Early on, I would have given this hotel an "Excellent" rating--particularly for the money. Then I stayed for four nights--and some noteworthy shortcomings reduced my opinion of the hotel markedly.
First the good parts.
The top rated TripAdvisor hotel in Cusco charges over $700 a night for a room; here, a room is $55 a night. And given that disparity, your $55 buys quite a room. Clean, quiet, and nicely fitted--the brand new bathroom even has a phone in there--and the carpet, duvet, and bedding is top notch. I likely had the worst room in the hotel, the one Priceline bidders or travel agents or airline crew usually get--right next to the elevator and facing the street from the second floor, and still the room was quiet. WiFi is free, and you get what you pay for--rarely worked, so nearly worthless. There was an odd smell in the bathroom--a strong cleaning solvent smell--throughout the stay. But on the balance, this room could be twice the price, and you'd still find it a good value.
Coca tea (to ward off the ill effects of altitude, as Cusco is over 11,000 feet above sea level) is available in the lobby courtyard around the clock, and the included breakfast is a buffet in a dining room adjacent. I stayed in four hotels during my Peru trip, and this was my least favorite breakfast--watery eggs, toast, pastries, yogurt.
Location is good, though not optimal. Cusco is breathtaking in every sense of the word, and I was panting throughout my stay. The main plaza, Plaza de Armas, is three blocks uphill--seems everything in Cusco is uphill in both directions--and the street leading there was torn up during my visit.
What were the major drawbacks? First off, this hotel has the earliest checkout time I've seen in 43 countries traveled. . .8:00am. Really. When I tried to get it to be later, was told 9:00am, which is still ridiculous. Finally, after having pitched a fit, I got them to agree to 10:00am. Still too early. I am not sure what is prompting such an early checkout (My other hotels in Peru did not have such an early checkout time) but an 8:00am checkout is decidedly customer-unfriendly.
The second problem also involved the front desk. My tour to Machu Picchu would leave at 4am, so I went to bed early (a little after 9p), so to be well rested for what would be the highlight of the trip. Remarkably, the phone rang at 10p in my room--it was the front desk reminding me that the tourbus would be waiting at 4a, and the agent continued to ask if I wanted a wake-up call. Needless to say, I had trouble getting back to sleep, and left for my tour with only a few hours of poor quality sleep on account of being awakened by a rather clueless front desk agent. If there were ever a reason to use the phone message light, this would be it--rather than to call a guest at 10p to remind him of a 4a pickup 6 hours hence. To add insult to injury, I complained at the front desk later in my stay, and asked the GM to call me to let him/her of this situation. There was no follow up.
So, Los Portales is a lovely hotel with a facility with rooms that could go for far more money--and a staff and set of policies that seems often tonedeaf. Consider all of this if you choose this hotel. As for me, I'm still waiting for an apology, and given my problems at the hotel, I cannot recommend it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our hotel is a few steps from the historic and financial center of Cusco. We are located in front of the Temple of the Sun “Koricancha” and just four blocks from the Main Square. Los Portales Cusco Hotel is your best choice to enjoy the archaeological Capital of America or do business on El Sol Avenue, the main street passing through downtown. Los Portales Cusco is a comfortable hotel with services suitable to the needs of the modern traveler. Our restaurant offers a complete breakfast buffet and a selective menu of national and international food. ... more less
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