Review: Tambo del Inka Resort, Urubamba (Machu Picchu)
Book the Tambo del Inka Resort, Urubamba here. In my quest to see Machu Picchu I was looking at Starwood options in the neighborhood and found the well reviewed Tambo del Inka. The hotel is a Luxury Collection property and surprisingly just a Category 5. I booked 2 nights using Cash & Points which was widely available. Now my understanding was that Urubamba was close to Machu Picchu and close to Cusco. It certainly is but he Scared Valley is not exactly dotted with freeways. So while the mileage isn't that long - it's about 1 hour drive to Cusco airport and 3.5 hours train ride to Agua Calientes (the train station at the foot of the Machu Picchu mountain). The hotel has a booth in the Cusco airport arrival hall. The friendly agent checked my reservation but the hotel does not provide a shuttle bus. She did however help me get taxi for a non inflated price (about $20). Urubamba is located in a valley made by the river with the same name. It's enclosed by a major mountain range on all sides. It's certainly scenic on its own but just a small preview of the Sacred Valley itself. Check-In was friendly and quick. I chose the breakfast (full buffet is given) as Platinum amenity. The hotel has no lounge and no Platinum happy hour. I had used 2 Suite Night Upgrades and they had cleared 48 hours prior to my check-in. The suite was fantastic. The hotel is just 3 years old and the suite was spacious, modern and luxurious. It had a completely separate large living room with a sleep/lounging sofa. The bedroom was equally big with a walk-in closet and a large bathroom. Both rooms opened toward the river. I could hear the birds sing and the river flowing by - it was pretty magical (and quiet).
Most visitors (including me) have to deal with symptoms of altitude sickness when coming to the Scared Valley area. The hotel offers free Coca tea (yes the same plant as cocaine) which is completely legal here as an effective remedy against the symptoms. While I did not get t use it - I at least toured the spa and gum area. The gym looked cramped and not very well equipped. The pool looked fantastic though but given the bobbing headache and the rather chilly temperatures I rather hung out near one of the fireplaces. The Wifi was fast and I had no troubles connecting. I did not really like the bathroom setup - the bathtub/shower space was really small (especially how big the room was in comparison). The shower leaked into the rest of the bathroom and there was no way to turn in own without sprinkling yourself with cold water. Come on - if you hire an interior architect - make him pay for such an obvious mistake!
The breakfast had a number of cold and hot options. I found the quality ok. Not as good as I hoped but not as bad that wouldn't eat. Mt favorite coffee drink - a Cortado- is very popular in Peru but the hotel had no idea what it is. I guess it was lost in translational somewhere.
Otherwise the hotel staff spoke good English - I had no trouble expressing myself. I ordered for a shaving kit one night and it took 30 minutes to get it - seems too long. I also booked my train ticket to Machu Picchu with the hotels tour agency. It was all easy enough but the agency booked my return ticket for the wrong day. The train does not sell out and the PeruRail was relaxed enough about it so I could ride the day I wanted to.
Overall I really liked the hotel - it's a luxurious oasis with great service in a fantastic location. However it's not cheap with $110 and 6,000 points per night. It's also pretty isolated and not much else can be done in the area. There are a number of hotels in the Cusco area that will give you better deals and Cuzco is a more interesting places with a city center that is a valid destination in its own right.Book the Tambo del Inka Resort, Urubamba here.