After many excited calls (on my own dime) and detailed emails to the Hotel Torre Dorada, I felt certain that I had planned out everything and my trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu would be absolutely perfect without any issues. Well, as we all know...that's not how real life works sometimes.
I had 5 days of travel throughout Lima and small villages before flying in to Cusco on a Saturday morning. The driver was waiting for us at the Cusco airport, as promised, although he made us wait for about 30+ minutes while he looked for someone else that he thought was supposed to be in the van with us. Never found this person so we finally took off.
The hotel is a bit off the beaten path and is in a residentail neighborhood, out of the chaos of the Cusco city center. I liked that. They offer a somewhat random and semi-reliable car service to a certain point and then you are on your own after that to get into the town center.
Unfortunately, my stomach was starting to not feel so well the day before departing for Cusco, so upon arrival at the hotel, I let them know I was feeling a little sick to my stomach. They suggested I eat some chicken soup and relax for a bit before heading out on the first of several pre-planned private tours of the surrounding areas over the next few days. The hotel lobby was clean and decorated in simple yet culturally themed art. Very nice. We went through my detailed daily itinerary that I had built in the planning stages while sipping on coca leaf tea. Immediately, I felt a bit underwhelmed at the difference between how friendly these people had been on the phone with me so many times versus how they were acting when I finally got to meet them in person. They weren't rude, but just not as "warm" as I had imagined.
My friend and I hiked up to the second floor (with no offer to help from the front desk) and put our things away in our rooms. The rooms were very cute, very clean and well appointed. The bed was super comfortable and the bathroom was very clean. No issues there whatsoever.
After all the pre-planning phone calls I had with Monica and Marco before arriving, somehow the prices of my private tours seemed to change once I arrived. I asked why, and we went back and forth and I still ended up paying more than originally agreed upon. Hmmmm...
Secondly, by Saturday, I was feeling worse and they just honestly did not seem all that concerned. I had read other reviews that talk about how much they cared for them when they were feeling under the weather, buy honestly, I didn't seem to get any real sympathy out of them at all.
About the payment for the room and tours. This really frustrated me because after talking numerous times about the Machu Picchu train, bus and entrance tickets, we had agreed that they would front us the money to purchase these in advance and they would add the charges on to my room bill WHICH I WOULD BE ALLOWED TO PAY WITH MY CREDIT CARD.
No one seemed to know what the other person had said and no one had taken any notes on any of the phone calls I had with Marco or Monica. Even when I spoke directly to them, they seemed very flippant with me and brushed it off that we would take care of it at check out. Ok that works for me I guess??
By Sunday, I was feeling even worse and the only person who seemed to care was the sweet little woman in the kitchen. She was very sympathetic to my increasing intestinal issues and would offer me different kinds of tea to help as well as making me dry toast for breakfast. What a kind soul she was....and such a hard working woman.
The private tours were fantastic, though a bit confusing, as it seemed like they really didn't have any plan for our tours and thankfuly I am a research fanatic and I know enough Spanish to get by, so I pretty much directed our drivers each day as to where I wanted to go and when.
By Monday I was feeling really really bad but did not want to miss out on Machu Picchu so I decided to give it my all and make the trip. Not only did I feel horrible, but the trip itself was such a nightmare. I was HATING LIFE. By the time we got back to the hotel around 9:30pm on Monday night I was so sick I could hardly walk. Yet, this did not even elicit the SLIGHTEST BIT of concern by the front desk??
I was so sick that around 11:30pm I called down to the front desk and told them I needed help. A Doctor. Something. I needed help deserately. What Marco said, to my understanding was that he would have the Doctor come right over. What actually happened was, some woman in a suit along with two other women in nurse uniforms showed up in a taxi to take me to the local clinic/hospital. I was very nervous about this and asked my friend to come with me. None of the women spoke any English whatsoever.
After an extremely rough and bumpy taxi ride, we arrived in a dimly lit ALLEY, where a large metal door opened and we were told to get out of the cab. Ummmm ok? I was extremely nervous and having flashbacks of news stories about vacations going tragically bad.
Ended up being treated by the Peruvian equivalent of Doogie Houser (with BRACES AND ALL) and two nurses also in plain clothes who did not wear gloves when they were poking me with needles?!! No one spoke even one word of english and we were even use translators on our cell phones to communicate. I had to buy all my own drugs right there on site and even my own syringe before they would treat me. They wanted to keep me overnight and I said NO THANK YOU. The clinic smelled like it had been drenched in DIESEL which only made me sicker.
Was there for a few hours before being "released" and sent back to Hotel Torre Dorada in a cab.
Upon arrival, I wasn't even asked HOW ARE YOU FEELING? NOTHING. NOT A WORD??
The next day we were to check out and I was still so sick I told them to cancel my tour and asked if I could pay for half day use of my room. They denied my request because they had to clean for the next guest. They let me rest on a couch for the day. IT WAS AT THIS POINT they decided to let me know how much my balance due was on the bill and that THEY WOULD ONLY ACCEPT IT IN PERUVIAN SOLES. You're kidding right?? RIGHT?? They MADE ME GET UP and take a cab into town, as sick as a DOG, going to bank after bank and multiple ATMs to try to collect enough money in Soles to pay the bill, which INCLUDED all the Machu Picchu transportation which THEY PROMISED I would be able to charge on my CREDIT CARD.
The maximum withdrawl at ATM's in Peru is only $200 USD so I was stuck. After trying so many ATM's my bank cut off my card, for fear of fraudulent activity and I could not get cell service in the area I was at to call them to discuss.
I was LIVID. I was SO sick, SO weak...and the employees at Torre Dorada had not done ANYTHING to be helpful or kind to me.
I took a cab back to the hotel and the Owner was there waiting for me. She laid into me telling me that she would be personally charged a tax if she let me use my credit card. I told her that I WAS PROMISED my room bill balance and Machu Picchu transportation would be able to be charged on my credit card. Period. I had the emails to prove it. She actually discussed with Monica that perhaps ON MY WAY TO THE AIRPORT they would have the cab take me to the travel agent to pay for the Machu Picchu ticket there with my credit card with a 10% service fee added. I told them MAYBE THEY SHOULD HAVE INFORMED ME OF THESE SPECIFICS IN ALL THE CALLS and EMAILS before my trip or at the very least ONCE I ARRIVED AT THE HOTEL. I told her this was TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE and that it was beyond me why I could not just charge it to my credit card????? She very unhappily let me charge the remainder of my bill and we headed out to the airport.
Sorry for the rant - but on top of being unbelievably sick with a PARASITE, Torre Dorada made my Cusco experience so much worse than it ever had to be. Horribly inefficient. Unprofessional. Inconsistent communication and overall lack of concern or care for their very ill hotel guest.
Cute hotel. Good prices. Wonderful women in the kitchen. But I would NOT recommend anyone to stay here. I could not have been happier to get back to the USA. What a disappointment Peru was. I had SUCH high hopes for this trip. I had planned and researched and studied and put together what I believed was to be an incredibly wonderful and memorable trip. So sad how it all turned out. If Peru is not at the top of your bucket list, do not waste your time, energy or money. I have written several reviews on Machu Picchu and other attractions as well, in case you're interested.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in a quiet Residential area 10 minutes away from Main Plaza, Personalized and medical attention, We give advice on where to eat and tours in general according to your preference and we help you with any kind of problem that may arise during your stay in Cusco, airline and bus reservations, etc. We are your "home away from home" we provide FREE transportation to the Plaza, airport and bus terminals. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Torre Dorada Hotel
- Torre Dorada Cusco