During a recent trip to Cusco, I visited hotel Palacio Manco Capac. I had only one night at this tasteful four-star level luxury boutique, but it was a night well spent. Here I share my firsthand Palacio Manco Capac review which proved to be one of the best hotels in Cusco.
Palacio Manco Capac Review
The twelve-room boutique property is set on a hill, San Cristobal, halfway between the Plaza de Armas (the main square) of Cusco and the Inca complex of Sacsayhuamán. I arrived by taxi, riding along the same road that would bring you to Sacsayhuamán before turning onto a private driveway towards the hotel. The hilltop location is a defining feauture, both an advantage and disadvantage. It’s hilltop location gives it a privileged viewpoint, overlooking the city which is impressive day and night. Though only a few blocks from the main square, the disadvantage is that this makes for an easy walk downhill, but more taxing when going uphill.
Palacio Manco Capac is surrounded by eucalyptus forest and is a tranquil retreat from the bustle of the city, yet you feel close to Cusco because you have privileged views of the Plaza de Armas and the surrounding mountains. In fact, standing in the Cusco square, you can see the hotel up on the hill if you know where to look. This ancient republican home was built upon the ruins of the palace of the Inca Manco Capac, and one of the palace walls remains. The wall has a double-jamb door and coursed masonry that reveal it once belonged to an Inca since these architectural elements were reserved for the elites. The building foundation is also upon Inca walls, and there are original Inca terraces in the gardens as well. The hotel has a lot of history, and that aspect combined with the incredible views and calming ambiance made my stay really enchanting.
When I arrived, I was greeted by the manager, who wore a thick sweater in the chilly Cusco evening. He received me as if I were a personal guest arriving rather than a stranger, and we talked for a bit in the cozy lobby while I warmed up with the coca tea he had offered me. The lobby felt like the living room of an elegant home, and it was decorated with some paintings that belonged to the house and also pieces collected from antique shops like a unique mirror frame that had pictures of Incas and the viceroys of Peru. The fact there were only five rooms until 2017 (when the property increased to a modest 12-room hotel) helps foster the homely environment.
The Dining room
The manager showed me the dining room, where breakfast and other meals are served to guests. It had a fireplace in the center and large cabinets for the plate ware that gave the room the same cozy feel of the lobby, as if you were sitting down to eat in someone’s home rather than a restaurant. They serve traditional Peruvian dishes with an international twist, and there is an on-site garden and spring, which they use in the hotel.
Before going to my room for the night, I saw a few of the other bedrooms. There are twelve in total. There are two suites in the original building around the patio, and one has a balcony facing the city of Cusco and a private door the gardens. It is alleged that the infamous liberator, Simon Bolívar stayed in this suite when passing through Cusco during his tours across South America. The other suite is equally ample in size but without the balcony and interesting historical detail. The other three bedrooms are doubles, which are a bit smaller. All of the rooms have free Wi-Fi connection, television, a bathroom with organic amenities, a hair dryer and a bathrobe and slippers. One child under six years of age may stay free of charge in his/her parents’ bedroom, but the hotel does not have additional beds to add to the rooms, meaning that children over six will need their own bedroom. However, given the size of the hotel and the desire to preserve the calm atmosphere, it is preferable that families with small children are considerate of the other guests and advise the hotel of the age in advance.
After taking some pictures of the beautiful city of Cusco lit at night, I finally retired to my room and slept comfortably. I had an early start in the morning, and since the hotel’s chef was on holiday, I decided to simply have my breakfast later en route to my activity for the day to not disturb the manager overseeing the cooking. However, the personalized hospitality prevailed and he refused to let me leave without having something, preparing me a fresh juice to have during the ride, which was very delicious and appreciated.
Special Events & Destination Dining
Palacio Manco Capac’s setting means it works wonderfully for special events. You can enjoy your own private BBQ atop an ancient Incan wall, with traditional delicacies such as Alpaca, accompanied by a fresh garden salad. Romantic dinners can also be hosted here, optionally with live musicians and fireworks. Parties and events can also be catered for – there’s also a special indoor dining area with glass walls which has the perfect vantage point for seeing the city lit up at night.
Recommended Cusco Boutique Hotels
Overall, my experience at Palacio Manco Capac was relaxing and I think it would be a great option for travelers to Cusco who prefer the peace of a hotel set away from the city center. The personalized service was also wonderful, and rather than feeling like you are arriving at a cold Inca palace, you feel like you are arriving to spend the night at a friend’s home. Read more on the best hotels in Cusco.