This is the first of a series of articles that will feature my partner’s South American adventure which was recently concluded. His first review will focus on Cusco’s JW Marriott.
Hotel: JW Marriott Cusco
Date : 23 to 25 June 2016 (2 nights)
Price : Rack rate is quoted at USD 249 a night+, but we booked this at a corporate rate thanks to our travel agent
Type of room : Classic Inca Room (2 Double)
As part of my anniversary trip with my wife to Peru, we had arranged to visit Cusco during its most important festival, the Inti Raymi festival (Sun Festival in Quechua language). Hence, we decided to indulge by upgrading to the JW Marriott, which was near the festivities without being directly AT the location proper itself to avoid the noise and hordes expected.
The JW Marriott Cusco is not just your regular hotel, it is a hotel that has an interesting historical background to it. It is built directly on preserved Incan ruins, and took 6 long years to complete so as to preserve as much history and the original structure as possible.
To be precise, the lobby was built around an Augustinian cloister (the reception area was actually the main chapel) , that was itself built on the Incan ruins. This was then abandoned when the cloister was expelled from Peru. It subsequently became a factory and then a bakery before being abandoned when the bakery closed down in the 1970s.
Anyway, from the moment we stepped into the foyer, we knew that this was going to be a great stay. The service from the porters and receptionist was exceptional and our luggage was quickly unloaded from our car. Check in was swift and our receptionist brought us up to our room, explaining the layout of the hotel along the way and recommending us the daily hotel tour. This hotel tour was an eye-opener, where we could see the gallery space dedicated towards the preservation of the ruins (yes, right under the hotel!) and also the rooms and courtyard which were painstakingly refurbished. For those feeling the altitude, a variety of tea like anise, camomile and coca tea were available at the lobby.
The room we had was room 229, which was located on level 2, just above the foyer. We were happy to have this room, as it meant that we had FOC wifi! If we had any grouse, it would be the fact that WIFI is not free except in the public areas (lobby and restaurant). In any case, because of our location, this was not a problem for us.
The room was sufficiently spacious, with ample space for 2 big luggages to be opened up and 2 queen size beds, and yet still have some walking room. There was a small table, desk and a drawer with a flat screen TV. A hot water kettle was available , as was a well-stocked minibar. Housekeeping and turndown service were efficient, and they topped up fresh bottles of water and towels each time.
The bathroom had a rainshower, separate bath and used Aroma Associates toiletries, which was a great touch. Water pressure was excellent and warm water was consistent.
Our room came with breakfast, and breakfast at the Pirqa was top notch. A widespread delectable selection of cheeses, fruits, pastries, cereal, breads, yogurt was available alongside classic Peruvian staples like quinoa and the usual international breakfast food like bacon, sausages and pancakes. A made to order egg station was available outside the restaurant where you could pick and choose your condiments. Both omelette, scrambled and fried eggs were quickly rustled up when ordered. Fresh fruit juices and hot coffee/chocolate/tea was also available. Tables were generally available whenever we came down for breakfast and the service staff were helpful in getting a table. English was widely spoken and there were no communication issues whatsoever.
Our stay in Cusco had everything and more, and the JW Marriott proved to be a superb choice, fully deserving of its accolade as one of the top 10 hotels in South America as rated by T+L magazine in 2015. It is located just 2 blocks away from the main Plaza de Armas and within walking distance of most of the sights in Cusco.
Well worth the stay and two thumbs up!
Some pictures of Marriott Cusco: