Silvia Pisci
Titilaka, Puno
2nd August 2016

At 3,800 metres above sea level, close to the border between Peru and Bolivia, stands Titilaka lodge, directly on the shores of wonderful Lake Titicaca, long considered the origin and centre of the cosmos by Andean culture. RASK took a long trip from Cusco in order to experience the magic of this place…

Surrounded by the waters of Lake Titicaca on three sides, the hotel prides itself on its’ a unique, tranquil, position on a private peninsula far away from Puno’s bustling centre (where most of the hotels are located). There aren’t any restaurants or shops in the area, but there are countless activities that can be organized in the hotel vicinity (mostly off-the-beaten-path adventures).

Transfers to/from the hotel are complimentary and thoroughly enjoyable (their cars are equipped with wifi, blankets and beverages). The drive from Puno train station took about 45 minutes, and 90 minutes from the hotel to Juliaca airport (from where I flew back to Lima).

There are direct daily flights from Lima, Cusco and Arequipa. If time allows, I highly recommend reaching Puno from Cusco via the 10-hour train journey on Andean Explorer.
Who stays?
Its seclusion and unique location make Titilaka a fantastic choice for couples, but I’ve also met a few families, as well as a group of friends travelling together. In fact, Titilaka has no real competition and it’s the only choice for any luxury traveller visiting Lake Titicaca. Also, any foodie worthy of their salt shouldn’t leave Peru without paying a visit to this Mecca of local gastronomy.
Style and Character
With only 18 rooms and 270-degree views on the lake, the hotel feels extremely cosy and stylish.
Every detail of the architecture and design is maximied for the guests to enjoy the astonishing, peaceful views outside and get pampered with world-class food and wines.
Minimalistic modern furniture is enriched by traditional colourful touches and great local artworks – the result is exquisitely chic, and gives a very distinct, authentic character to the place.

Common areas are filled with natural light during the day and warmed-up by a fireplace and soft music in the evening. The atmosphere is utterly peaceful and harmonious even when the hotel runs full occupancy: it doesn’t take long to make yourself at home, engage in pleasant conversations with the other guests or just enjoy the magnificent views with your loved ones.

Common areas are filled with natural light during the day and warmed-up by a fireplace and soft music in the evening. The atmosphere is utterly peaceful and harmonious even when the hotel runs full occupancy: it doesn’t take long to make yourself at home, engage in pleasant conversations with the other guests or just enjoy the magnificent views with your beloved one.
The all-inclusive concept of Titilaka goes way beyond the meal plan. Service is customized to the smallest details, and I realized this immediately, when on the way to the hotel a lovely lady measured my oxygen level, provided me with a warm blanket and offered a hot tea.
I arrived at the hotel late in the evening and I was escorted directly to my room, where check-in procedures were quickly completed.

Dedicated guides are at the guests’ disposal to plan each day’s activities according to individual interests. The choices are extremely varied and range from visits to local markets and archeological sites to more active options (treks, biking tours, kayaking and more…). Anything can be combined under the precious advice of the local guides and every activity is confirmed even for one single guest (I had, for example, a whole day of tours and activities with personal driver and an expert local guide just for me).

You don’t see members of the Staff around all the time, but you can be sure that someone is always available if you require any assistance. Even more, they’re great at anticipating needs and wishes, pampering guests with gestures such as checking you in on your flight and printing your boarding pass (even if you don’t request it!), or lighting up a bonfire under the stars every evening.
Service at the restaurant was unimpeachable - see more in the food & drinks section.
Rooms and Suites
There are 18 rooms only, all similar in terms of style and size (they range from 29 to 43 sqm). The main difference between them is the exposure to the lake – dusk, dawn and corner (enjoying both dusk and dawn). I stayed in a Dawn room and that’s also the one I recommend: the marvel of the sun rising is absolutely astonishing, and there’s nothing like contemplating it from your bed (especially considering the early hour!).
The design is contemporary, stylish yet quite simple, the layout is very clever, favouring natural light from the big windows facing the beds. Several colourful details testify the deep involvement of Titilaka with the local communities - mostly hand-made organic products and original handicrafts, many of which can be bought at the hotel boutique (money that goes directly to supporting the communities).

There are no big suites or family rooms, and you shouldn’t expect anything swanky or overly luxurious. Still, rooms are appointed with everything you need to feel warm and well pampered. The best "touches" in this sense were the free-standing tub, heated floors throughout the room and a very well stocked complimentary minibar.
Food and Drink
If it’s undeniable that the unique location is Titilaka’s main highlight, the culinary experience it offers comes right after.

"All-inclusive" is a word that usually evokes big buffets and/or a limited à-la-carte menu, but you shouldn't expect anything like that at Titilaka, and the glittering Relais & Chateaux brand stands at the entrance to prove this. The menu is varied enough to delight every palate, featuring both Peruvian and international dishes; most of the ingredients are locally sourced (I say “most” because you can also find exquisite French cheese, for example – something you could kill for in Peru!) and everything is fresh made at the hotel, including the bread you’re served at breakfast and the canapès in the afternoon.
A rich list of refined international wines and spirits is also included at lunch, dinner and cocktail hour. Only some exclusive labels come at an extra cost.

Meals are included on the excursions too. The lunch I had on the UNESCO-protected island of Taquile, prepared by a local family and set over a spectacular landscape, was in fact one of the most memorable moments of my stay.

Adjacent to the restaurant and the two main lounges there's a small bar, where guests can enjoy drinks and delicious appetizers before dinner. Meanwhile, in the background: the sunset, a bonfire and soft music playing...
Features, Wellness, and Amenities
Everything at Titilaka is about the outdoors, and the facilities make no exception. Boardwalks, terraces and an overwater cabana surround the entire hotel, while panoramic lounges with deck-chairs allow guests to contemplate the views from inside as well.
There is no gym, and no need for it in fact, as you can plan a whole day of activities instead. There’s not a proper Spa either, only a small (but well equipped, and of course panoramic) massage room. I admit that an outdoor Jacuzzi would be the ultimate indulgence.

A small entertainment room and a boutique selling local handicrafts and travel essentials are also at the guests’ disposal throughout the day.
Perceived Value
It’s true that rates over $1,000 per night may sound exorbitant considering the size of the rooms, however you’ll put your heart at peace once you realize what’s actually included in the price, apart from accommodation: top quality meals and drinks, a whole range of unique tours and activities (some of which are accessible to Titilaka guests only), private transfers to/from the hotel (up to 2 hours per way) and more.
Titilaka is a superb example of a boutique experiential hotel, where luxury is not measured by the room size but by the uniqueness of the location, and where as much care is put in the guests’ comfort as in protecting local communities and traditions. One of the best hotels in Peru, it absolutely worthed my trip from Cusco.