by Patti Mangan

Located just two blocks from Cusco’s central Plaza Mayor the Casa Cartegena luxury hotel & spa is a peaceful oasis from the bustling streets and honking taxis. Just paces from the best dining, arts and entertainment the city has to offer, the Hotel Casa Cartegena is a place for personal reflection and modern style.

Truly breathtaking spacious suites – ready for entertaining or keeping it all to yourself. Built on the foundation of ancient Incan site and Colonial walls this estate will make you feel like modern royalty. Turns out actress Susan Sarandon stayed here very recently in the 2 floor penthouse. Do yourself a visual pleasure and spend ten minutes absorbing the gorgeous photos and well designed Hotel Casa Cartagena website before you go.

For additional views on food and dining see The Cusco Gastronomic Scene on en Peru.

Location and how to get there: Fly in from Lima, about 1 hour 20 minutes to Teniente Alejandro Velasco Astete Airport, and call ahead for airport pick-up. Located in the historic center 200 meters from Cusco’s Plaza Mayor (Main Square).

You can get your connection from Lima to Cusco by plane or bus. International airlines operate scheduled flights to Peru’s a href=””>Jorge Chávez International Airport located in Lima.

Number of Rooms: 16 stylish and mod suites arranged in hacienda style, surrounded by beautiful Spanish patios and blooms. Each suite is totally unique – decorated with both modern sleek furniture and original art as well as colorful, beautiful hand woven traditional peruvion blankets, pillows and wall hangings. These are available for purchase in the on-site boutique – opened at your request providing a celeb-like shopping experience.

Price range: (in USD) from $300 to an extravagant $1800 for a killer two story stunning royal penthouse including a private massage room, full bar setting and a full-sized balcony with hillside views.

Time of year to go: Peru is perfect May through July, which is before the crowds arrive and after the rainy season.

Why is this location so great for women? If security is an issue the solid sound of the serpentine gilded doors locking behind you is satisfying. For the romantics there are tall burgundy candles placed amongst smooth river stones all around the bath tub and shower. Call ahead and the butler will set the mood by filling your tub with fragrant spices, dimming the lights and lighting the cascading candles. Speaking of the butler, -the service is impeccable. But if you like your privacy uninterrupted do place the Do Not Disturb sign on your door. All the staff are quick to serve – speak English and cater to your every need. Ceviche cooking classes are included in this personal experience.

Services & Amenities: Butler service, free internet, in-suite dining, and a two-way oxygen enrichment system in all suites to help your body adapt to the high altitude. A huge plus if you spend your first few nights in Cusco before heading to the heights. Laundry and shoe shine services, airport or train station transportation, parking, city guides, tours and excursion planning.

Bath products in rooms: Felicidad by El Jardin del Zin.

Hotel Restaurants & Bars: La Chola Restaurant presents a menu with dishes from the new Peruvian and International cuisine. The breads are baked to order using local spices served with a tomato confit (oven-dried tomato in olive oil) to die for. We had a delicious ceviche lunch and a tasty breakfast spread with local fresh fruits. The decor is serene, classy and romantic. The wine cellar was built inside an Incan wall which maintains the temperature and quality of a large selection of wines. There are two lobby bars with a wood-burning fireplace and central heating. The Terraza Bar has an informal, cozy and modern atmosphere with a view of the Cristo Blanco.

La Qoya Spa: The first level has a huge sparking blue hydro massage pool with a healing stone trail and meditation/yoga alcove. The second level is for men and provides a private aromatherapy steam room while the third level is reserved for women. Facial, body, therapeutic, and special packages are all offered.

Pumacurco 336, Centro Historico, Cusco, Peru. Phone +51 8426 1171

For more reviews and bookings, check out Casa Cartagena now.

For more information on travel to Peru, visit

To get tips and inspiration for Peruvian travel, check out these great articles, Andean High and Turning 21 in the Jungle.

The Cusco Gastronomic Scene