Monasterio is an impressive hotel, a remodelled historic building with an exquisite central courtyard, a lush lobby and overall great service, as you'd expect given its price tag.
Its standard rooms, however, are quite disappointing. They barely have enough space to walk around the bed (reminding us of standard rooms in Manhattan), and the WiFi once you're inside is practically useless.
And though the service is alright, they lack the attention to detail one expects from a hotel of this category and price. For example, the one night we were planning to sleep in, we were woken up at 6am by the room's alarm clock, which was so difficult to silence we had to disconnect it after pressing every damn button on the thing. Obviously, it was set by the previous guest, and the hotel staff forgot to reset it. Typical blunder in most hotels, but it shouldn't happen here. Another example proves this is not an isolated incident: we asked the concierge to help us contact our airline, since we needed to change our flight. He was unable to contact them immediately given their awful contact center, so he promised to keep trying and to transfer the call to our room when he succeeded. He obviously forgot. A while later, we went to the lobby, connected to Skype and made the call ourselves without much trouble. Afterwards we talked to him about something else and he didn't even bring up the subject.
Now, appart from the hotel itself, there's a fascinating bit of history we learned from several locals, which speaks of the Hotel Management and the way they behave in Cusco. Everyone knows this place used to be a Monastery, but only locals remember that during a remodelling that was necessary after an earthquake, more than 700 fetuses were discovered, buried under the building's floors. They revealed that priests had been raping nuns for decades and performing horrendous abortions so they could bury their sins and continue to rape more and more innocent nuns. Many locals we talked to (we're native Spanish speakers) even remember a bronze placard that told the entire story, which was placed by a Mayor of the city at the entrance of the building so no one would forget the shameful events that took place here. But when Orient Express made it one of their hotels, the placard and they story *vanished*. What's most interesting is that EVERY ONE of the four locals who confirmed the story, warned us that the Hotel could not find out it was them who had told us. They said the hotel would trace them and use their power as Cusco's most influential establishment to put them out of business. Tour guides, restaurant owners, artisans, construction workers... they all feared Monasterio's staff. It's sad and shocking to see that Orient Expres has not only conserved the original Monasterio's architecture and decor, but also the Priests' general attitude towards history.
With this in mind, if below this review you find a note from hotel management denying everything, take it as a confirmation of its veracity.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Right beside the lively Cusco central square is Belmond Hotel Monasterio, a former monastery and national monument dating from 1592. This delightful retreat combines centuries-old charm with luxury hotel service, inspired restaurants and boutique rooms and suites-all clustered around a tranquil central courtyard. The ideal hotel from which to discover the delights of Cusco, its doors open to a vibrant scene of old and modern architecture, markets, galleries and restaurants serving 'new Andean' cuisine. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Monasterio Hotel Cusco
- Hotel Monasterio