Oasis in the Sacred Valley (Tambo Del Inka Review)

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by Quasiconvexity, May 25, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Quasiconvexity
    Original Member

    Quasiconvexity Gold Member

    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1,784
    Status Points:
    1,020
    We had an absolutely incredible stay at the Tambo Del Inka towards the end of March and I am only getting around to posting the review at this time. To sum up our experience, this is a beautiful property located in an incredibly beautiful setting, and has hands down the most wonderful staff we have ever had the chance to interact with at any hotel in our stays worldwide.

    Background: We had been planning a trip to the Sacred Valley for a while and with the Tambo Del Inka coming up, decided to use it as our base for exploring the Sacred Valley. We travelled to Peru in the end of March, which was towards the end of the rainy season. The weather was gorgeous during our entire time there, and we also benefited from the absence of many tourists who usually come in over the Summer (in North America). There was plenty of C&P availability for our entire stay there - we divided our visit into two separate stays, the first (3 nights) on C&P, and the second (2 nights) under a special package rate, that included breakfast, round-trip airport transfers from Cusco as well as a complimentary Coca Leaf treatment at the Spa. In between the two stays, we spent 4 days hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu. While there was C&P availability for the second set of days as well, I decided to book the package given that we were planning to make use of all these amenities in any case and the overall package seemed to be a reasonable value (in comparison to using C&P for the room and paying for the rest of the services). Note that the prices listed on the website usually include the 19% tax that only Peruvian natives need to pay.

    Location/Transport: The hotel is located in Urubamba which is in the Sacred Valley and about an hour or so from Cusco airport. The hotel provides round-trip transportation to Cusco for US $80 each way in the hotel car. Alternatively, the hotel arranges for one of the local cab drivers to transport you to Cusco for ~US $35 each way (95 soles). The drive from Cusco to Urubamba is beautiful and takes about an hour to get to (slightly longer if there is lots of traffic in Cusco). It is a good base for exploring much of the sacred valley - we engaged a car+driver (arranged through the hotel) for one day for a Sacred Valley tour (Chinchero, Moray and Maras) and paid around 80 USD for the same - the tour was great but the driver unfortunately turned out to speak very little english. Ollantaytambo is a short drive away (~30 min) and the main bus/van station in Urubamba is about a 10 min walk from the hotel. Vans depart at short intervals to Ollantaytambo and are quite inexpensive (around 6 Soles each way, IIRC). The location was also perfect for starting the Inca Trail trek to Machu Pichu, as all trekkers start the trek from Km 82 of the Highway, and you shave an hour or more off your commute to Km 82 by starting from Urubamba, as opposed to starting from Cusco (which is where all trek groups start). If you are interested in taking the train to Machu Pichu, the hotel does have its own train station from which you can take a direct train to Aguas Calientes (Machu Pichu is a ~25 min bus ride from there). I believe this train service runs once a day in each direction. Ollantaytambo has trains leaving for Aguas Calientes frequently though. The town of Urubamba itself doesnt have much to offer in terms of sights.

    Room: The check-in process was very smooth and we were seated and given cups of Coca tea from the Coca tea station in the lobby (this is available throughout the day and is a good way to get used to the altitude). The lobby area is beautiful and has plenty of comfortable seating. It looks especially spectacular at night once the fireplace is turned on (pictures below). We arrived around 11a and the hotel had arranged a nice suite for us (Room 241, I think) which was ready to be occupied. The suite had a large living room with a DVD player/TV, a couch, a dining table and a loveseat by the window. The french doors open out to the yard, which had great views and also very comfortable recliners for seating. We enjoyed a leisurely cup of coffee in the morning here every day. The decor in the room (as with the rest of the hotel) was luxurious but understated, and blended well with the surroundings, with touches of local flavor. The bedroom has a small dressing room, and a very comfortable bed.

    Room Service/Dining: We ordered lunch using room service the first day as we were too tired to venture out, and opted for a couple of sandwiches (pics below). Twhich were around US $13 each (all prices inclusive of VAT and other charges). The sandwiches were good but not spectacular. We didnt eat in the hotel restaurant except for the last couple of days when we had the buffet breakfast (which was included in the rate, and is otherwise US $22 or 1650 starpoints. Continental breakfast runs $14) which was excellent, both in variety and quality (some of the items like hot dogs seemed unusual as a breakfast choice). The made-to-order omelettes and quinoa pancakes were especially good. We also ate and had cocktails in the hotel bar on our last night, and it was a great setting to unwind. On the concierge's recommendation, we ate dinner at Tros Keros (a short walk from the hotel; turn left once you exit and you will see it on your right eventually) and the food was outstanding (highly recommend the Avocado salad). We also ate a few times at one of the cafes near the main square (its name escapes me at the moment) and the food there was really good as well, with plenty of good vegetarian options (veggie burgers were ~$6).

    Spa: Our package included a spa treatment for two: coca exfoliation followed by a 45 minute massage. The entire treatment lasted for about 90 minutes and was incredibly relaxing. The spa has a very serene setting and the masseuses did a terrific job of working on resuscitating our sore muscles (we had just returned from the Inca Trail hike the day before). After our treatment, we relaxed on the heated recliners for over an hour sipping pisco sours - it doesnt get much better! PM me if you would like to take a look at the spa brochure (not sure how I can attach/post a link to it in this post)

    Staff: I cannot complete this review without mentioning the absolutely wonderful staff that work in this resort - each and every request that we had was met with a smile, and we were very favorably impressed with each and every interaction we had. Before our visit, I corresponded extensively with the Concierge desk (mainly Erika), especially given that we had a somewhat complex itinerary with our stays broken into two parts and had to coordinate for airport pickup etc. Every email was responded to very promptly. A couple of examples of the ways in which the staff excelled: when we were picked up from the airport, we requested a small detour in order to pick up some hiking gear from Cusco. The hotel graciously arranged it with the driver and we ended up making a one-hour stop on the way, at no extra charge. We stayed at the resort on my birthday and my wife called the front desk to see if they could arrange for a cake to be sent up - Alan, one of the room service staff members, came up around 1130 and did a fantastic job of setting up cake and champagne. After the first part of our stay, we left our bags behind with the bellman and left on the Inca Trail trek. When we got back 4 days later and checked in, the hotel had already assigned us to the same suite we had before, and had thoughtfully placed our bags in the room already. We didnt even have to check in! In fact, all the staff members we met when we got back greeted us with "Welcome Home" and it really did feel like we were back home (after 4 days of sleeping in the wilderness). Everyone is very proud to be working for the hotel and for Starwood - of course, we did go in the lean season so there werent as many guests around and we got a lot of personalized attention...but I am sure service would be great in the peak season as well.

    In all, this was a fantastic start to our vacation and we cant wait to get back already! This is a true gem and a great addition to the portfolio of properties that SPG has - having access to properties like these is what keeps us loyal to SPG - hope the Palacio Del Inka gets to be part of the program soon (current estimate is around July 2012).
     
    traveler and Chad like this.
  2. Quasiconvexity
    Original Member

    Quasiconvexity Gold Member

    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1,784
    Status Points:
    1,020
  3. Quasiconvexity
    Original Member

    Quasiconvexity Gold Member

    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1,784
    Status Points:
    1,020
    View from the room and outside seating area

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    traveler likes this.
  4. Quasiconvexity
    Original Member

    Quasiconvexity Gold Member

    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1,784
    Status Points:
    1,020
    Room Service

    [​IMG]
     
    traveler likes this.
  5. Quasiconvexity
    Original Member

    Quasiconvexity Gold Member

    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1,784
    Status Points:
    1,020
    Lobby and Hotel surroundings

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    traveler likes this.
  6. Quasiconvexity
    Original Member

    Quasiconvexity Gold Member

    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1,784
    Status Points:
    1,020
    Platinum Amenity (local gift) and turndown chocolates

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    traveler and sagefemme52 like this.
  7. Skye1
    Original Member

    Skye1 Silver Member

    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    624
    Status Points:
    720
    Ah, JUST finished a quick review over on Flyertalk, noting several glowing reports there already, and having a simiarly amazing stay at this beautiful property, with it's truly, amazing staff. I couldn't agree more with the above commentary, that the staff here have GOT to be some of the most friendly, helpful staff encountered in any hotel worldwide.
    In that thread are a few interesting discussions on options for doing Machu Picchu as a day-trip, for those unable to get permits for an Inca Trail trek.
     
  8. GeneCMH
    Original Member

    GeneCMH Silver Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    51
    Status Points:
    175
    Looks nice. I've yet to get down to Peru, but its on the list :) Thanks for sharing!
     
  9. Skye1
    Original Member

    Skye1 Silver Member

    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    624
    Status Points:
    720
    Quasiconvexity's photos are spot on. The second floor rooms (whilst obviously not having a patio per se) give you bay windows (with couches int he middle) and HUGE vaulted ceilings. Gosh, i miss this place already.....
     
    Quasiconvexity likes this.
  10. Quasiconvexity
    Original Member

    Quasiconvexity Gold Member

    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    1,784
    Status Points:
    1,020
    Thanks - we miss this place as well. Really tempted to spend our FRNs here!
     
  11. sagefemme52
    Original Member

    sagefemme52 Silver Member

    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    100
    Status Points:
    310
    We had a four night stay here last month. I heartily agree with the previous glowing/positive comments. The property is drop dead gorgeous in my opinion, especially the interiors. The landscaping with time will mature and probably be the equal of the interiors, but the property is still quite new.

    The staff here absolutely are the frosting on the cake. Nothing was too much trouble. We had amazing assistance from the concierge staff, they for four days straight (multiple times a day),called Lan Peru, attempting to help us with a lost bag. Restaurants Tres Keros in the town and Blue Llama in Pisac were both recommended by the concierge, and we even had salads at each, based on reassurances by the concierge as far as raw veggies being safe at both places. Our stay was a cash and points stay, and so breakfast was not included. We found that ordering one American breakfast each morning from room service provided more than enough food for two people. We had dinner in the dining room our first night, the food was fantastic, some of it sourced from their own organic garden, and very reasonably priced.

    Staff inquired numerous times about how we were feeling, especially our first couple of days, and we were offered coca tea several times. The altitude here is 9,420ft and so it can clearly affect one, and it is important to plan to acclimatize. As a reminder of this, one day we did see an emergency response vehicle at the front entrance to the hotel. My first night I had nausea, a headache and some shortness of breath, but the symptoms were gone by the next morning.

    We opted to use the hotel as our base for travel to Machu Picchu (and that included the hike up Huayna Picchu), it worked out well for us. While we could have taken the train right from the hotel, we opted to drive to Olllantaytambo, where there were more train departures to choose from than in Urubamba. While a long day with a departure at 06:40 and a return to Ollantaytambo at 20:40, it was wonderful to be back at the hotel by 21:00, order room service and then soak in a nice hot bath. On a side note, it was clear we were some of the rare hotel guests that traveled independently. We had a rental car, and on three of the four nights, our car was the only one in the hotel parking lot.

    Recently I have had a chance to stay at four different Luxury Collection hotels, in three different countries, this by far was a superior experience in comparing our other stays to this one. It was without question one of the nicest stays I have had with Starwood or at any hotel for that matter. I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel.
     

Share This Page