Imagine a city nestled in the heart of the Andes with llamas and luxury hotels in equal measure, a place where women swathed in elaborate traditional garb cradling baby goats perch outside highend boutiques, and where some of the world’s finest examples of Spanish colonial architecture sit in contrast to rugged mountain peaks. This is Cusco, Peru.
Once a backpacker haven used as a precursory stop before the trek to Machu Picchu, this vibrant Peruvian city, the former crown jewel of the Inca Empire, is re-establishing itself as a world-class destination.
The JW Marriott El Convento Cusco might be the most perfect example of the new face of Cusco, where history meets modernity. Built atop Incan ruins and housed in a meticulously restored 16th-century convent, the property serves as both a five-star hotel and a museum. Enter through the 500-year-old arched entranceway and check in, while marvelling at an orb of 70,000 Swarovski crystals, designed in homage to the Incan sun god, shimmering behind the front desk. Rooms feature myriad comforts of home, plus 24-hour room service and oxygen-enriched air to help combat the effects of the region’s high altitude.
Once you’ve acclimatized in the lap of luxury, you’ll find no shortage of activities to fill your days in Cusco, from exploring the narrow streets of this UNESCO World Heritage site to embarking on day trips through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu, and the equally bucket-list-worthy Maras salt mines. Evenings are best savoured back in Cusco, pisco sour in hand, at one of the city’s many top-shelf restaurants.
Its proximity to Machu Picchu may be the selling point that initially draws you to Cusco, but you’ll quickly realize there’s much to marvel at in this city of contrasts—this is one honeymoon destination that promises to leave you enchanted.–
clockwise from top: Enjoy stunning views of the Andes; Surround yourself in history in the JW Marriott’s courtyard; Sip coca tea on the patio to start your day; Luxe rooms feature traditional textiles; Machu Picchu is a must; Delight in dinner at Pirqa Restaurant; Take time to meet the locals.