Sitting 2,380 metres (7,808ft) above sea level, Arequipa – also known as the White City – hosts an array of grand architecture, such as the Basilica Cathedral, harking back to colonial and pre-Columbian times. While it’s marvellous to visit these ancient edifices, many built from volcanic rock, it’s even better when you stay in them. Today, you can rest your head in a historic property after a day exploring the nearby Colca Canyon and local San Camilo market. Here are the best boutique hotels to set up base in the city, all bookable with Culture Trip.
This luxury 16th-century property is a unique Arequpia gem, built from local volcanic sillar rock around two outdoor courtyards. The 11 airy suites benefit from high-vaulted ceilings, elegant decor and clean lines, and there’s cultural heritage in every corner. Enjoy a pisco sour on the terrace before dining in the sumptuous restaurant under a chandelier, whose kitchen uses local ingredients.
Thanks to 225 years of history running through its foundations and walls, Casa Andina Premium was awarded Unesco cultural heritage status in 2019. This architectural gem houses gold-leaf murals and paintings dating from the Republican era. Rooms are elegant featuring polished wood and white walls. Book into Alma Restaurant for Peruvian dishes, such as ceviche.
Perfectly placed in Arequipa’s historic centre, the 18th-century colonial mansion was restored to start a new life as Acolpacha Tambo. Many original features have been preserved, such as ashlar masonry and sillar balconies, while solar panels sustainably bring the house into the 21st century. Airy rooms are seductive with low lighting and bronze beds, some overlook the ancient colonial street, La Recoleta. Borrow an eco-bike for a free guided city tour.
Located in prime position on Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas, Katari Hotel is surrounded by heritage in the colonial old town. Rooms are decorated with splendid antiques and vibrant textiles; upgrade to a junior suite for volcano vistas. Buffet breakfast taken on the roof terrace is boosted by unique views of the square. Come lunchtime, it turns into the Ascai 360 restaurant, serving Andean tapas.
Based in the Selva Alegre neighbourhood, Wyndham Costa del Sol is situated on a huge plot of land and boasts well-kept gardens. Suites are airy and thoughtfully designed, featuring hand-carved headboards above the beds. Amenities include a spacious outdoor swimming pool, spa, gym and the delightful Paprika restaurant where you should try the causa (potato cake).
A piece of prime real estate located on Plaza de Armas, Casa Andina Select is perfectly located for wandering Arequipa’s centre. Suites are elegant and well-appointed with a natural palette; all beds are king size. Bonus facilities include a spa and gym, plus the concierge can help with any other requirements. Enjoy a hearty breakfast from the roof terrace overlooking the square.
With a fantastic central location on main square Plaza de Armas, the colonial-style La Plaza hotel boasts plenty of history in its walls. With just 10 suites that draw on local architectural flourishes, such as ashlar masonry, under its roof, you are in for an elegant and relaxed stay. Take the à la carte breakfast on the terrace overlooking the cathedral and square.
Located a short walk from the main square Plaza de Armas, Casa de Avila and its lush garden is rightfully called an Arequpia oasis. The 1923-built property’s rooms are cosy and homely; enjoy the buffet breakfast in the garden accompanied by bird song. You can even learn how to prepare delicious Arequipenos stews and stuffed rocoto (peppers) with a cooking lesson onsite. Families can expel energies in the games room on the ping pong table.
Palla Boutique Hotel | Courtesy of Palla Boutique Hotel / Expedia
A stone’s throw from Arequipa Cathedral and the Chili River, Palla Hotel is well located for getting to know the city centre. Rooms are well appointed with wooden floorboards and exposed brick walls; upgrade to a suite for a balcony and king-size bed. The buffet breakfast is taken on the rooftop.