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Tucked deep in the Urubamba River Valley, Aguas Calientes is the calm before (or after) the high-altitude hike up to Machu Picchu. It’s a soothing Peruvian town with thermal baths to soak your weary muscles and nearby hikes for those who just can’t get enough of those sprawling Andean summits. Aguas Calientes is no stranger to boutique hotels either, so we’ve done the legwork for you and rounded up the best the town has to offer – book your stay now with Culture Trip.
Give the ramshackle huts of Aguas Calientes a miss altogether, and opt to stay at the site of the sacred Machu Picchu instead. Situated just a few minutes’ walk from the great Inca citadel, this is the only hotel allowed to operate in the area, which makes it truly unique. Unbeatable location aside, guests rave about the complimentary pisco tasting session, epic mountain views and the ability to casually stroll down to the monument in the morning well before the hordes of tourists arrive.
Considered the finest hotel in Aguas Calientes, elegance and opulence are in abundance at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. Dark wooden awnings and high ceilings give it a luxury lodge kind of vibe, while the onsite spa, Jacuzzi, and swimming pools keep guests entertained between excursions. It may be substantially pricier than other options in town, but it’s nice to know some of the profits are donated towards local conservation efforts.
As the other prestigious high-end hotel in Aguas Calientes, the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel offers unbeatable views of the Urubamba River at the northern edge of town. The complex features an eclectic mix of modern and indigenous design while also boasting a stylish dining area, well-appointed rooms and even an in-house Inca art exhibition.
For a sister hotel of the elegant Inkaterra Pueblo, the El MaPi Hotel takes a surprisingly different direction in its design. Each room is notably more contemporary, while the numerous vibrant common areas are the epitome of chic modern design. Despite coming in at around half the cost of the former, it still has all the amenities you would expect from a hotel of such caliber.
For a bit of luxury with a reasonable price tag, the modern and stylish Tierra Viva Machu Picchu ticks all the boxes. Each of its 42 rooms is tastefully decorated, while an abundance of indigenous artwork can be enjoyed (and purchased) throughout the hotel. The pièce de résistance, however, is a colorful mural that spans the entire five-story central elevator.
As a premier cabin-style boutique in Aguas Calientes, the 20 odd rooms at Hotel La Cabaña Machu Picchu provide a high level of comfort for a very reasonable price. If the budget permits, opt for one of the suites, which have plenty of space as well as a charming balcony with breathtaking mountain views.
A longtime favorite in Aguas Calientes, the Casa Andina Standard is a hit for its no-nonsense modern and minimalist design. Spacious and airy rooms, a fine riverfront restaurant and a plethora of high-tech amenities make this hotel a solid midrange boutique option.
Harry Stewart contributed additional reporting to this article.