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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Somewhere very special to stay in Cusco

It is rare that a hotel provides one of the highlights of a trip, but that is certainly the case for anyone lucky enough to stay in the JW Marriott El Convento hotel in Cusco, Peru. 

The Marriott was ranked among the top 10 hotels in South America by Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards 2015 - and offers service standards way above most chain hotels, with super-sharp multi-lingual staff. 

This elegant hotel is set in a restored 16th-century stone convent on the site of ancient Incan ruins - it is both a hotel and a museum. Following strict Ministry of Culture guidelines, the hotel was built right over preserved ruins. 

The Convento is just a five-minute walk from the colonial arcades of the central Plaza de Armas, and from the beautiful Cusco Cathedral.

The rooms and suites feature flat-screen TVs, whirlpool tubs, mini bars, bottled water and safes. Some windows face walls of the Incan ruins, and higher-end rooms and suites have balconies. You'll find exposed bricks, vaulted ceilings and sleek designer furniture.

As you'd expect, room service is available 24/7 and common areas feature period decor and artefacts that date mostly from the Killke culture that began around 800 AD and predates the Inca. Guests are offered a daily 30-minute guided tour. 

The 153-room hotel has two restaurants, a bar that serves excellent pisco sours, and a striking courtyard. Other amenities include a heated indoor pool, a hot tub and a spa.

Unfortunately, you need to be a member of the Marriott Rewards scheme to get free wifi and mobile check-in, but the price is right with online prices starting from $US170 per night for a two-night weekend stay.

There is, however, the choice of a room with extra oxygen for anyone struggling with Cusco's altitude- and there are free computers and printers for guest use on each floor. 

You also cannot help but be dazzled when you walk into the hotel - by sparkling crystals which dangle behind the reception desk that set the tone. The showpiece, composed of 6,000 Swarovski crystals, was created in homage to the Incan sun god Inti.


That charming colonial courtyard I mentioned is a lovely spot to wind down with a drink.

JW Marriott El Convento, Esquina de la Calle Ruinas 432 y San Agustin, Cusco, Peru. 
+51 84 582200. 

# The writer was a guest of Contours Travel

With 40 years of experience, Contours Travel is Australia’s most experienced and longest running Latin American travel wholesaler and agency, specializing in tailor-made, small group itineraries and special interest tours in Mexico, Cuba, Antarctica, South America, Central America and the Caribbean Islands. Learn more at:

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