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Libertador Palacio Del Inka Hotel Cusco

Libertador Cusco doorman © Craig FastBest for... luxury lovers.

Whilst most city hotels strive to keep the hotel serenely separate from the city, the Libertador Palacio Del Inka invites the best of Cusco indoors.

Any why wouldn’t it? Cusco is a charming city. Although history tells us otherwise, in Cusco the legacies of the Incas and the Spanish conquistadors blend to perfection. Let’s ignore the fact that the Spanish plundered Inca structures to build their own cathedrals and churches and concentrate on the visual achievements this brought about in Cusco: white-washed walls give way to awesome Inca stone work, cobbled streets lead to charming squares and Catholic spires rise from Inca temples.

In keeping with the city’s aesthetics, the five-star Libertador mixes splendid conquistadorian furnishings with its own Inca wall (in the Rumi Bar). Even the new building, which contains the lobby, reception and exclusive shops, maintains an air of effortless sophistication - comfortable but elegant sofas and rich oil paintings mix discreetly under a glass pyramid roof.

The 420-year-old original building used to belong to Francisco Pisarro’s brother and, later, the Marquis of Salas and Valdez. Nowadays it houses the Libertador’s triumphant Inti Raymi restaurant, which serves Andean and international cuisine, with a view of a picturesque, cobbled courtyard of stucco arches surrounded by the hotel’s suites.

A typical starter is sea bass ceviche with Andean corn toast. For mains, I ordered the tenderloin grilled beef with native potatoes (Peru grows thousands of species of potato!), baby vegetables and a three-pepper sauce. My partner had chicken rolls with baby vegetables, asparagus comfit and chicken sauce. Everything was well-presented, tasty and filling. The waiters were attentive without being clingy and our wine glasses, mysteriously, were never empty.

For breakfast the Libertador serves a vast, mouth-watering array of fruit, breads and sweetbreads, cereals, ham, cheese, guacamole, salsa, eggs, sausages, fried potatoes, bacon, mushrooms, freshly squeezed juices, yoghurts, coffee and tea, but the mini glass bottles of Heinz tomato ketchup were excessive. Not even the most ravenous ketchup fiend (i.e. me) could polish off an entire bottle over breakfast. A bowl of ketchup to dip into would suffice. Anything but sachets!

Moving on to the rooms, I stayed in one of the larger Executive rooms on the top (fourth) floor with a view across Cusco’s domes and spires. Cable television, sitting area, the biggest bed I’ve ever slept in, minibar, WiFi and 24-hour room service were deserving of the five-star label. The bathroom was spacious and sparkling clean but the bath and shower, however, were emphatically lacking. Despite there being plenty of room for a full-size bath tub, for some reason the hotel management saw fit to install a smaller-than-average tub and a puny shower head. Likewise, I found the hotel’s sauna, Jacuzzi and gym facilties (a running machine, bike and cross trainer crammed into a small room) disappointing.

What the Libertador might lack in some facilities it more than makes up for in five-star service and location.  Staff were always on hand to help. Guests arriving sweaty and dirty from the Inca Trail received the same level of treatment as those arriving in furs, laden down with Luis Vuitton luggage: discreet, friendly, immediate and professional.

In front of the Koricancha, or Sun Temple, one of Cusco’s top attractions, the Libertador is a short but delightful walk through narrow, beautifully preserved passages, including the city’s best example of Inca walls in Loreto, to Plaza de Armas, the centre of Cusco’s action. From here, all of Cusco’s charms unfold before the discerning visitor’s gaze.

Finally, I have to level my usual over-riding complaint of many five-star hotels at the Libertador Cusco: more attention must be given to the environment. Towels and bed sheets are changed on a daily basis. A simple way to keep environmentally-conscious and opulence-orientated guests happy would be to introduce a simple ‘leave your towel on the floor if you want it changed’ policy.

The Libertador Palacio Del Inka Hotel succeeds in providing a space well suited to magnificent Cusco. It’s not difficult to imagine conquistadors and Inca nobility mingling in the lobby, all differences put aside, or sipping Pisco Sours in the Rumi Bar. The essence of Cusco pervades the hotel, in all the right ways.

Libertador Palacio Del Inka Hotel Cusco
Plazoleta Santo Domingo 259 Cusco, Peru
Tel: (+51) 8423 1961
www.libertador.com

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