The Cusco J W Marriott, opened September 2012 after six years of painstaking renovations features a customized design built around a 16th century St. Augustin colonial monastery and Inca excavation site. The nonsmoking property has 153 rooms and seven suites with a supplemental system of oxygen to help travelers with the effects of the area’s high altitude.
Located in Cusco’s historical district the J W Marriott is within walking distance of tourist attractions, restaurants and souvenir stores. The hotel is also across the street from a mini market and sporting goods store where travelers can purchase snacks, sundries or rent hiking equipment they might have forgotten to pack or need for their trip to Macchu Picchu.
The attention to decorating details is noticeable throughout the property — from the gargantuan entrance doors and Swarovski crystal chandelier by registration to the custom carved panels in the elevators. Off the lobby and bar, area is one of the property’s highlights: a 500 square meter inner courtyard that is a guests’ relaxation spot paradise. The hotel’s archaeological exhibition room next to the spa, displaying the Inca artifacts uncovered during the renovation process, is also well worth visiting. If you are interested in learning more about the hotel’s history and renovation process make sure you join one of the free evening tours offered daily by hotel staff.
A Tea Welcome
Upon arrival, the staff invited us to sit in their luxurious lobby area and served us Coca and Mathe teas (to help with altitude sickness) while a reception staff member checked us into the hotel.
Like the hotel’s public areas, our rooms were decorated in warm earth tones combining colonial, Peruvian artisan and modern furniture items to create an elegant and welcoming feel. The hand-carved wood canopy beds were exceptionally comfortable, and the hard wood floors were a pleasant switch from the customary carpet flooring found in most hotels. We also appreciated the multiple outlets in the room that gave us the ability to recharge our electronic devices simultaneously as well as the loaner adapters thoughtfully placed by hotel staff in the desk drawer.
Both rooms featured marble bathrooms with large granite countertops, built in ceiling showerheads and toilet stalls separated by glass doors. Our suite bathroom had an additional tub great to relax in after a day’s hike or to wash younger kids.
Housekeeping service at this property was one of the best we’ve encountered in our travels so far. Though we had arrived a couple of hours before official check in time, our rooms were ready and our request for feather-free pillows followed. When we called for extra toiletries and towels, they were delivered in less than 10 minutes.
The Fun Surprise
Worth mentioning were the daily fun towel animals left in both our rooms by the housekeeping staff; the scrumptious BRITT chocolate covered nuts left on our pillows every night and the fast and unlimited WI FI connection for all our mobile devices.
The property has two food venues: the Quespi Bar that offers casual dining with a great selection of fresh salads and sandwiches and the Pirqa restaurant that serves Peruvian staples with locally grown ingredients in a more elegant setting.
The Breakfast Buffet
The buffet served at the Quespi Bar is open unusuallyong hours — 5-10 am (to accommodate day travelers to Machu Picchu) and showcases an elaborate spread of cold and warmdishes.Apart from usual cut-up fruits and vegetables, the buffet has a cold cuts meat/cheeses area with a separate table for freshly baked breads and pastries. The hot dishes include tamales; meat stews and a delicious potato frittata. Our kids’ favorite was the Egg Station, where you could order Sunnyside-up eggs and eggs Benedict. The hotel also offers a boxed continental breakfast that includes a roll, jam, fruit and juice for the guests who left even earlier than 5 am (like us) for their day trip to Macchu Picchu.
Hotel Delivers the WOW Factor
The hotel offers a private cooking class ($40 per person) with the hotel chef Teddy Bouroncle which is truly a unique experience. Using the Marriott kitchen, guests first learn to prepare traditional Peruvian dishes and then enjoy dining at a specially set table (in the kitchen) served by attentive hotel staff.
Our class started with a quick tutorial how to make the perfect Pisco Sour drink (our kids were treated to virgin versions) and continued with mastering the preparation of Sea Bass Ceviche, two beef dishes (Anticucho and Lomo Saltido) and two favorite desserts (Arroz-con-Leche and Suspiro-de-Limena).
The hotel’s gorgeous heated serenity pool and pristine Jacuzzi are impressive so you should definitely bring a swim suit to use during your stay on the property.
The hotel hosts artisans from neighboring communities in an ongoing effort to help them sell their unique products.The week we visited we met textile weavers from the community of ‘Huchuy Qosqo’ demonstrating their weaving technique in the hotel’s interior courtyard.
Autism Travel Tips
Our rooms had windows and a small balcony that opened and faced a relatively busy street. If you are traveling with younger kids ask the staff to lock the windows and balcony door. If your child is noise sensitive, the hotel offers Inca wall rooms that face a wall and are particularly quiet. All rooms come with an A/C temperature control which is useful for many kids on the spectrum who may be temperature intolerant, and an empty mini fridge that you can put snacks, food and even medicines for your special needs traveler.