Hotel Review: Hilton Garden Inn, Cusco
Cusco is the main gateway city in Peru for visitors heading to Machu Picchu. Typically, Cusco is the acclimatising place for hikers doing the classic Inca Trail and other trails leading to Machu Picchu. The general idea is that if you can put up with the high altitude of Cusco, it is very likely that you will be fine with trails. For non-hikers, Cusco is the starting point for the trains heading to Aguas Clientes (Machu Picchu), either from Poroy or Ollantaytambo.
There are only a handful of international hotel chains in Cusco, namely Hilton, Marriott and Accor. They can be expensive, but if you book many months in advance, the rates can be very reasonable. We booked ours for just under USD 100 per night, eight months ahead of our stay.
Lobby and Check-In
We arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn Cusco at around 6:45 am after taking the first connecting flight at 4:43 am out of Lima. Upon entering the lobby, the staff greeted us warmly. The lobby was not overly massive, but spacious enough for four large seating areas. There were two check-in counters. Also located in the lobby vicinity was a tour information desk, a 24/7 pantry and washrooms towards the rear. In addition, there was also a self-serve coca tea station.
The check-in process was seamless. We were asked to fill in a guest registration form (only name and signature were mandatory), provide our passports and a credit card. The latter was used to provide a block for a room deposit. (Note: For the deposit, they blocked $100 on your credit card and at the same time charged 1¢ to ensure your card was legit. The latter was refunded at check-out.)
The standard check-in time for this hotel is 12:00 pm. Unfortunately for us, no early room was available and we were advised to come back around midday. So, to pass the time, we wandered around Cusco city and returned at 11:35 am, hoping our room would be ready. Lucky for us, it was.
All staff working in the lobby and check-in areas were extremely smiley and friendly. In addition, the front desk staff can speak English well. As a result, this made asking for suggestions with regard to directions or restaurants much easier.
There are a total of four floors allocated to rooms and our room was on the 2nd floor. The hotel is situated on the mountain side, and as a result, the lobby is actually on the highest floor and the room floors are below it.
The room itself was well-maintained and very clean. It was also spacious with plenty of space to spread out the suitcases. Upon entering, the bathroom was on the right side and closet on the left.
There were two double beds, each with four pillows. As I always find with most Hilton hotels, the pillows were not firm enough for my personal preference. If you placed your head in the centre of the pillow, your head would sink completely, and the sides of the pillow would go around your head – no support whatsoever. Consequently, I couldn’t quite find a comfortable position at night and ended up ditching the pillows. As for the actual bed and mattress, I found it comfortable.
The room was equipped with standard amenities. These included a safe, iron, ironing board, fridge and kettle (with teas and coffees).
The windows in the room were smallish, restricting sufficient natural light from coming through to the room. Compounding this, I also thought that the artificial lighting was not adequate.
The bathroom was modern-looking and clean. Basic amenities were stocked in the bathroom. This included body lotion, soap, shampoo and conditioner (all Neutrogena-branded). There were three sets of towels and a hairdryer.
The shower had decent power. However, the temperature did not reach my desired temperature point (and I prefer hot showers). For example, when the dial was at the hottest, the water was only just above lukewarm.
The other two minor cons I have with the bathroom: mirror is not steam-free and there is no ventilation for the bathroom. Now, it’s not the end of the world, but it would have been a nice to have.
The buffet breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn Cusco was served at the Garden Grille. It was available from 5:00 am to 10:30 am on weekdays and stretched to 11 am on weekends. Breakfast is free for Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond members.
For me, the breakfast was average. In terms of selection, there wasn’t much.
Hot food – three dishes with menu varying from day to day. Hot food consisted of mushroom risotto, sautéed chicken and potatoes.
Continental – croissants, buns, muffins, bread, cereal and fruit.
Omelette station – fresh omelette-making station with a selection of toppings including ham, cheese, onions, spinach and tomato.
Drinks – coffee, teas, Milo, hot milk, hot water, juices and water.
The staff attending the breakfast service were attentive; they cleared away empty plates promptly.
The Hilton Garden Inn Cusco has laundry facilities located on the fourth floor. It is equipped with one washing machine and one dryer. In order to use the machines, you need to purchase tokens. A set of tokens and laundry detergent can be purchased at the 24/7 pantry for 52 Sols ($15 USD or £12 GBP). This amenity was a life saver, especially after doing the 4 day, 3 night trek to Machu Picchu.
Getting from Cusco Airport to the Hilton Garden Inn Cusco by taxi takes about 15 minutes and costs 20 Soles ($6 USD or £4.70 GBP).
The hotel is perched on top of a hill. Walking from the hotel to Plaza de Armas (the main square in Cusco) is a ten-minute walk (under a kilometer). Though you should factor in a little more time when heading back to the hotel because you have to climb the hill, which is pretty steep! (But if you’ve just completed the Inca Trail, it’s nothing in comparison!)
To sum up, my stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Cusco was a pleasant one, and I would return to this hotel if I were to go back to Cusco. The rooms were clean and spacious, and the staff were friendly and could communicate well with English speakers.
Hotel Review: Hilton Garden Inn
Santa Ana, Avenida Abancay 207, Cusco, 00000, Peru
Last Date Stayed: 30-MAY-2019
To get from Cusco Airport to Hilton Garden Inn, you can make an advance booking with taxidatum.com. Free cancellation. They will send a driver to the airport with a name placard. Cost is USD6-8 one way. Slightly more for a van. They take USD or Soles. Pay cash to driver.
If you are off on Inca Trail or other trails, and will be back days later, Hilton Garden Inn will store your luggage for free.
The exchange rates at Lima Airport (assuming you’re in transit to Cusco) are not very friendly. Just change enough to see through your first few obligations (eg taxi and food). Change your bigger amount in Cusco town. You can literally get what is shown in xe.com app.