Belle Époque beauty Hotel B is an architectural wedding cake, adorned with pillars and balconies, wreathed in plasterwork and topped by a roof terrace with Pacific Ocean views. This was a private residence until 2010, originally built as a seaside retreat, and there’s still a sense of sanctuary. The joys of this former home are evident in its art collection, cool courtyard and made-for-lazing sala and library. The bar and Peruvian tapas restaurant serve as alluring additions. This 20-room retreat is a blissful Barranco base for exploring Lima, close to both the centre and bordering affluent Miraflores.
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Chocolate truffles and a selection of Peruvian fruit
12pm, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £416.02 ($519), including tax at 18 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 10% per room per night on check-out.
Rates include breakfast.
To transform it into a hotel, the original villa was restored and extended with a whole new three-storey annexe designed to match the original – a project made seamless with help from sculptors from the Fine Arts Academy and an Italian master woodworker.
At the hotel
Library, lounge and roof terrace. In rooms: TV, DVD player on request, iPod dock, minibar and Tantra bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Atelier suites seduce with superlatives – the highest ceilings, the biggest spaces, the most magnificent beds. Some have timbered beams; others, four-poster beds, but all bring a contenting blend of comfort and character.
There’s no dedicated spa, but you can book a selection of massage treatments in your room.
There’s little requirement for sharp tailoring or your finest threads. Pack relaxed layers, with something a little smarter for evening. Dry-cleaning and laundry service are available 24 hours, and the hotel will turn around your ironing in an hour, so you can afford to pack light.
Ground-floor areas are wheelchair-accessible, and there is one room and ensuite bathroom adapted for wheelchair users.
All ages are welcome. Extra beds (for under-12s) and cots can be added to Aposento rooms and Atelier suites. Babysitting is available with two days’ notice.
Up there with the most democratic of dining rooms, all the tables here share the lively atmosphere and attentive service in equal measure – but you can also eat in the library, on the rooftop or in the courtyard if you prefer.
Floaty scarves and statement jewellery are de rigueur in this most bohemian of barrios. Failing that, your most flamboyant smart-casual will do nicely.
There’s a café charm to the damson-dark walls and marble-topped tables in Hotel B’s restaurant, a place to linger over chef Franco Hurtado’s tapas menu fusing Mediterranean and Peruvian influences. Dishes include tender chargrilled octopus, anchovy and avocado crostini, and heartier mains such as peppered pork loin with smoky escalivada. Breakfast is a buffet served in the library, with hot dishes cooked to order. A signature menu of snacks and light dishes is available all day.
Beautifully in keeping with the hotel’s Belle Époque style, the chandeliered, polished-wood bar serves G&Ts made with Peruvian gin, pisco sours, of course, and an extensive South American wine list. The lighting is low, the music chilled, and the crowd tenacious, spilling out onto the terrace into the small hours, with nightcaps served until 2.45am.
Breakfast hours are 6.30am to 10.30am. The restaurant kitchen is open until 12.45am.
The signature menu you can order from downstairs is also available in your room, 24/7.
Hotel B is in the south of the Peruvian capital, on a quiet boulevard in the bohemian Barranco district, a 20-minute taxi ride from central Lima, and with the Pacific Ocean within earshot.
Jorge Chávez International Airport is 40 minutes away by car. Hotel B can arrange private transfers from US$55 each way.
Peru has two rail networks, of which the northern one, Ferrocarril Central, connects Lima with Huancayo on a high-altitude track that runs once or twice a month.
Car hire is available at the airport; Hotel B offers valet parking.
Worth getting out of bed for
There’s a bohemian air to Barranco, brimming with bars and cafés, galleries and shops – with the soundtrack of Pacific surf never far away. To the north, the modern magnificence of Miraflores lies between you and the city centre, bringing more shopping and dining, as well as the marvellous Malecón, a six-mile stretch of palm-dotted green spaces along the clifftops, just made for strolling, jogging or cycling.
Barranco itself is home to two notable addresses for art lovers – the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, a trove of modern art from mid-century to right now, and a museum dedicated to Peru’s most famous photographer, Mario Testino at Museo Mate. On your very doorstep, the hotel’s curator offers private guided tours of the on-site art collection. Highlights of El Malecón include the Gaudí-esuqe Parque del Amor, sea-air-fuelled runs along its walkways with Peruvian sculptures for waymarkers, and watching the parasailers brave the thermals with lemming-like jumps from the cliffs.
Get to the heart of the city at Plaza de Armas, the capital’s central square, home to the Government Palace and Casa de Aliaga, a centuries-old house, now a museum full of art and artefacts that’s been around nearly as long as Lima itself.
The French pastries and rustic breads at El Pan de la Chola are worth the short hop to Miraflores for brunch, where the coffees are short and the list of buttery temptations long. Try the fig frangipane tarts. If you’d rather walk to brunch, La Panetteria is worth seeking out – a tucked-away temple to moreish morning treats such as avo on toast and freshly squeezed orange juice. Let the focus on wine and tapas at Miraflores institution La Preferida be your cue to linger over lunch at this deli-bodega turned restaurant. Shelf-lined walls and sultrily soft lighting give José del Castillo’s traditional taberna Isolina an old-fashioned feel that suits low-key suppers à deux. Don’t let the fish starters fool you – this is the place for hearty stews and offal in abundance. Oceanfront Cala ups the sense of occasion as well the scenery in a timbered temple to fish and seafood that excels at ceviche and paella. Ask for a table on the terrace for superlative sea views.
A central chandelier-crowned bar sits beneath a vaulted ceiling at colonial house turned dimly lit cocktail den Ayahuasca. Low-slung sofas and lively crowd aside, it’s the line-up of pisco sours you’ll fall for.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this pleasingly pillared hotel in Lima and unpacked their Peruvian tchotchke and Escvdo threads, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel B in Barranco…
More intimate villa than sprawling hotel, Hotel B can feel like coming to stay with a well-heeled uncle. An uncle with great taste. Gleaming wood floors, ivory walls and skylight-crowned ceilings form a suavely simple backdrop for an art collection to impress – the hotel’s curator can give you the guided tour. Rooms are sumptuous, with pillowy-white beds, dark wooden furniture and elegantly appointed ensuites. But it’s in the communal areas that Hotel B excels. Breakfast is taken in the library; the café-tabled courtyard is a leafy spot for coffee, and the sala, aka living room, has irresistibly slouchy sofas. The sala is also the focal point for El Lonche,a tempting afternoon tea served daily. And then there’s the Peru-meets-Mediterranean tapas in the restaurant. The bar, lauded for its Peruvian gin and tonics, is open late into the night, attracting locals as well as guests to its convivial terrace.