This summer, I had the opportunity to do some amazing travelling, and stayed at some unbelievable hotels. Two of them are in contention (in my mind) for the world’s best hotel; and for very different reasons. Each of them is very specific and true to its place. And each of them is a work of art in the medium of hospitality.
The first one was the Hotel Monasterio in Cusco, Peru.
The Hotel Monasterio is a modern, upscale hotel inside a sixteenth century Spanish monastery. It brings together the comforts of our modern lives, with the rich textures and colours of colonial Peru. The adobe construction, clay roof tiles and original terra-cotta floors, worn by centuries of the footsteps of seekers; is matched in spirit by the hand-painted fresco detailing on the walls, the rustic beams of the vaulted ceilings. Oil paintings with gold-leaf detailing and elaborate gilt frames mimic the colonial art of Peru. But the furniture is ample and comfortable, the rooms spacious; the bathrooms luxurious, and the big-screen TV is discreetly hidden in the footboard of the bed.
The rooms are arranged around a pair of open, square courtyards, traditional loggia running the full circumference of each. The gardens there offer a place for contemplation, as well as patio tables for casual dining. Gregorian chants emanate from the small chapel, and coca tea is served in the lobby.
With its contradictory mix of cultures and times; with its elegant architecture from an oppressive past; with its depictions of saints and a breakfast menu to satisfy the most gluttonous of sinners, La Monasterio resonates with something of the fraught history -- and the richness and the beauty -- of Peru.
|La Monasterio hotel, Cusco, Peru -- the first courtyard.|
|Coca tea, served any time of the day or night in the lobby. Photo by Ariel Tarpey.|
|The view outside of our room|
|Room 425, La Monasterio hotel.|
|Hand-painted fresco details.|
|The door to our room, flanked by Mary and Joseph.|