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Reviewed 7 May 2013

We stayed at El Balcon and found our stay slightly disappointing. Our immediate impression was quite negative as the service we received in the front desk was very cold and unfriendly. Our room was clean and basic. It straddles the fine line between rustic and old. There was a loud party going on next door until late into the night which made for difficult sleeping. There was hot water, however, almost too hot and difficult to control. We enjoyed the balcony views and the morning breakfast was good.

Room Tip: Rooms on the second floor have better balcony views.
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank MarenT60864
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2013

This bed & breakfast is aptly named: I can't imagine a better view than the sweeping one of Cusco's central quarter, the neighborhoods climbing the surrounding mountains, and the mountains themselves, from the second story's balcony. The place itself is rustic, just the way you want your hotel in Cusco to be: lots of wood, roof beams that copy the ancient Inca tradition, floorboards that creak and remind you of Grandma's house, pre-hispanic artifacts of stone scattered around the garden, a faintly disorganized flower garden, benches scattered around that invite contemplation in the sun. Service is amazing--friendliest people on the planet, these Peruvians, and the staff of El Balcón do their country's fame justice. A lovely sunroom encased in glass--and which somehow manages to stay warm even at night--is open 24 hours a day and provides hot water for tea (coca, chamomile, anis), coffee, and boiled water to refill your water bottles. The woman in charge of the kitchen is totally adoptable as one's Peruvian grandma--knowledgeable, helpful, friendly, she'll provide guidance in terms of how many coca leaves to put in your tea, how much coca tea to drink during the day, how to deal with upset stomachs... You name it.

The cons? Well, that amazing view wouldn't happen at street level, would it? El Balcón is situated at the top of a hill... One that guests must climb on foot nowadays, because the street is being repaired and taxis will drop you off at the corner. It's not a huge walk, perhaps 5 minutes, but at 3,000 meters above sea level, it felt like an hour.

That brings me to the second con. Altitude sickness (soroche, as it's called in Perú) makes everything worse. If your stomach is slightly upset, with soroche you feel like you have dysentery. If you're cold, with soroche you feel like you've been stuck in the South Pole for five months--without boots. And El Balcón, with those tall ceilings of Inca engineering, has rooms that are hard to heat. They do come with an electric heater, but it took a while--hours--before the temperature in our room became doable at night. And the water in the shower takes its sweet time heating up.

Nevertheless, we'd go back in a jiffy. Perhaps not during the same season, sometime when the weather is less cold (we live in the Caribbean; cold hits us hard), and we'd definitely stay at El Balcón again.

Room Tip: If, like us, you have issues with cold weather, perhaps a room on the first floor with lower ceilings, rather than the second story and its fantastic balcony, is a better choice. The balcony is hard to give up, though.
  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Guilie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2013

After looking in over 8 hotels we find this special place. It's with internal garden. Looks better than the pictures. The view of the city is amazing and I was siting on the balcony for hours and see the deferent lights related the time. Excellent people and service. Recommended
Ofer

  • Stayed: March 2013
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Thank Oferalbeck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2013

We traveled in Peru just this month, and did the regular circuit of Andean Gems. We really liked El Balcon, the rooms were rustic, but working: hot water, fridge in the room,lovely balcony to watch the Sun come up. There is a great common area/room, open 24 hsr, with water,hot water for Coca tea, Coffee, and and a nice place to sit near the heater (as Cuzco can be cool in temperture). El Balcon is about a 5-10 minute walk to the El Centro, and thus makes it quieter, and the walk is nice (there is a hill). Rooms are not entirely sound proof to the next, but most people are very tired at the end of a high altitude day, and so off to bed early.

The breakfast at El Balcon was awsome, puffed corn cereal, with a nice creamy/liquidy yogurt you pour over the top, fresh wonderful fruit, lovely bread with butter and marmalade, fresh juice, and coffee (they do a coffee syrup, you had the boiling water, and they heat the leche for you, so it's good and hot), and then finally a couple lovely Andean eggs...this is included in the room cost

The staff were more than helpful, and we did our Machu Picchu tour with Moshinaga Travel, Danny (woman), met us upon our arrival, had all our tickets, passes, etc, ready, and it was like clock work. I normally don't do tour groups, as I'm afraid of being stuck with a bunch of people who I have nothing in common with, but given the location, I found that people had similar interests, and honestly, it would be time consuming (to locate good guide service) and more expensive to do it on your own completley.

So, in my travels of 18 countries, 4 Continents, and many poor travel decisions...this was a good one! Enjoy!

Joe P (San Fran USA)

Room Tip: Second floor balcony
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Joe P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2013

Pros:
-Nice house-rooms
-Small garden
-Great communal room
-Great staff
-Walking distance to plaza de Armas downhill
-Great balcony view
-Honest: they forgot to give us our change and made a wire to our bank the next day!!!

Cons:
-Uphill walk back to hotel
-Noise from the street for some rooms (13-14 for exemple)
-Rooms very unheavenly distributed- some big, some small, some smelly, some great
-Depending on your room, it can seem pricey

BEWARE!: Travel agent inside the hotel!!! "stole" or "obtained" my email address from the hotel and harrassed me via email to sell me tours before we arrived. This is an illegal pratice in Peru regulated by INDECOPI (consumers protection agency)

Overall: We enjoyed our stay. We had hot water, clean bed, great view. Would go back.

Room Tip: if sleep sensitive, avoid room 13-14 as they are noisy. Room 9 is small and a bit smelly.
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Mariehp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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