In my last post, I told you all about the Belmond Hiram Bingham train and our trip in style to Machu Picchu but now it’s time to focus on the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge hotel which has a location second to none! It’s the only hotel which is located in this proximity to the great Incan citadel, the lost city of the Incas and one of the seven new wonders of the world, Machu Picchu.
So overnight at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge starts off with a relaxing afternoon post afternoon tea for me that was wondering around the gardens and getting to grips with the fact that you are actually staying in this awe-inspiring location overnight!
The lodge is quite small and feels very exclusive, peaceful and intimate. The minimalist hotel décor has been contemplated to ensure that the natural colours deliberately offer little distraction from the outstanding surroundings. The gardens showcase the distinctive hump of Huayana Picchu crowing the landscape from several points in the hotel, including from the private terraces of some of the bedrooms – where you can chose to have breakfast should you wish.
We booked a Deluxe Mountain View Room which provided us with dramatic views of the landscape of the sacred valley and mountains. The bedroom lead out onto a perfectly furnished terrace. There are also Superior Suites and two presidential suites available. The mini-bars in all rooms are complimentary as when we booked our trip to Macho Picchu with Belmond, the two days are full-board, with three course meals at dinner and lunch at the hotels, Tampu restaurant. A buffet and cooked breakfast and two afternoon teas are included on the over-night stay. The full board basis also includes all alcoholic beverages and choices from a vast wine collection.
The evening at the lodge kicks off with a Pisco Sour making class. Well you can’t visit Peru without trying and even making their national alcoholic beverage! This for us turned out to be a quaint affair sat around the bar area, being educated on the history and the correct way to make a Pisco Sour! The drink is made from the infamous strong Pisco wine (more like spirit to me!), lemon juice, syrup and topped with egg white and garnished with Agostura bitters. Of course you have to taste too and then you’re pretty much given free rein to drink your body weight in Pisco Sours should you desire! Absolutely not recommended though!!
Soon after you can take your drinks through to another lounge where you have a fascinating history lesson on Machu Picchu and the surrounding area.
After some time to digest the information and mingle with the staff and guests at the hotel its time to head on over to the Tampu restaurant for a three course dinner, which you can chose from a well- constructed menu and your personal waiter and sommelier will advise you on wines and foods. The menu pays homage to the local produce available and is cooked in a traditional Peruvian way with a European twist. During dinner a local Peruvian band performed their music and provided the perfect accompaniment to the relaxed tranquil atmosphere.
We retired post dinner with a digestif as we had a very early morning start. Our ticket for Macchu Picchu entry for the following day meant we could go back three times at any point in the day! Another perk of staying overnight at the lodge.
Dr C and I were really keen to visit the citadel for the 6am opening and see the site when it’s eerily quiet and the clouds are just rising and you see that morning sun peeking through Huayana Picchu. The gates of Machu Picchu opened and we literally didn’t have to queue with the public as we were staying a few steps away and we couldn’t quite believe we were there. We had many quiet moments which felt like it was just us and the site with the odd family of Llamas waling past us every now and then.
Once we’d taken in the majestic early morning private view, we headed back to the lodge for breakfast and late morning decided to make another visit and actually now that we’d gotten over the sheer scope of the site, we could focus on photographs and reflect back on the history lesson that we’d had the night before. Post lunch on that day we headed back to the site and said our farewells to the place that sparked my interest as a child to the lost city of the Incas. An absolute dream come true for me and to this day I actually have to look back at the photos and pinch myself to believe that I was there.
After our final afternoon tea at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, we checked out and were picked up to make our journey back to Aguas Calientes and then onto Poroy via the Hiram Bingham train. And just like that we were back tucked up in bed in Cusco at the Belmond Monasterio, in our presidential suite, wondering if we’d just dreamt the past 48 hours!
TOP TIPS FOR MACHU PICCHU
01. Don’t forget your passport as you need it to enter Machu Picchu
02. Don’t miss having your passport stamped at the entrance/exit to the site!
03. Make sure you take some good walking shoes, sun screen, waterproof coat, and a hat, maybe even a fleece cover-up as the climate can change quite drastically at 7,000 ft above sea level.
04. The llamas may seem super cute but if you get in their way they can turn nasty – spitting and head-butting is not uncommon behaviour”
The Belmond Sanctuary Lodge is…
Sheer unadulterated bliss for:
Once in a lifetime…go on just splash out, you’re going all that way!
Machu Picchu is for…
EVERYONE!! YOU HAVE TO EXPERIENCE THIS PLACE AT LEAST ONCE IN YOUR LIFE!
Carretera Hiram Bingham KM 7.5 • Machu Picchu, Peru • Tel: +51 984816 956
As you can see, Machu Picchu absolutely blew me away! I hope you enjoyed my experience of visiting the Incan Citadel and now it’s time for you to tell me if you’ve visited and what you thought of teh place? Please share in the comments below.
Worry not, my South America series isn’t over just yet even though that’s all from Peru!
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Until the next time…