El Albergue Hotel in Ollantaytambo

***Author’s Note: I had the great pleasure of staying at the El Albergue Hotel in Ollantaytambo, not more than a week ago, in January 2018.  Everything written here was captured in my journal, from the balcony of their hotel.  Having traveled all over the Sacred Valley, I can tell you: there is no better place to stay near Machu Picchu than at El Albergue.  Traveling in Peru can be strenuous & tiring: El Albergue is the place to relax & revel in peace, quiet, & absolutely heavenly food & views. 

El Albergue Hotel in Ollantaytambo, Girl Who Travels the World

Welcome to El Alberge Hotel in Ollantaytambo!

 

Map of Ollantaytambo, Peru

To get oriented with Peru’s Sacred Valley, take a look at the map below.  Ollantaytambo is half-way between Cusco & Machu Picchu, which makes an ideal stop between the two destinations ~ as the journey can take over five hours!

El Albergue Hotel

Machu Picchu

Aguas Calientes

Cusco

Practical Info

  • El Albergue Hotel Price: $70-160+.
  • How to Get from Cusco to Ollantaytambo: Bus (3 hours), train, car or taxi (quickest = 2 hours).
  • Best Way from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu: By train. Check Peru Rail or Inca Rail for pricing.  
  • How Many Hours from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes: One hour, forty-five minutes by train.  Trains are typically prompt.
  • Best Luxury Hotels in Cusco: My favorite hotels in Cusco are the JW Marriott El Convento, Palacio del Inka, & the Novotel Cusco.  El Albergue also has a sister property in Cusco called the El Balcon Hotel, located near the Plaza de Armas, with incredible views of the city.  Transport is offered between the two properties.

 El Albergue Hotel in Ollantaytambo

It’s almost like a dream

I’m sitting on the gorgeous, golden deck at the El Albergue Hotel in Peru, looking out towards the legendary Andes Mountains.  Further in the distance lie the ancient Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo.  We arrived here last night on the Inca Rail train returning from Machu Picchu.  The journey took less than two hours, through stunning scenery, in this place known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas. 

We entered the hotel directly through the Ollantaytambo train station ~ which at first seemed a bit odd.  Walking through a cute cafe, we found ourselves in an a restaurant ~ & from there, we are guided by handsome Peruvian gentlemen to the hotel lobby (next to the restaurant).  Once inside, you’re a world apart from the bustling train station.  After a day spent hiking Machu Picchu, our energy is flagging.  We are ready to relax.

El Albergue Hotel in Ollantaytambo, Girl Who Travels the World

After hours spent hiking all over Machu Picchu, we are ready to set our bags down & relax…

One of the handsome gentlemen carries our bags through a beautiful garden, then upstairs, showing us to our room.  It’s a large room that has been impeccably decorated, with subtle Peruvian accents.  We feel instantly at home.  Sitting on our huge deck (our room is a Superior Balcony), we have a commanding view of the Andes Mountains & the beautiful gardens surrounding the hotel, that wind in & out of stone paths, with flowers of every color. 

The most distant mountains are capped by snow ~ even in January.  Though it’s summer all over South America right now, there is technically no summer in Peru: it’s either rainy season or dry.  The wettest months of the year are December – February; the driest June – August (which is also the busiest season for Machu Picchu). 

El Albergue Hotel in Ollantaytambo, Girl Who Travels the World

The garden & grounds of El Albergue Hotel, in Ollantaytambo, Peru ~ less than two hours from Machu Picchu.

The Perfect Machu Picchu Retreat

In looking at the striking ruins of Ollantaytambo, I marvel at how they’re perched atop two steep mountainsides, with a deep valley lying between them.  The Incas seemed to love building in dramatic & difficult-to-reach places!  Hiking trails wind up the left side of the mountain, leading to small buildings & a view point. 

Being back in Peru, part of me is at home.

Nina, my travel companion for this trip, dreamed last night that angels were outside on our porch; apparently, they were visiting guardian angels from Machu Picchu.  Perhaps this sounds strange.  But in this environment, for some reason, it does not seem strange to me at all.

The altitude is high here, but our spirits are higher.  We’re reveling in all the miraculous Peruvian food we’re eating, food that typically comes from across the street ~ not half-way around the world.  That’s how it is at El Albergue: they have their own garden out back that provides food for their restaurant.  The food we eat back in America seems lifeless & dull & by comparison ~ even expensive food purchased at Whole Foods.

El Albergue Hotel in Ollantaytambo, Girl WHo Travels the World

Food so fresh, we groan involuntarily with pleasure after each bite.

El Albergue Hotel in Ollantaytambo, Girl WHo Travels the World

It’s a dog’s life in Peru. (My friend Nina with one of the hotel’s many happy dogs.)

 El Albergue Hotel in Ollantaytambo

Roosters started crowing at five in the morning.  The sun wakes us up early in Peru, beckoning us to come outside, watching the sunrise over the Andes.  The mountains are calling us.  Ruins are begging to be climbed.  Birds are chirping.  And all the while ~ bright, blue trains come & go from the Ollantaytambo station, carrying passengers to & from Peru’s most famous destination: Machu Picchu.

This is life in the Andes.  This is life in Peru. 

El Albergue Hotel in Ollantaytambo, Girl WHo Travels the World

This is Peru.

El Albergue Hotel in Ollantaytambo

They strive, here at El Albergue Hotel, to “live coherently.”  I love that. 

It’s not just a hotel ~ it’s their family home.  And you feel that from the moment you arrive.  In a home, people take more care.  Walls are filled with paintings, local artwork, & weavings.  Dark wood beams are exposed against white walls.  The hotel radiates elegance, yet simplicity.

On your way to or from Machu Picchu, I highly recommend stopping to enjoy the El Albergue Hotel in Ollantaytambo.  If you have time, stay more than one night ~ & definitely try their Pachamanca lunch (which I’ve written about below) as well as their delicious restaurant.  You will not be disappointed!!

xoxo Noelia 

Read Next: What is a Pachamanca Lunch in Peru?