Peru is home to the first known people to roam the Americas. As a host, it offers vast mountain regions, sweeping coastlines, dense rainforest, and the mighty river now internationally fabled: The Amazon. With such rich offerings, it’s no wonder that it allowed for a long, eventful history.
Only relatively recently did it become the independent nation of Peru as it’s known today. Since the first recognized city dated back to 3500 BC to its independence in 1824 AD, many people of various cultures have built the basis of Peruvian culture today.
For visitors to Peru, there are still many ancient sites to visit and Spanish-inspired mansions to tour. Peru has been successful in preserving a lot of their infrastructure, making way for many inspired and storied hotels. Many places that have rooms for travelers offer an experience to dive into Peru’s history as well as an early check-out option.
Peru’s rich history has allowed for there to be accommodations for just about any periodic taste. You take your pick of these storied Peru hotels.
1. Hotel Antigua Miraflores, Lima
Antigua Miraflores sits in Peru’s modern-day capital of Lima. It’s one of South America’s largest cities and the largest metropolis in the country. With a pre-colonial cathedral in its center and museums exploring and commemorating its ancient civilizations, the heart of Lima pulses with culture.
This life-blood flows through Hotel Antigua Miraflores. The Lima hotel itself is named after the neighborhood in which it sits. Its front door opens up to the ocean-bound avenue traveled by the Incas that they built to reach their temple.
Though it may seem to cover history, it rose into an even more intricate story. Once the Spanish arrived in 1532, the brought with them the colonial-styles that were en vogue in Europe. They built scores of casonas, Spanish-colonial style mansions for a showy expression of status throughout the country. This casona was first erected in 1800 and changed hands a few times before its most recent expansion was completed in 1924.
Hotel Miraflores feels like a stay in the house of men long-dead who had stories to tell until the end of time. The walls themselves have stories to tell. They’ve weathered many seasons, in part because there was always someone willing to buy it and restore it, but also because the walls were made in the traditional quincha way to withstand earthquakes to which Peru is prone.
2. Casa Falleri, Lima
Also on the Inca roadway, Avenue Grau, lies a more intellectual take on colonization. Casa Falleri was another one of the many casonas built by the Spanish. Its construction started in 1912 in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of Peruvian independence, though it mimicked a much different type of war.
This centennial-inspired casona was commissioned by Paula Falleri and designed by a Swiss architect to resemble a conglomerate of chess pieces. This 4-year project brought a tower, a bishop, and a queen to monstrous proportions right in the heart of Lima.
This casona has undergone a restoration without any additional building. It still stands just as it was meant to in historical Lima as a game of chess frozen in time.
3. Gran Hotel Bolivar, Lima
This Peru hotel, reminiscent (or perhaps a source of inspiration) of Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel is all about presumptuousness. Designed by Rafael Marquina y Bueno, it was the first modern hotel build in Peru in 1924.
Like many of the prominent historical casonas and hotels, this was built in commemoration of a battle, specifically the battle which would end up winning Peru the War of Independence against Spain. Situated nearby the Government Palace, it was built with a finer taste in mind to inspire presidents and government officials to stay in a conveniently located place. Its purpose was fulfilled, and leaders like Charles De Gaulle, Richard Nixon, and Robert Kennedy have been some of its guests.
It isn’t an entirely politically-charged location, either. It’s well-known for its bar as well, pouring up the classic Peruvian pisco sours. Some noted drinkers have stopped by the grand hotel bar to give it a try, including Ernest Hemingway and Ava Gardner (whose barefoot feet were particularly inclined to dance across its floor after a few.)
The Rolling Stones also added their names to the list of guests… before they were thrown out for unruly behavior.
Aside from the drunken antics of stars, it’s also said to be home to several ghosts who roam the halls. The 5th and 6th floors of the hotel have been concerning closed for years. Many attribute that to the lack of government funding to preserve the landmark, but others still speculate about the specters that lodge there.
4. Hotel B, Lima
As far as presidential suites go, Hotel B was the last stop in swank. Augusto Leguia, a president who won and lost his position by separate coups, used this casona as a seaside retreat.
It was another mansion built to celebrate Peru’s 100 years of independence. It was completed in 1914, two years after Leguia’s first term ended. It was still a considerable beach house fit for a president, as he would become again in 1919.
The mansion is built with Italian marble, expansive terraces, and sky-high ceilings. Balconies were big at the time in Peru, and Hotel B is wrapped in them. Lima being named the “City of Balconies” as a nod to the many casonas with elaborate looks into the outside.
5. Marriott Palacio del Inka, Cusco
Before the colonization from Spain, the Incan Empire lived fruitfully between the 13th and 16th Centuries. Their elevated civilization had its center in Cusco, where they built town complete with stone houses, palaces, and temples.
Their stone architecture was resilient against years of the elements and was repurposed for the new cultural wave. Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro conquered the Incan Empire and used its remains to build his own.
Palacio Del Inka was erected on the ruins of an Incan temple. What remained of the walls was used to construct the palace, providing a touch of old and new world culture. Pizarro conquered Cusco, and it was one of the balconies of this palace that he used as his now famed speaking pulpit.
6. Belmond Hotel Monasterio, Cusco
Not every building in Peru is a commemoration of conquering. High in the Andes is this homestead that was originated for Jesuit Seminarians. A former monastery, this Cusco hotel now offers over 120 rooms, including a handful of suites, each of them different from the last.
The history of this monastery is shared with Incan and Spanish influence, as well as the purity of Andes mountain air. It was built on an original Incan stone in 1592, inclusive of a baroque chapel and 300-year-old cedar in its internal courtyard. Each unique room at this Peru hotel is decorated with masterful 18th-century religious art by Cusqueña artists.
This elaborate national monument was originally made for monks, no doubt as a hideaway from the hustle and bustle that became of Lima. The elevation of 11,000 feet lent itself to seclusion and a nearby convent, Palacio Nazarenas, had the same idea.
7. Palacio Nazarenas, Cusco
Palacio Nazarenas has an equivalent history oozing from its walls. This former convent was restored and now is considered one of Cuzco’s best hotels. Like it’s nearby monastery counterpart, this palatial parish was built on Incan stones. The Peru features a centuries-old fountain in its internal courtyard that makes it seem far more lavish than its intent to house low-class nuns and, later in its history, orphans.
It wasn’t just nuns and orphans that roamed these cloisters, as many wealthy men have dipped their hand into the high-altitude honey pot. The vastly historical sites holds a venerated fresco of Jesus Christ, known as the Lord of Huanca. More modestly, there is age-old turntable designed for the nuns to sell their homemade marzipan through a pay-and-receive turntable device that hides both buyer and sellers faces from one another. It’s still on display today.
Nuns lived within the walls up until 1977 when the Peruvian government overtook it with aim of restoring it.
It also serves up the Peruvian favorite, pisco sours, in its bar since 1821.
8. El Convento, Cusco
Whether it’s the long, battle-worn history or the difficult habitations of wild South America, the people of Peru have never been too tired or timid to build.
This convent turned hotel is the site of archeological ruins from the 1500s. It’s a stone’s throw from Plaza De Armas, famous for Pizzaro’s conquering of the Incan Empire, in which a church and cathedral with precious religious art is displayed.
Since Spanish Conquest, El Convento has had a very loopy history in identity. Though its name suggests it was famously a convent, it also went through phases as a chocolate factory and a bakery. Now, it is a Peru hotel with a corporate surname, but they’ve made a point to maintain the integrity of the Pre-Columbian artifacts. A thousand square feet of the property is used for artifacts that predate even Incan culture.