We really liked this hotel. The location is perfect, less than a 10 minute walk from the Plaza de Armas, the Convent de Santo Domingo/Qorikancha, the cultural theater (local dance performance) on the one side and the Plaza San Francisco and local wet market (great place to visit) on the other side. San Blas is also within walking distance. This hotel is apparently new as our driver/guide knew about the other Tierra Viva’s but were not familiar with this one. Down the street, just off the Av. Del Sol next to the Banco Nationale is the Etapoy restaurant, the best place in town for the local version of BBQ chicken according to our local guide (it was indeed very good, with a nice salad bar). You won’t find any tourists inside. (Look for the sign over the front door that says “Pollos a la Brasa.”)
The hotel is a renovated old hacienda. They have preserved the interior courtyard which is a quiet haven away from the bustling street scene outside. The hotel has 3 floors, but we did not see an elevator. Our triple room had a loft with a bed and small fridge upstairs. The fridge held two Cokes, two Inca-Colas and two beers, all of which was complimentary. They also provided two bottles of water per day (you can buy extras from the front desk). The main room had a huge king bed with good white sheets and an alpaca-silk throw that my wife used as a scarf during the day. She liked it a lot but the hotel would charge US$200 to sell it. If you look at the hotel through Google street-view, you’ll see they preserved the original windows with wrought iron railings and wooden shutters. On the inside of the shutters, a new double-pane glass door has been installed which seals out the street noise and exhaust pollution. Unfortunately, those wooden shutters only open inward (because of the iron railing) so your only choice is to have the window completely closed or completely open (i.e., no privacy curtain). After opening the window once to look outside we never opened it again. That was OK because the room was well lighted and spacious (due to the loft) so we never felt closed-in. Towels are soft and thick. Bathrobes were provided during our second stay but not the first, not sure why. Wifi works well. Electric outlets are dual use -- they accept both U.S. 3-prong (grounded) plugs as well as European dual-prong round plugs. Voltage is 220. There are plenty around the room for everyone to charge up their iphones/pads/laptops. There’s an in-room safe that’s too small for a laptop or maybe even an iPad – only a Kindle and your documents. We had so much trust in the staff that we had no qualms leaving our laptop in the room. There’s a water boiler and some teas in the room.
The breakfast room is very pleasant and overlooks the interior courtyard. Breakfast starts at 5am and includes scrambled eggs, a sausage that varies from day to day, and some very good tamales, all of which are kept warm and moist in heated clay pots. As mentioned by other reviewers, the food tends to run out from time to time but there’s a staff person assigned to the room who will replenish whatever is needed when asked. There are fresh fruits, usually including mangos, and juices including some exotic local blends. Decaf coffee is instant Nescafe – they keep a jar of it out so you just make it yourself. There is also a selection of local breads and pastries. Just outside is the business center with two desktops and a printer. It worked fine to print boarding passes – you just have to check that the printer USB cable is plugged into the computer that you’re using.
We had a typical itinerary which called for a couple days in Cusco, followed by a night at Machu Picchu, then a night back in Cusco. There was no problem storing our big luggage at the Tierra Viva and when we returned, they were already in our room. Checkout is at 9am which we found out at 9:30 am when I asked. They were pretty calm about it and just asked us to be out by 10:30 as they needed to prepare the room for new guests.
As mentioned by other reviewers, the staff is very friendly and helpful in a genuine way. Things don’t work 100% right at this hotel, e.g., they forgot to replenish the water bottles one day and the triple room only had two sets of towels. But any such minor issues are cheerfully and quickly resolved.
They key thing about this hotel is it feels very homey. There are only 20 rooms so it is intimate and personal. When you walk in through the stone arch at the front entrance, you truly feel welcome, secure and like you’re back at “your” place. We would definitely stay here again.
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