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“I could return over and over again!”
Review of Hotel El Refugio

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Hotel El Refugio
Ranked #9 of 15 Hotels in Colca Canyon
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
37 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“I could return over and over again!”
Reviewed 18 August 2009

Really liked the hotel! Am a seasoned traveller and have stayed in quite a few boutique hotels and El Refugio is definitely one of the better hotels I've stayed at.

Didn't know what to expect because it was a new hotel. We arrived the day after a large tour group checked out but the staff had already cleaned the entire hotel and it was spic-and-span upon our arrival. We felt like we were the first guests too because everything was so nice and clean! The rooms were very spacious and the panoramic view of the canyon walls from the dining room - magnificent! The food was excellent too. We saw the chef fish our trout right out of the river running through the hotel grounds.

The hotel organised a trip to see the condors for us in the morning and we had a comfortable ride there in a 4X4 and the condors were a sight to behold. And my favourite part of the hotel was the outdoor thermal bath filled with natural hot spring water. It made for a very luxurious soak after the day's activities and a great wake-up at 6am in the morning.

I really enjoyed my stay at El Refugio and would tell all my friends to stay there if they have the chance.

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank mysterymeatballs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Lima Peru
Level 4 Contributor
20 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 August 2009

We travelled with kids and in our own 4x4. We planned to stay 5d/4n for a leisurely visit to the Colca canyon and sights. We first booked at Pozo del Cielo due to the good reviews. But returning from the condor lookout we decided to stop by El Refugio and loved it, so we spent our last 2 nights here.

We loved: the gardens, the 2 rivers flowing right next to it including the Colca river itself and a smaller river cascading into it, the deep canyon location, the thermal baths (at half the price and in a more natural environment than in the more pricey options), the warmer weather compared to Pozo del Cielo (which is higher up), the white down comforters, the high pressure hot water, the wooden floors in huge rooms, the fact it was not popular and that we shared the premises with at the most one other party,

Our kids loved the 5am and 6pm trout fishing (accompanied by the hotel one man show who told us the complete fishing equipment had been lost the day before and ran to town to buy some fishing gear for us), the 8pm hot (38C) thermal bath house, the white fluffy bathrobes (which I have only seen in five star hotels at 3 times the price).

Being a birdwatcher I loved the views of raptors, andean swifts and the giant hummingbird visiting a nearby cactus and letting me photograph it at a distance of 5 meters.

Now for the not so good side. Yes, it is a work in progress (as is Peru itself), yes the steps leading down to it are quite a few, but my 75 year old father in law made it back and forth with no problems and he is not from the mountains. Peru is a rugged country folks, and to visit the nicer places you need to put a little bit of effort. The steps are at any rate fewer than the ones you need to walk to reach the condor lookout and the incredible canyon location and the thermal baths waiting for you make the effort quite worthwhile. Yes, the number of staff is low so you have to be patient, but ask for some wine or a beer and enjoy the warm central fire while they get up to speed.

Hope this helps get this hotel up to speed as the reviews may have been while it was indeed under construction. It has come a long way since and it is a great place to stay if you are spending a couple of nights in the Colca canyon.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Latin_Btraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 July 2009

This hotel is worthy of it's 4 star rating. We were the only guests on our first night and the staff ensured that we had everything we wanted - we would have eaten in the restaurant but it was extremely cold - very little heating in the main building, although our room was very cosy. It has a hot spring bath which is very relaxing although you do have a number of steps to negotiate to get to it. The only downside to this hotel is that it is extremely isolated and the number of steps and gradient from the car park is very daunting.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank LynMWales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 4 August 2008

Hotel El Refugio is sold by the travel agents as the only 4* option in the village of Chivay (Canyon de Colca). Unfortunately the hotel is recently built and has been opened ahead of schedule. It does not live up to even basic expectations you could have on a 4* hotel.

For example:
- The hotel is still in contruction, which means that construction workers roam the hotel area (gardens, pools etc).
- The rooms miss basic equipment such as TV, telephone, and wardrobes.
- Our room did not have hot water functioning (although it seems to have worked in other rooms). The lack of telephone in the room made it rather inconvinient to notify the staff of the problem.
- The hotel staff looks and acts more as construction security guards rather than smart dressed / attent hotel staff.

Also, the hotel is located approximately 8km from the village of Chivay, and the last 500m are a gravel road in so bad conditions so taxis refuse to drive all the way down to the hotel.

When staying in this hotel we also had the following (very unpleasant) experience:
The hotel arranged transport to the village of Chivay in order for us to visit the thermal baths. After having dinner in the village we took a taxi (around 21:30) back to the hotel. The access road was then closed by a locked chain, resulting in that the had to walk the last 500m in complete darkness.
Halfway down we were met by barking guard dogs, which scared us and made further advancement impossible. It was not until we had been able to call the hotel reception from our mobile phone, that someone came out and called back the dogs so that we could continue the walk to our rooms.

As a summary I am very disappointed at the service and installations of this hotel. Do not let the 4 stars fool you, you are far better off in a lower rated hotel in the village of Chivay.

  • Disliked — Unprofessional staff, lack of basic equipment in the room, Bad access road more or less forces you to stay in the hotel
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank GlobetrotterSpain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel El Refugio

Property: Hotel El Refugio
Address: Putuco | carretera rural a Cabanaconde, 54, Peru
Region: Peru > Arequipa Region > Colca Canyon
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 15 Hotels in Colca Canyon
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel El Refugio 3*
Number of rooms: 35
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
“El Refugio.” What comes to your mind when you think of those words? Perhaps, a place of security, a safe haven, a sanctuary, a shelter, a retreat, or a place where you can call your own? That is exactly what you get at hotel “El Refugio”. Our motto “In contact with nature”, describes the very setting of the hotel. We are located in the majestic and beautiful Valley Colca. “El Refugio” is bordered by mountains that acts like a retreat and it is situated at the edge of the Colca River that the rainbow trout calls home. El Refugio” is a four star hotel with bungalow type dwellings in a rustic setting that tries to capture the very essence of nature itself. The hotel contains elements like wood, stones, and thatched roof that make it a part of nature. This is to convey a natural setting that will help you to relax and enjoy your time. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Refugio Hotel

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