Hotel We Love: Aranwa Sacred Valley, Peru

The perfect place to acclimate to the altitude or refuel post-Machu Picchu hike.

The grounds of Aranwa Sacred Valley. Photography by Justin Harrington

As far as I have travelled and as many places as I have seen in the world, one of my favourite countries continues to be Peru. From my first visit in 2010 to my most recent trip last May, I can’t get enough of this South American country, the food (quinoa, anyone?), the language (I’m slowly honing my Spanish skills), the incredible scenery (I’ve hiked Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu twice) and the people (I’ve made many life-long friends on my trips).

One of the most magical and stunning places in Peru is the Sacred Valley. Renowned for it’s rich Inca heritage and history, once you find yourself in the middle of the Andes and next to the rumbling Urubamba River you will forget about anything else except the beauty and quietness of it all. The perfect place to take all of this incredible scenery and history? The Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel & Wellness next to the Vilcanota River. Just an hour from Cusco and 30 minutes from Ollantaytambo (where you catch the train into the village of Machu Picchu), this hotel is the best spot to refuel post-Machu Picchu hike, or before so you get fully acclimated to the altitude.

Here are some highlights about the Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel & Wellness.

My room at Aranwa Sacred Valley. Photography by Justin Harrington

The rooms:
The hotel has 115 rooms including 14 super spacious suites (you can opt for a garden view, or a mountain view at the back of the hotel). Most come with balconies as well, so you can soak up the Peruvian sun, and rain showers with skylights. To completely relax book yourself Suites de Rio, that overlooks the river and comes with a kitchenette dining room and fireplace.

Some art in the form of stained glass in the lobby of Aranwa Sacred Valley. Photography by Justin Harrington

The activities:
With the word “wellness” in the title, you might think that this is a technology-free zone. Not so. With an on-site movie theatre and free wireless internet on the property you won’t miss out on Instagraming, tweeting and checking email. Plus with an art gallery featuring some amazing Peruvian artists, a Catholic Temple (in case you’re looking to tie the knot in Peru) and a library filled with Peruvian art books, you won’t get bored.

Unno Spa:
The spa is the heart of this hotel and fits the wellness aspect. Boasting a hyperbaric chamber, hydrotherapy pools, Vichy shower treatment rooms, space for meditation, and even a large room with aromatherapy oxygen. The added bonus? Almost every treatment uses local, Peruvian ingredients. Think coca, muña, camu camu, aguaymanto, corn and quinoa — all in products that are biodegradable.

The breakfast area at the Aranwa Sacred Valley. Photography by Justin Harrington

The Pisco and sushi bar:
Get to know two things in Peru – the Pisco (their local liquor that is similar to tequila, used in the traditional Pisco Sour drink), and sushi (Peru has a hefty Japanese influence and being next to the Pacific Ocean means loads of fresh seafood). This restaurant has both and is set around a warming fireplace for those chilly nights.

Pukawi Gourmet Restaurant:
The food in Peru is complex, flavorful and rich. Traditional Andean cuisine can be a bit heavy, but this restaurant puts a modern spin on the classics. Trust me, you will not only love it, but want to eat every meal here.

Aranwa Sacred Valley Hotel & Wellness
Antigua Hacienda Yaravilca, Huayllabamba, Urubamba, Cusco – Peru
+51 (84) 58 1900