Set into a hillside in Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas, boutique hotel Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is rooted in national history and framed by regal mountain views. Inspired by the region’s history, both colonial and pre-Columbian, the hotel draws on the grand haciendas of old with its terracotta floors, beamed ceilings, hand-carved antiques and patterned wall hangings. Lit by wrought-iron chandeliers and the flames of a wood-burning fire, the restaurant builds on the local connection, giving guests a chance to taste the fruits of the fertile valley. In fact, many of the ingredients come straight from the hotel’s organic farm, where they grow everything in the most eco-friendly way possible, keeping up the Incan tradition of maintaining a heartfelt respect for the land.
Double rooms from £331.48 ($370), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates usually include a buffet breakfast of pastries, fresh bread and cake; cold meats; fresh fruit and locally-sourced avocados. Various excursions, such as hikes in the mountains and a tour of Inkaterra’s organic farm, are included too.
If you’re feeling the effects of the altitude, try a coca-leaf infused brew, available during afternoon tea.
At the hotel
Spa; lounge with a log-burning fire; 10-acre organic farm; gift shop; free WiFi throughout; laundry. In rooms: flatscreen TV; minibar; tea- and coffee-making kit; free bottled water; Inkaterra’s own range of eco-friendly bath products.
Our favourite rooms
We’re fans of the Urubamba Casitas, which are separate from the main hacienda, ensuring more peace and privacy. They’re spacious too, coming with seating and dining areas as well as a private terrace with a regal mountain view.
The mystical Mayu Spa is an all-organic haven in a foothill between the organic orchard and the peppertree forest. Transporting treatments include Andean hot stone massages, Ayurvedic aromatherapy (you’ll even pick your own herbs from the healing garden) and reflexology. Banish any last trickles of tension in the sauna or the spa pool.
Bring your trekking gear for daytime excursions, but don’t be afraid to pack something more glamorous for the evenings.
There are stairs at the entrance and no specially adapted rooms, so this one’s not particularly suited to wheelchair users.
All ages are welcome at the hotel. Extra beds (USD 165, suitable for children from 4 to 12) and cots (free) can be added to all rooms.
The hotel has its own organic farm, which produces many of the vegetables, herbs and spices used in the food and drinks. Waste is separated and recycled, and all the bath products are biodegradable.
For lunch, snag a table by the window for the valley view; for dinner, try one close to the fire.
Although it’s on the trekking trail, the restaurant has an air of formality about it, so don’t be afraid of dressing up a little.
Bathed in candlelight and warmed by a large wood-burning fire, the hotel restaurant transports diners to an earlier time, transmitting layers of local history through its decor. The beamed ceiling, wrought-iron chandeliers and high-backed chairs capture the colonial heritage; the farming tools and pre-Columbian masks hanging on the wall add a dash of indigenous culture. The menu is based on an ‘earth to table’ philosophy, meaning the kitchen uses as many locally-produced ingredients as they can. They grow most of the vegetables, herbs and spices in their organic garden, including red and black quinoa, Urubamba corn and several types of potato. Try the trout and avocado ceviche to start, followed by the guinea pig confit (a local delicacy) or the lomo saltado, a traditional Peruvian stir-fry.
With its low lighting and soundtrack of South American jazz and Bossa Nova, the bar is a cosy, intimate space tinged with romance. Red velvet armchairs are mingled with antique chests and coffee tables; handwoven textiles hang on the walls. Behind the bar, there are three large mirrors set into stone arches, reflecting the mountains visible through the windows. There’s an enticing range of South American wines and cocktails, but the specialities are the pisco sours and chilcanos, made with various fruits and spices including passion fruit, golden berry, ginger, lemongrass and star anise.
Breakfast is served from 5:30 am to 10am, lunch from noon until 4pm, and dinner from 6pm to 10pm.
The full menu is available during restaurant hours.
The hotel sits just outside of Urubamba, a small town at the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Alejandro Velasco Astete International is the closest airport. In spite of its name, most flights that land there are domestic – the best route for international arrivals is via Lima, which can be reached direct on a BA flight from London Gatwick, or via Madrid if you’re beginning your journey on the continent.
Peru doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to tourist-friendly driving: attitudes can be gung ho, and those with the largest vehicles tend to act as if they have a greater right to the road. Unless you’re confident in your swerving skills, you’re better off taking taxis or having someone local do your driving for you.
Worth getting out of bed for
Making the most of its enviable location, the hotel runs several daily excursions that are free to guests. The first is a tour of the hotel’s 10-acre organic farm, during which you’ll learn about the crops and medicinal plants that have been grown in the valley for centuries. You can also take a hike up Twilight Mountain or nearby Huasi Challa; search for hawks and hummingbirds around the hotel grounds; or learn how to make Chicha de Jora, a traditional Incan beverage. Bike tours, longer treks and visits to the Inkariy Museum (a hit with kids) can be arranged with the hotel at an extra cost. If you’re heading towards Machu Picchu, stop at Ollantaytambo, a ruined hill fortress that proved to be the final Incan stronghold during the Spanish Conquest. At the other end of the valley, there’s the high-altitude town of Pisac, built on the slope of a steep hill. After you’ve had your fill of the ruins, go for a whirl around the town market, where you can browse stalls selling alpaca products, jewellery, Andean hats and other local crafts.
Part of the Tambo del Inka resort, Hawa is an elegant fine-dining restaurant with traditional stone walls, floor-to-ceiling windows and a high, pitched ceiling hung with lanterns. The dishes are mostly Peruvian and Latin American, using ingredients from nearby organic farms, giving you a taste of the valley. Try the signature dish, the ‘Fervour of the Andes’, a loin of lamb served with quinoa in a champagne souffle, yellow chillies, toasted pecans and a smoked hickory leaf sauce. Taking up residence in an old house, Paca Paca is more low-key and bohemian in style. The work of local artists decks the walls (name your price – most are available for sale), and the simple wooden tables and chairs are painted in vibrant colours. There’s plenty of Peruvian dishes, but the pizzas are a hit too, cooked with a crisp thin base in the traditional adobe oven. It’s also one of the few restaurants in Urubamba that’s open on Sunday evenings.
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 boutique hotel in Urubamba and unpacked their new pisco sour recipes from the hotel's barmen, a full account of their mountain break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba in Peru…
Connecting the terraced villages of Pisac and Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley was once at the centre of Incan civilisation. Snaking between the steep Andean foothills on either side, this fertile strip of land helped to sustain the surrounding villages and citadels, allowing the entire Cusco region to flourish under Incan control. In other words, it’s an area that’s saturated with Peruvian history, and no hotel is in tune with it all quite like Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba, which captures the region’s pre- and post-conquest history with style. Whether you’re in a room off the central courtyard or one of the charming casitas (small houses), you get to live like a lord of the land, luxuriating in colonial style rooms with a pre-Columbian finish – patterned wool blankets, decorative masks and wall hangings, for instance. They’ve not forgotten the region’s agricultural prowess either, setting up their own organic farm to grow indigenous vegetables, spices and Quechan herbs for the food, cocktails and home-made teas. You’re even invited to go and pick your own produce, letting you choose exactly which potato ends up on your plate that evening. Talk about personalisation...