Review: Hyatt Centric San Isidro Lima Is a Gateway to Peru’s Bustling Capital
Lima has long been an important destination for both business travelers and those who seek out extraordinary food. The bustling Peruvian capital is home to nearly 10 million people, including the majority of the country’s manufacturing and its leading financial institutions; the city also boasts an unparalleled culinary culture and some of the absolute best restaurants in the entire world.
The Hyatt Centric San Isidro Lima, opened in May 2018 as the first Hyatt hotel in Peru, sits at the center of the hustle; the San Isidro neighborhood is home to 38 embassies and consulates, the city’s most exclusive country club, high-end boutiques and restaurants, and the many corporations and financial institutions that call the district’s modern office towers home. We recently had the opportunity to visit at the invitation of the hotel.
The newly built full-service hotel matches the neighborhood’s aesthetic, with gleaming windows and a tidy, marbled face that rises to the pool and rooftop bar, Celeste, on the 10th floor. The lobby and lounges on the ground floor sport the posh yet eclectic décor characteristic of the Hyatt Centric brand, with floor-to-ceiling windows allowing plenty of light to fall on the shimmering bronze-tiled wall behind the reception desks. On the lower level, the conference spaces are tidy and open, with an inviting central administrative area from which the hotel’s in-house event planners can keep everything running smoothly for attendees.
The hotel’s comfortable rooms feature the sort of amenities one would expect from Hyatt Centric and are available in a variety of configurations, including a junior suite with an elegant bath and a rotating dividing wall. Our balcony room during our stay featured a comfortable king bed and a compact balcony with a lovely view over the neighboring Spanish consulate complex and the rest of bustling San Isidro, all under Lima’s famously solid-white sky.
The top item on any curious traveler’s agenda in Lima should be to experience Peru’s world-renowned cuisine, which highlights fresh seafood and unique local ingredients, drawing influences from Peru’s natural environment and the city’s nearly five centuries as a cosmopolitan center of trade and migration between the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Many restaurants in or near San Isidro have been recognized as among the world’s best — including Central, Maido, and Astrid y Gaston, each of which at one time or another could make a claim to being the most influential restaurant in Latin America.
Under such circumstances it’s unusual to recommend that even business-focused travelers dine in their hotel — but in this instance doing so wouldn’t be a mistake. The hotel’s restaurant, Isidro, offers a fusion of Peruvian and continental traditions under the direction of well-traveled Lima-native chef Carlos Testino of Grupo Aramburu and the well-regarded Lima 27, also nearby.
The extensive menu features the mandatory range of ceviches and tiraditos along with other clever uses for the abundant local seafood; there’s room set aside for European standards like osso buco and steak au poivre as well as interpretations of local comfort foods like cau cau and aji de gallina. Even food-mad hotel guests who’ve scored coveted dinner reservations at Lima hotspots might choose to avail themselves of Isidro’s copious breakfast — which likewise highlights Peruvian ingredients and sauces alongside breakfast staples — before heading out to explore the city.
Similarly, the hotel’s two bars are an appealing option even in a city with such a vibrant nightlife. In the main bar, mixologist Mauricio De la Puente, a veteran of Maido and other Lima favorites including the hip speakeasy Barra 55, has devised a clever drink menu with signature cocktails named for nearby locations; the bar staff are also happy to craft a drink on the spot according to customer preference.
The rooftop Celeste, meanwhile, offers gorgeous views of San Isidro alongside cocktails with a more international focus. Both bars offer opportunities to sample Peru’s signature liquor, pisco; downstairs, guests will find a selection of twists on the chilcano, a bubbly long drink made with the national spirit.
Hyatt Centric hotels are designed with the curious traveler in mind, however, and the location in the San Isidro neighborhood offers an ideal jumping-off point for an exploration of the vibrant city. First-time visitors to Lima may enjoy leaving gleaming San Isidro to explore the historical core of the city, featuring government and ecclesiastical buildings that date back to Lima’s nearly three centuries as the seat of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which at one time held sway over nearly all of Spanish South America; history buffs might also visit Huaca Huallamarca, a reconstructed pre-Columbian step pyramid only blocks from the hotel.
For travelers looking for a taste of the energetic modern city, the hotel’s excellent concierge staff might suggest destinations in nearby Miraflores (for its gorgeous cliffside parks as well as yet more upscale shopping and, of course, world-class restaurants, including the Nikkei gem Maido) or in the more bohemian Barranco area, long known as a nightlife district and home to the aforementioned Central Restaurante, the current star of Lima’s culinary scene, famous for showcasing ingredients from all over Peru’s diverse landscape.
Even as the world’s major cities and business districts grow increasingly homogenized, Lima remains anything but a generic destination. Hyatt Centric San Isidro offers travelers the comfort and service they expect from the Hyatt brand, but with a focus directed outward toward the unique and cosmopolitan city that surrounds it — an opportunity to experience a delicious taste of Lima during even a brief stay.
The hotel stay that is the subject of this review was provided at no cost to the writer. Airfare and travel expenses were also provided.