The truth without the hype.
SUMAQ MACHU PICCHU HOTEL
R E V I E W E D F E B R U A R Y 2017
R E V I E W E R S C O R E : 4.8/5.0
If you have an adventurous spirit, a yearning to embrace an immersive, cultural experience and a lifelong ambition to see Machu Picchu—one of the New7Wonders of the World—Sumaq is likely to win your heart; it did mine. Before I arrived, I was fairly sure I wasn’t going to find high glamour here. People come to the region for adventure but as an enthusiastic, luxury traveller, I wanted to find the best place in town to hang my hat. I’m pretty sure I found it—this boutique-style hotel was charming, homely and I felt exceptionally pampered. My lasting impression is best captured in the hotel’s strapline: “Feel the Andean wisdom from within.” The decor is inspired by the Inca philosophy: the ground floor is themed around fire and is done up in golds and reds, and tapestries by local craftspeople are framed and proudly displayed in the corridors. Authentic experiences take place here regularly, including the ‘pachamama’ payment to Mother Earth ritual with a local shaman. Sumaq has personality by the bucket-load Guests can embrace a more modern way of Peruvian life at the ceviche-making cooking classes and the pisco sour (the national cocktail) lessons that are included with every stay. There’s a real sense of place here. There’s an eco luxury feel too. Part of Sumaq’s mission is to help protect the local environment. The mighty Vilcanota River roars right outside the door and it felt like I could reach out and touch the jungled mountain slopes, they were so close. The hotel’s sustainable practices are certified by the Rainforest Alliance which likes to ‘give back’ to the local community. One member of staff told me that Andean cheese is bought from deaf and blind producers with proceeds going towards their education, while potatoes grown by local farmers are whipped into dishes and served back to them, to inspire their full potential. I fell in love with the place all the more.
D E TA I L E D R E V I E W B E L O W
BARING ALL +
The place to stay for a luxury Indiana Jones-style experience, surrounded by breathtaking jungle views Gastronomy plays a huge part here; Peruvian dishes are given a deliciously innovative twist If budget allows, treat yourself to a stay in the Imperial Suite for an incredible romantic stay If you like to sleep in, opt for a room away from the road Upgrade to a junior suite to guarantee air- conditioned comfort
SUMAQ MACHU PICCHU HOTEL
The location in the town of Agua Calientes, somewhat lacking in ‘curb appeal’, is nevertheless handy. The town square, local shops, restaurants, bars, a bakery, the market and the butterfly farm are all a short walk away. And the bus stop (for the 25-minute ride up to the entrance of Machu Picchu) is very close.
there waiting for me—I was surprised how quickly it had gotten there. I received a phone call about ten minutes later to check that everything was ok with my room; it was.
If however you are looking for total tranquillity and to be away from some of the hustle and bustle, you may prefer to stay away from the town.
The decor in my 34m² (366ft²) Sumaq Deluxe, at the front of the hotel, included beautiful detailing, notably the Inca cross, used for the handles on the furniture, while the colour scheme was rich and warm browns, reds and golds. A local piece of pottery, a black and white image of traditional dress and a locally made bed runner, helped me to embrace the Andean culture.
Arrival Experience After a train journey of almost two hours from Ollantaytambo through the stunning Sacred Valley, I arrived at Agua Calientes and was met by a hotel porter who was waiting outside the station. He took my suitcase, offered me an umbrella (it rains frequently here), and led me through the market and the town to the hotel which took about five minut