This upscale hotel at the entrance to Machu Picchu puts you closest to the ruins, a position for which you do pay dearly, but nowhere else can you sit in a hot tub, sip pisco sours or tea, and watch the sunset over the ruins after the last of the tourists depart each afternoon. At night, astronomers and novice stargazers alike will appreciate the big Andean sky and there is even an expert on hand to orient you to what you are seeing as well as give talks on the cosmology of the Incas. In the morning, not only will you have the thrill of watching the sun rise over the crumbling stone walls but you'll be the first ones through the ruins' gate. Run by the owners of PeruRail, Belmond (formerly called Orient-Express), this hotel is a destination in itself. The rooms come with top-of-the-line amenities and the decor is currently being upgraded, giving the rooms a lighter, airier feel. While expensive, the all-inclusive rates include meals from the restaurant and bar, which is exclusive to hotel guests. There is an additional restaurant that has an excellent international menu and serves a popular S/100 buffet lunch which is open to the public. Future plans include creating a meditation space with views of Machu Picchu.
entrance to Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, Peru
084-211–094-Hotel; 01-610–8300-in Lima; 800-237–1236-in North America