When we told friends and family we’d be headed to Cusco and Machu Picchu with our toddler, our excitement was typically met with silence. I could see the wheels turning: Why would we take a toddler on a trip she’d barely remember? Was it even safe? What would she do?
Well, our toddler ate quinoa, alfajores and potatoes seasoned with Andean herbs while in Peru. She slid down rock slides in her dad’s lap at Sacsayhuaman, an archaeological site just outside Cusco. She watched a religious procession, mesmerized by the dancing and the costumes. She tasted salt at the Maras salt flats. And she chased a baby alpaca or two, too. She may not remember any of it, but I’ll remember it for her.
In Cusco, the Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, which was painstakingly converted from a convent to an all-suite luxury hotel just a few years ago, welcomed our then two-year-old daughter with open arms. We weren’t sure what to expect with our toddler in tow, but fell in love with the hotel.
Set off a cobblestone plaza, the ultra-luxurious Belmond Palacio Nazarenas features 55 sprawling suites, all of which come with your own personal butler, vaulted high ceilings, four poster-beds and gorgeous marble baths with clawfoot tubs. Small touches like a pisco sour-making for parents and pint-sized slippers and robes for the little ones also make families feel welcome.
Oxygen is actually pumped into the rooms to help adjust to the high altitude. With secret gardens and lush courtyards surrounding the 55 suites, just wandering the grounds turned into an adventure of walking along stone paths, stopping to smell flowers, and playing some hide and seek.
With its innumerable churches and cathedrals, nearly every building in Cusco seems to be historic. But the level of meticulous restoration the Belmond Palacio Nazarenas has undergone is impressive in and of itself. From the Incan stone walls in rooms to the fountains where the nuns washed their clothes to several Spanish colonial murals restored with the help of flour dough, everything seems perfectly intact yet perfectly polished and upgraded.
Without a doubt, breakfast each morning was our favorite meal at the property. We enjoyed pastries and breads with homemade jams such as elderberry, strawberry, tomato and yacon (Andean tuber), pancakes, platters of fruit and cheese. Not to mention the gorgeously carved wooden cart brimming with fruit where guests order fresh juice.
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All in all, the property never seemed to miss a beat. There seemed to be thought in every detail and gesture. We still have the blue-colored locally knit snake stuffed animal our daughter received at turndown on the first night. Serpents were important to the Incas as they represented infinity, and as parents we really appreciated the authenticity behind the gift.
We came to Peru to have an enriching and authentic adventure albeit at a toddler’s pace. And that’s exactly what we got.
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Best family hotels and things to do in Peru with kids on Ciao Bambino
Editor’s Note: Tanvi received a media package at the Belmond Palacio Nazarenas. As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Tanvi Chheda unless otherwise noted.
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