Hotel Palacio Nazarenas in Cusco totally re-writes the rule book on what constitutes superb, supremely stylish 5 star hotel accommodation. In my opinion a 5 star rating is an understatement of what truly is as close to perfection as I could ever have imagined. With its fusion of historic architectural features and ultra modern facilities, it sets a new standard for luxury hotels. Palacio Nazarenas is situated behind the city’s historic central square and within walking distance of the magnificent art and crafts one can see demonstrated in nearby San Blas.
Entering the doors of Palacio Nazarenas we were struck by the sympathetic way in which this former 18th century convent has been transformed into a new de-luxe hotel. We were greeted by our very polite and enthusiastic personal butler called Barnaby, who presented my wife with a bouquet of beautiful aromatic flowers before escorting us to our Grande Suite. Never before have we experienced such luxury. In no way ostentatious, the decor oozed elegant modern style, yet still retained a sense of authentic charm with it’s plentiful artefacts. Palacio Nazarenas have really gone the extra mile and thought of absolutely every modern amenity to enhance the comfort of every guest, including children. In addition to the facilities one would expect of a 5 star hotel, we were thrilled to discover an iPpad, DVD player, Bose sound system, silk dressing gowns and a very well stocked complimentary mini-bar offering unlimited snacks, soft drinks and full sized bottles of rum and pisco.
To ensure a good night’s sleep we had the choice of a variety of herb pillows. The suite was divided into two spacious areas. The lavish bathroom featured a walk-in power shower, a generously sized bath tub, his’n her sinks, a heated towel rail, under floor heating and a generous selection of luxurious toiletries. To help alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness the rooms were equipped with oxygen enriched air-conditioning. Having given us a tour of the suite, which included Barnaby carving us pieces of handmade soap using products grown in the hotel, he then gave us an expert demonstration of how to mix the most delicious pisco sour we have ever tasted. What a wonderful way to begin our holiday of a lifetime, excited to explore the adventures awaiting us outside but for now more than happy to lap up the unrivalled luxury we were about to experience at the Palacio Nazarenas.
Stepping outside our suite we found ourselves in an idyllic cloistered courtyard with a soothing fountain at the centre. Arriving at night, we were totally awe-struck by the multitude of lights cascading down from the surrounding hillside of Cusco and the illuminated statue of Christ clearly visible on it’s peak. Wherever we walked within the grounds we were aware of the authenticity and mysticism that has not been lost during the conversion. Around every corner we were to discover something immensely interesting; whether it be the chapel which is still used for a public mass every 15 days or the library, with it’s 50 inch flatscreen and playstation for children, where guests can browse through the beautiful artefacts discovered during the restoration of the building. Passing alongside walls of Inca stones we were fascinated by the multitude of gardens, some featuring the most beautiful, carefully labelled, flowering plants and others a vast array of different herbs, all used to enhance the cuisine and spa products available in the hotel. The Hypnoze Spa is a pure sanctuary where guests can enjoy tailor made treatments. Hotel Palacio Nazarenas boasts the only open-air heated infinity pool in Cusco. Situated alongside the exclusive Senzo Restaurant, the subtle strategically placed lights of the pool provided the perfect setting for my wife and I to enjoy a beautifully romantic dinner.
The meal we enjoyed at the Senzo restaurant, with it’s intimate candle-lit elegance, far surpassed all our expectations. We selected the taster menu which was a pure delight of Peruvian cuisine with a modern twist. Su chef, Ricardo Martins, was on hand to describe to us in detail each course and we were waited upon by extremely friendly, courteous staff. Ricardo’s supreme artistry, knowledge and passion for the food he prepared was very evident. Chef Virgilio Martinez prides himself on using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and Ricardo admitted to having personally picked the wild pine mushrooms that morning! Each course was exquisitely flavoured and each one was characterised by an unusual twist, whether it was the crispy white bean bread with bell pepper sauce, the Aladdin`s cave of miniscule vegetables in a delicately flavoured reduction of meat and vegetable stock, the tuber infused with charcoal oil, the huge, succulent fish caught nearby or the slow cooked tender beef skirt in it’s rich and powerful sauce. For dessert we were presented with an assortment of semi-frozen creams, each topped with an ornate miniature fruit, vegetable or edible flower, and sitting on a coffee based sauce. Unfortunately for me I loathe coffee! However this was absolutely no problem as I was speedily brought one of Senzo’s signature dishes – a delicate mix of delicious creme caramel and marshmallow, topped artistically with flower petals but with the unusual twist of being served on a huge stone.
It is no understatement to describe Palacio Nazarenas as an oasis of tranquility for those travellers seeking that bit extra. Situated adjacent to the equally beautiful and exquisite Hotel Monasterio it really does raise the benchmark in both hotel accommodation and 5 star dining and is supremely comfortable and exclusive. If you want to be treated like royalty in one of the best hotels in the world then Palacio Nazarenas is the place for you.
Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. is a luxury hotel company and sophisticated adventure travel operator which seeks to deliver memorable experiences that are the ultimate expression of each destination’s authentic culture.
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