched and is used today to host special events) have been built around the original cloister, which is connected to a new wing through narrow flowery passages.
Rarely I’ve experienced such a peaceful and intimate atmosphere: every corner of the hotel invites guests to relax and enjoy Nature – the manicured garden of the cloister and the gorgeous Andes on the background.
The finest artisans of the country have contributed to add Peruvian touches to the hotel’s beauty – all perfectly blended with Belmond’s classic elegance.
Service
Impeccable yet friendly, service at Palacio Nazarenas excels without being stiff or overblown. Dedicated butlers are available 24 hours a day to assist on anything you may need and more – from unpacking to setting up breakfast on your balcony, or even preparing a masterly pisco sour in the comfort of your room.
Also check-in procedures are completed in the room, and the whole process doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes.

Service at the restaurant was timely and precise.

Belmond’s extra care for the guests is evident, and it goes much beyond the pillow menu or the cellphone with free local calls that they provide you with. A small touch I particularly appreciate is the Belmond bulletin (served daily together with my coffee), with a selection of world news and an overview of the daily activities on program at the hotel.
Rooms and Suites
The 55 Suites are spread between the historic and the new area, all similar in style but each with a specific feature (the main difference between one and the other is given by the view, the presence or not of a balcony and/or original Inca elements in the design).

I stayed in a City View Studio Suite, from where I could enjoy a spectacular view over the city and the majestic mountains around it. This is definitely the room category I recommend.

The design is elegant but nothing opulent or hefty, with a predominance of bright colours and natural elements (beautifully carved wooden furniture, the original bricks found in many of the Suites located in the old wing, or the natural light which plays a central role in the upper rooms).

I was tired and hungry when I got to my room, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the big canopy bed and the minibar desk furnished with coffee machine and beautiful bottles of local liqueurs – all topped by a delightful welcome platter with a selection of local cheese, bread, jams and fruits.

Everything from the minibar is included in the room rate, and so is the oxygen-enriched ventilation system to combat the symptoms of high altitude.
Another thoughtful touch is the under-floor heating system in the bathrooms – probably the one perk that sensitives to cold like me go into raptures about!

All bathrooms have separate sinks, and several suites (but not all) feature beautiful freestanding tubs.
Fluffy bathrobes and luxury toiletries including natural products, sunscreen and lip balm are the cherry on top.
Food and Drink
I will put my breakfast at Palacio Nazarenas within the top-3 of the best I’ve ever had in my life. +

The room is bright and spacious, so it never gets overcrowded. The soft sound of a traditional harp played live in the room welcomes you as you open your eyes (and stomach) to the delicacies of the buffet. A celebration of tropical fruits, local cereals, home-made jams, freshly baked cakes and pastries…plus a whole à-la-carte menu (at no extra price) with a rich selection of eggs and much more.

By the way, breakfast can also be enjoyed in the privacy of your room (again, no extra charges…ah!). To accommodate the needs of those leaving early for their treks, breakfast service starts at 5am.

Focusing on authentic recipes from Cusco and the Sacred Valley, Senzo restaurant is one of the city’s most acclaimed “new-Peruvian” restaurants of the city. The atmosphere is chic but not too stiff – perfectly enjoyable both for a romantic tête-à-tête or a dinner with fellow travellers.
The menu is inspired by the traditional specialties of local home cooks and street food vendors, based on fresh ingredients sourced from small producers.
Features, Wellness, and Amenities
The hotel features the only open-air pool in the city – really beautiful and, most of all, heated. On a sunny day this might be the most enjoyable place in the entire city (and very exclusive… not even guests of the neighbouring Hotel Monasterio have access to it!). Alongside the pool there’s a bar where guests can help themselves with fresh juices and fruit throughout the day.

The hotel’s Hypnoze Spa is a true temple of relaxation – 5 treatments rooms, indigenous products and tailor-made therapies to adapt to every person’s needs and wishes. The ultimate treat, especially after a day of treks and visits…

The beautiful original chapel has been left untouched, and it’s used today as location to host meetings or special events.
Perceived Value
Considering the quality of the rooms and hotel facilities, the level of service and all the inclusions (minibar, full breakfast, access to pool and spa), rates starting from USD550 (Junior Suite, taxes included) are absolutely adequate.
Verdict
Feeling on top of the world, and with more than one good reason.