208 Saenz Peña, Lima, Peru
Barranco, the hottest neighborhood in Lima, now has another boutique hotel option, but booking the right room is key.
Casa Republica Barranco opened in December 2018, after a $5 million renovation of a mansion which was built in the 1920s, this stately, elegant boutique hotel is a welcome addition to the accommodation scene in Lima's artsy and increasingly sophisticated Barranco neighborhood.
The hotel has no traditional lobby. Instead, guests enter into the home's original entrance hall which has been outfitted with a small desk and sitting area. Four rooms are accessed off the entrance hall cum lobby with four more rooms upstairs. This means that all ground level rooms in the original mansion open onto the lobby.
Some international flights arrive in the Lima airport at midnight meaning guests may be checking in at 1 am (I did). Even more likely is that guests will be returning to the hotel in the wee hours after enjoying the neighborhood's many restaurants and bars. If you're a light sleeper, opt for a room on the second floor of the mansion or in the new wing in the back garden.
The eight rooms in the original mansion include junior suites and much smaller rooms. The smaller rooms on the ground floor feel very cramped despite a small attached patio space. One of the small ground floor rooms is also located under the staircase to the second floor which creaks with every step.
In phase 2, another 14 rooms debuted in a new building built around the back garden of the mansion. These rooms include a handful of 430 square-foot suites and more economical 250 square-foot rooms. If space, quiet, amenities like a bathtub, and the ambiance of the original mansion are important to you, book one of the junior suites in the original building. Another reason to book any one of the suites? Only the suites include the hotel's bathrobes, which are that rare combination of perfect weight and perfect fit.
Many original elements of the 1920s mansion were retained during the renovation, including an enormous light fixture that still hangs over the entrance hall. The metal light fixture is surprisingly modern in design, as is the art that now fills the hotel. The hotel's collection was curated by a group of young Peruvian artists called Art Plaza and the pieces include paintings, sketches, and works in fabric that were chosen as a reflection of Lima's personality. Some also hang in the library lounge, where you can settle in with a book.
The hotel's roof offers an al fresco bar and views of the nearby Pacific. An intimate room on the roof will be used for private dinners for up to 10 people once the hotel kitchen is fully up to speed. During my visit, only breakfast for hotel guests was being offered, in the courtyard garden area and included in the rates. But you won't go hungry in the meantime. Barranco is home to some of the most acclaimed restaurants in Latin America including Isolina, the new incarnation of well-known Central, and Kjolle, from Central co-founder chef Pia Leon.
One of the neighborhood's chicest shops is right across the street from the hotel and area museums include collections of colonial art, modern art, and the photography of Peruvian fashion and celebrity photographer Mario Testino. Take advantage of the hotel's bikes, which are available to guests who want to explore all that the Barranco neighborhood has to offer, and plan to spend a few days. Just choose your room wisely when you book it.
Web Address: www.casarepublica.com
Total Number of Rooms: 22
Rates: $190 to $300 including full breakfast
Review by Karen Catchpole. All photos courtesy of Casa Republica Barranco.