Plaza Manco II 123
The Sonesta Yucay hotel in the Sacred Valley near Cusco is the best place to experience the quiet pace of the Peruvian countryside in comfort. Preserving the colonial style, the property resembles a small village with a church, shops and handicraft market.
The Sonesta Posada del Inca Hotel in Yucay is a beautiful place to catch your breath––literally––before heading to Cusco or Machu Picchu. Located in the picturesque Sacred Valley midpoint between Ollantaytambo and Pisac at 9000 feet, the Sonesta Hotel is a village complete with its own church within the tiny, serene village of Yucay. The hour drive from the airport in Cusco to the hotel is one of incredible vistas: mountains, valleys, fields, and flowers. Visitors enter the hotel through what was once the 17th century Santa Catalina de Sena Monastery where each room has a plaque remembering the nun who lived there.
In the next plaza, one of several centered around trickling fountains decorated with colorful flowers, guests receive a welcome cup of hot coca tea to aid in alleviating the effects of the altitude. It is available in the lobby lounge 24 hours. Displayed under glass on the coffee tables in the lobby are historical documents relevant to the hotel and convent's history.
The newly remodeled hotel now offers upgraded accommodations located in four two–story colonial–style buildings surrounded by beautiful gardens. Rooms have antique iron locks and keys, doors feature cloister windows, beds sport duvets with stone and wood headboards, and bathrooms––while small––have designer sinks. Rooms retain a cloister look which some may find wanting and others find part of the ambiance.
This is a place to kick back, enjoy the incredible scenery, wander the small village not yet spoiled by commercialism, and to adjust to the altitude. The luxury is the bucolic ambiance. Excitement is talking to the alpacas, star gazing, watching the farmers return from the fields with their animals, chatting with the handicraft vendors, reading in the well–tended gardens, having a drink around the center fireplace in the Wayra Wasi Bar listening to live Andean music, and enjoying the spa. Those looking for organized entertainment and tours will be happier staying in Cusco.
The hotel is a favorite of upscale tour groups that arrive late in the day and leave early in the morning. During the day the hotel settles into a quiet that is impossible in the city of Cusco. The staff is friendly and helpful but during the day they seem surprised to see anyone in residence.
The Inkafe Restaurant is decorated with colonial artifacts including a large antique cast iron stove where breakfast omelets are prepared. The Peruvian and International menu features alpaca and other local specialties. It is the only viable dining option in the area.
When tour groups arrive, handicraft vendors display their wares in the hotel's main plaza in front of the church and the small shops around the plazas open. Several times a week minibuses touring the Sacred Valley descend on the hotel for the &Andean fair&338; featuring musicians, artisans, and handicraft vendors along with a luncheon buffet featuring typical food served in the open–air pavilion. Overheard on a fair day, &I wish we were staying here. It is so peaceful and beautiful.&
Catching the train to Machu Picchu entails a 30–minute ride to the station in Ollantaytambo. And while the staff will arrange tours this is a place to spend a couple days relaxing and acclimatizing. There is little to do in the Yucay other than blend in with the local community but for those wishing to experience the serenity of the Sacred Valley the Sonesta Posada del Inca Yucay is the best option.
Web Address: www.sonestaperu.com
Total Number of Rooms: 84
Published rates: $100 to 165
Review and photos by Sandra Scott.