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Sanctuary Lodge – Machu Picchu, Peru

Undeniably expensive (in Feb ’12 the cheapest room was $825 per night) but without question this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to stay next door to the majestic Machu Picchu citadel.

Once there, literally EVERYTHING is included in the price – all meals (even breakfast in bed), all drinks including alcohol (even Jack Daniels!), the entire contents of the mini-bar and even all laundry.

The service is impeccable – from the moment you step off the train at Machu Picchu Pueblo/Aguas Calientas where you hand over your heavy luggage, to when you arrive to smiles, cold towels and cool drinks.

In addition, the hotel can organise passes into the Citadel in advance so that you can go straight in as soon as you arrive.

Location-wise, it’s a once in a lifetime stay and worth every penny.  It was a total luxury to be able to run in and out of the Citadel to have lunch or pick up another camera battery. Even just to seek refuge from the hot sun and have a cool drink after climbing Huayna Picchu was brilliant. It was also fantastic to be able to wander in at 6am to watch the sunset, as opposed to queuing for a bus in Machu Picchu Pueblo/Aguas Calientes at 3am in order to take the first bus at 5am.

Staying so close to the citadel allowed easy and multiple access to the ruins as well as precious time first thing in the morning (from 6:30am-10:30am) and afternoon (after 4pm) before and after the crowds from Machu Picchu Pueblo/Aguas Calientes arrive/depart. Last entrance is 4pm and you need to take your passport as well as your ticket/print out to be granted access.

Check-in 2pm and check-out 11am.

SCENE:

  • Attracting mainly retirees and honeymoon couples from the UK, US, Australia, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, Brazil and Argentina.

FUEL:

  • Restaurant – In spite of the location, the in-house restaurant served excellent meals three times a day in light-filled, wooden beamed space with a tropical feel. In the evenings the room was kept warm by an open fire. 
  • Bar – Within the restaurant space, the bar is open daily and is the perfect spot to escape the heat and down a cold beer after climbing Huayna Picchu.

 PLAY:

  • Jacuzzi and garden – The lush, tropical gardens are brimming with bright flowers and hummingbirds.  Book a spot in the Jacuzzi and watch the sun go down on Machu Picchu while sinking into the relaxing, hot bubbles and sipping on a cocktail.
  • Spa – There are two massage rooms available and the staff are expert.

CONTACT DETAILS:

VISIT DATE:

  • 9 – 11th May 2012

WEATHER:

  • Hot, sunny and blue skies by day (around 28C); cooler in the evenings.

ACCESS:

  • A 30-minute steep drive from Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes).

TOP TIPS:

  • Brezys Zavala oversees Guest Management and she is excellent – she can organise passes into the site or book the jacuzzi ahead of your arrival (brezys.zavala@sanctuarylodge.pe); don’t miss the jacuzzi!; Room 21 is one of the cheapest rooms (a Superior King, ‘non-mountain view’) but actually has a view of Huayna Picchu (along with the gates/crowds arriving….  Due to jet lag and sheer excitement, this didn’t affect our sleep as we were awake around 5:30am both mornings); TOP tip is to book well in advance – booking in February for May meant being able to stay two consecutive nights, however availability and room options were limited even then; stay for x2 nights (almost x3 days); you can arrange to pay on departure, rather than paying upfront, one month before arrival as the website suggests; get your passport stamped with a Machu Picchu stamp.
  • For more info on travelling to Machu Picchu, check out the Peru page on this blog.

THE FAT MOUSE VERDICT:

  • The Good – Location, location, location; outstanding service; despite occasionally being described on Trip Advisor as an ugly prefab, the building is well camouflaged and sensitively decorated.  The hotel prides itself on being environmentally friendly and its green policy is obvious throughout the hotel (x4 bins in the bathrooms for separating waste and only glass bottles used in the bar for example); web site is full of really insightful information to really help you prepare; May was the perfect time to visit.
  • The Bad – Getting over the initial shock of the price!

MACARON RATING:

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