The Tambo Del Inka, a Marriott Bonvoy property under the Luxury Collection brand, lives up to those brand standards in spades. Read on for why we chose this hotel for our Machu Picchu trip and why I’d recommend it to anyone with Bonvoy points or credit card certificates.
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Booking Tambo Del Inka via Marriott Bonvoy
As I’ve already detailed in my post about traveling to Machu Picchu on miles and points, we paid for three nights at Tambo Del Inka, which had a price for our dates of between $450 and $500 a night, using 3 credit card certificates, each worth 35,000 points (earned from various Marriott Bonvoy credit cards), topped off to the total points price of 48,000-49,000 points per night.
Remember that you can now “top off” Marriott Bonvoy free night certificates with up to 15,000 total points. (So if the hotel had been priced at 51,000 points instead of 48,000 – 49,000 points, we’d have been out of luck to use the 35,000 point certificates.)
That meant that we got roughly 1 cent per point in value, but with certificates making up the bulk of that – and each certificate was received for just the $95 annual fee on the respective credit cards).
There was also a destination fee of around $40 per room per night. While I do hate resort fees under any name, at least they did try to give you some value for it in the form of a daily visit to the thermal spa circuit (which I’ll explain in a bit) and a daily activity, for example a beer tasting one day and an Andean bread making class another day.
Getting to Tambo Del Inka
We paid $70 to have Tambo Del Inka arrange the roughly one hour ride from the airport in Cusco to the hotel. We could have saved a bit by arranging our own transport or negotiating with a taxi driver at the airport, but we decided that for our first time in a country that is not exactly crime free, it was just the easiest thing for piece of mind. We also paid $43 for a transfer to our hotel in Cusco, which was again probably $15 or so higher to have the hotel book it, but easy and charged directly to the room.
What was funny was that the driver they use lives in the area (in Urubamba) and we wound up having him as our driver a total of three times, which was kind of fun.
Arriving to Tambo Del Inka and Check In
As soon as you arrive and the security guard at the gate checks for your name and invites you inside, you can tell that you’ve chosen wisely.
The grounds are absolutely beautiful and the entire property feels more like a retreat than a hotel.
We were very warmly welcomed and given some coco tea to help with the altitude acclimation while they went to get our paperwork and explain what was offered on property. Another person came over specifically to tell us about all the activity options included with the resort fee and book us accordingly. She was very flexible too. When we mentioned we’d be at Machu Picchu all day one day and miss any chance to do an activity, she let us do one after our checkout on the last day. That was a nice touch.
We filled out the registration forms and got escorted to our room. We spent the 1st night in a 1 King Bed Deluxe room with a patio and the last 2 in a King Suite, also with a patio. They were both Titanium upgrades from the base Deluxe room and we only changed rooms because they were sold out the first night and so it was either keep the King room the whole stay or change rooms to try the Suite.
Interestingly, we preferred the King Deluxe room with the patio more than the Suite! I can’t quite explain it except that the Suite was a bit darker and somehow just not quite as comfy. I really don’t know why. We’d certainly take the Suite again, but in hindsight we’d have saved the arduous process of timing a room move (and packing and unpacking – with a toddler, no less) once we were settled into that Deluxe room.
Here are pictures of the 1 BR Suite.
Dining at Tambo Del Inka
There are two restaurants at Tambo Del Inka. Technically, there’s just one – Hawa – but it’s worth noting there is also an upstairs bar called Kiri Bar which serves some of the same and some completely different food than Hawa.
But let’s focus on Hawa as that is where you’ll have your breakfast (comped, of course, if you are Marriott Bonvoy Platinum or higher status) and it’s where I recommend you have all of your dinners while in town. I nearly always want to try the food in town, but in this case it was clear that Hawa was the best we were going to find, would be up to health code standards, and had a menu twenty miles long.
There’s also a craft beer bar on property, open daily, with a nice range of locally produced beers.
Back to Hawa…
The breakfast spread (free as Platinum and higher) was great. You had the full buffet and could also order whatever you wanted off the menu. Side note: they had bottles of Cold Brew available and included, which I super appreciated given how hard it can be to find proper iced coffee outside of North America. Do not miss the french toast!
They also had plenty of Andean dishes and condiments.
It’s worth noting that the entire restaurant is farm to table in nature, using a lot of locally sourced ingredients – in some cases from on-property gardens.
I found a version of the menu here. It may not quite match the current hotel’s menu and I don’t know how often they vary it.
There is seriously just so much to choose from that I was afraid we wouldn’t have enough days for me to try it all, but the 3 nights was perfect 😉
I strongly advise that if you have just one meal at Hawa (and eat meat) you have the treasured national Peruvian dish of Lomo Saltado. Don’t get the kind with noodles mixed in – get the OG. If you’ve ever had good Peruvian food stateside, you’ve no doubt had a Lomo Saltado – but this one was like having ramen at the best shop in Japan. 100% divine.
Don’t be shy asking for some local hot sauce (the orange stuff!) or some huancaina (a cheesy sauce), or even some chimichurri (so good!)
My next don’t miss would be the Aji De Gallina which is a chicken stew in a yellow chili sauce and also a very traditional Peruvian staple.
I’ll note that I tried both elsewhere and nothing compared to Hawa.
The Spa and Thermal Circuit
I’m only combining these because I don’t have too much to say about the spa. It was reasonably priced and the massages were fine – nothing special.
The thermal circuit is what is included in the resort fee and you can reserve one session per day. Now this I really enjoyed. I’ve experienced similar thermal circuits elsewhere and while nothing is likely to ever beat the spa at the Grand Hotel Victoria Concept and Spa in Lake Como, Italy, this one was very well designed. You can see the various components from the picture, from a standard hot tub to various shooting jets of water. The only thing was that the lounger experiences (left side of the pool) are impossible to relax in as the water thrusts you right off of them. This is a design flaw in these as I was on the exact same one at the W in Taipei with the exact same issue. You can hold on with hand grips but its not the relaxing water bed you think it will be 😉
Here are some pictures of the thermal circuit:
In the same area is a “shower experience” which costs extra, shown below. They let me try it one day and I can assure you it’s not worth paying extra for. I’m not sure why it’s not just part of the thermal circuit. It’s a set of rocks you walk on with water spraying at you and then 4 different styles of shower (colors/intensity/temperature).
The pool is excellent, though on the small side, with both indoor and outdoor sections making it nice in all weather. And the temperature was perfect – warm but not jacuzzi warm.
Speaking of which, there are two jacuzzis available (without needing to pay for the spa) just around the corner from the pool. You have to make an effort to look for them but they are there!
It’s an expansive property, although you probably won’t spend a ton of time roaming it. There were alpacas outside each afternoon / evening which you could pet. These are brought by local farmers (different ones at different times to help more of the community) which also bring items for sale inside.
You’ll also find the craft beer bar I mentioned earlier, open daily, a pool table and ping pong table directly across from the beer bar, a kids playground, an area they use for special events (when we were there they were doing a barbecue every Saturday which we really enjoyed).
This is also the way to the train station, which is a spoke off the main line from Urubamba. If you missed my larger post on getting to Machu Picchu using miles and points, this train only has one departure (which wouldn’t get you to Machu Picchu until around 11:30am) and one arrival from Aquas Calientes that departs for Tambo Del Inka in the mid afternoon.
I also posted this train video in the other post but I’ll drop it again here below because it is so novel and I’ll mention again that it takes twice as long (one hour) from Urubamba to Tambo Del Inka as it does to drive.
The ticket office is no longer in use, so make sure you have tickets ahead of time!
This is a property that would be a no-brainer for me to return to if I was going to the area again (which admittedly, I can’t envision being for quite some time!).
While there were a few small hiccups during the stay, the staff always worked to make things right and they were always super friendly and helpful.
The rooms were great and the grounds were luxurious, with amazing food right on property.
No question, I would (and already have) recommend this property.
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