Palacio Nazarenas Opens in Peru

The former 16th-century convent is transformed into a luxurious hideaway

Orient-Express Hotels has opened the all-suite Palacio Nazarenas, an urban retreat and former 16th-century convent in Cuzco, capital to the ancient Inca empire, in Peru.

It took four years of extensive excavation to construct Palacio Nazarenas, which boasts 55 state-of-the-art oxygenated rooms, Cuzco’s first outdoor infinity pool, and Senzo Restaurant, a bistro run by chef Virgilio Martinez.

Senzo Restaurant’s dishes feature indigenous herbs, and each plate is decorated with edible flowers, many of which are grown throughout the hotel. Martinez, who oversees all the cuisine at the hotel, sources every ingredient from within a 100-kilometer radius of the hotel.

The hotel’s historic setting makes it a destination as well as a hotel. The original Inca walls that were discovered during the excavation have been carefully preserved beneath the glass floors of treatment rooms at the Hypnôze spa, and murals and friezes on the walls of Palacio Nazarenas are have been painstakingly restored and preserved.

During the excavation, architects and archaeologists uncovered a host of Inca treasures, including an original Inca sandal, which are showcased in the hotel’s library, which serves as a museum for all the artifacts. Each day, a chat session led by a shaman, sommelier, or historian is held to introduce Cuzco’s history, art, and culture to hotel guests.

Each suite is outfitted with a full cocktail-making set, with instructions on everything from shaking to straining, and a recipe book giving advice on how to create exotic Andean tipples using local herbs and ingredients. Guests can also ask their personal butler to concoct their drinks for them.

Palacio Nazarenas is offering a special "Taste of Cuzco" package that includes a market tour and Andean cooking class with Martinez and a customized three-course dinner. Rates begin at $793 per room per night, based on a three-night stay.