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Incan palace

Have you dreamed of going to Machu Picchu? Let's face it, who hasn't? But it always seems so remote and inaccessible. Everyone we know comes back with tales of long treks and altitude sickness. Of course, it's always worth the effort, but recently we heard of a solution – staying at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary, a hotel which is literally right beside the ruins.

The Sanctuary is a luxury hotel in an incredibly unlikely location. If you thought Verana was hard to get to, listen to how you get to the Sanctuary. Even from the nearest town, you have to spend three hours on a train (or thirty minutes in a helicopter) to get to the base of the hill. From there it takes half an hour to
drive up to the hotel. Adding to the remote feeling, the hotel is surrounded by a
lush orchid garden.

During the day, you can take tours through the ruins to see temples, mausoleums, royal houses and dwellings. And when night comes, visit nearby Aquas Calientes and relax in the hundred-degree waters of natural underground sulphur springs.

The Sanctuary is run by Orient Express and, thanks to its remote location, isn't cheap to stay at. If you've stayed at the Sanctuary, please write and tell us what it was like. If you've been to Machu Picchu and would like to share your story, we'd love to hear from you.

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  • Betsy

    March 28, 2007

    We stayed in the room shown in the photo. There are only 3-4 such rooms, numbers 36/38/40, 38 & 40 being the best (meaning best view). The remainder of the rooms have no view and no veranda as shown in the photo, as the hotel is built up against the hillside. Guests in the latter category can sit out on a common area that adjoins the veranda areas… but the view isn’t as good. The rooms are pretty much all the same and small by luxury hotel standards. For $905 a night we expected more, but it’s the only game in town so they can charge what they want. If people are looking for value for cost, this is not it. You are merely paying for the convenience of staying at the ruins. We have friends who stayed there three years ago, before Orient Express
    bought the property, and the rate was $200-$300 a night. Both couples were shocked to learn the new price. We found that most people staying there were part of some group, and I’m sure did not know the true price for staying there as the hotel would be part of a package deal. The rate included breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, wine and everything in the room mini-bar. We don’t eat very much so they got a good deal with us! All the staff were very helpful and friendly; they get a gold star, especially Patricia at the front desk!
    The town at the bottom of the hill is Aquas Calientes which has hotel accommodations, and many more are under construction. The bus ride up the hill to The Sanctuary and the ruins is only 10-15 minutes and the buses are running constantly. The road is a series of about 20 switchbacks.
    By far the best thing to do in MP after seeing the ruins is climbing Waynapicchu, the big mountain behind the ruins, as show in the hotel photo. We were not sure we’d make it and at times its a bit dangerous (if you slip, you’re dead) . But the view back and down to the ruins is breathtaking. One has to sign in before climbing and sign out upon return. Only 400 people a day are allowed. Everyone must put their age, and we were without a doubt the oldest people on the climb.

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