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Two impressive new hotels tap into the Sacred Valley's spiritual side

Word of Mouth"At one point during the trip [from Cusco airport], we came around a bend and in the distance below us was a town surrounded by soaring green mountains," Fodorite sasark writes of his journey through the Peruvian countryside. "Overhead, the sky was gray, and after a moment a thunderclap punctuated the air. It was very dramatic!"

Why Go NowThe culture-rich capital of the Inca Empire, and the gateway to Machu Picchu, sits high in the Peruvian Andes. At the top of our must-visit list any year, Cusco looks even more enticing in 2012, thanks to a couple of impressive hotel openings on the horizon.

Where to StayThe luxurious Palacio Nazarenas by Orient Express, a former convent and palace turned all-suite boutique hotel, is the city’s most exciting upcoming opening. The property will debut this summer with Cusco’s first outdoor pool and 55 suites with private butlers and iPads. The 153-room JW Marriott Hotel Cusco is also expected to debut in mid 2012, built around a colonial church with its own museum showcasing ancient artifacts found onsite during its construction. See more Cusco hotel reviews.

Insider TipFactor in a few extra days to get acclimated to the altitude (Cusco sits some 11,000 feet above sea level) before you take off trekking to the mountain villages of the Sacred Valley.

When to GoTravel April through May, and September through October, to sidestep rainy season and avoid summer’s peak-season prices and crowds.

Plan Your TripVisit Fodor's Cusco and the Sacred Valley Travel Guide for the latest hotel, restaurant, and shopping reviews in Cusco and beyond.

Photo: oversnap/istockphoto

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