Home to some of the most audacious scenery, individual hotels and adventure opportunities in Latin America, Peru calls out to be explored in style.
CITY SLICKER – LIMA
Right on the Pacific coast, Lima is one of South America’s largest cities, and – after Cairo – it is the world’s second driest. It’s also world-famous for its food scene – think quinoa, ceviche and creole creations – and its museum scene, especially the Museo Larco collection of Pre-Columbian art and the Museo de la Nación, which focuses on Peru’s ancient civilisations. It’s tempting to arrive and make a beeline for Machu Picchu or the Amazon, but stay a while and you’ll discover just why the city has the moniker ‘City of Kings’.
JW MARRIOTT HOTEL LIMA
Just as you’d expect, the JW Marriott Hotel Lima offers superior service, comfortable surroundings and a good location in the Miraflores district, an area known for its fine dining, historic sites and well-designed public spaces. Many of the guest rooms come with ocean views, marble bathrooms and decent thread-count bedding while both Peruvian restaurants here come highly acclaimed.
This is also a perfect location from which to explore the Huaca Pucllana ruins, which lie just a few minutes away. It’s believed that this historic ceremonial centre was built in 500 AD, and following restorations – when artefacts and the odd mummy were discovered – it is illuminated for visitors at night. Miraflores is also home to many of the city’s green spaces. Get initiated with the nearby Peruvian parks too at El Malecón, a six-mile stretch of parkland, situated along the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean.
BELMOND MIRAFLORES PARK
Set in one of Lima’s most stylish areas, the Belmond Miraflores Park makes for a chic introduction to Peru. Renowned for its lush garden location, right by the Pacific Ocean, here you’ll find a heated rooftop pool with enviable views of Lima and the sea. Recently, the hotel has launched new cycling tours of the Miraflores area; these can be guided or are complimentary when unguided. The hotel can also arrange bohemian tours of the nearby Barranco arts district to help you get the most out of your stay. During the tours, art lovers explore the museum of Pedro de Osma, the works of Mario Testino at MATE, Las Pallas Art Gallery and the home of artist Víctor Delfín.
After a busy day sightseeing, it is a treat to retreat to the Zest Spa at the hotel, which offers a range of treatments that combine ancient techniques with organic Peruvian ingredients. The Zest Freestyle is the signature massage and is just the thing for jet-lagged souls. Other top spa treatments to test are the Spa Marine Scrub and the Gold Wrap (incorporating golden algae, renowned for its intense anti-ageing properties).
Hotel B is a chic boutique choice in one of Lima’s best neighbourhoods, Barranco, which has tree-lined streets and different styles of architecture. Home also to the art district, if you like your stay to have a touch of bohemian class about it, then this is the place for you. Surrounded by galleries and artists’ studios, Hotel B is home to a unique art collection of its own and is linked directly to the Lucia de la Puente Gallery, where guests can enjoy private viewings. There’s plenty of history to get your head around too. Originally a historic manor house built in 1914, today the two-storey mansion still feels intimate and like a home. The afternoon tea suggests an earlier time too, with its elegant service. It’s a bit how you’d imagine 1920s Lima to be. The hotel is also right on the Pacific, so the views are different every hour of the day as the sun rises and dips. To relax, hotel staff will happily run you a bubble bath to suit and there are in-room massages on offer too.
Try to coincide a visit with the annual Mistura Food Festival that happens every year in September. One of the largest culinary festivals on the South American continent, over half a million people visit to experience some of Peru’s most famous chefs in one place.