The Top 10 City Hotels in Central & South America
If you want to start your day on a beach and end it on a mountaintop, or grab lunch at one of the best restaurants on the globe and then venture out to a 1,500-year-old archaeological site — well, better head south. From the glittering beaches of Rio de Janeiro to the world-class restaurants of Lima, South America’s largest cities are home to some of the top hotels in the region. But Cuzco, gateway to Machu Picchu, won the day, with four properties making the cut — quite an impressive number for a city of less than half a million.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Hotels were classified as City or Resort based on their locations and amenities.
Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards
Rio de Janeiro’s Belmond Copacabana Palace opened in 1923 — but behind the Art Deco façade, it’s as youthful as ever. The rooms are traditional without being stuffy, outfitted with botanical prints and wooden camelback headboards, and attractions like the Michelin-starred, Japanese-inflected restaurant Mee and the see-and-be-seen pool bar ensure the whole place feels of-the-moment. In Lima, Hotel B, situated in the boho-chic Barranco neighborhood, is a restored Belle Époque building with moody interiors and a killer art collection. They also own the neighboring Lucia de la Puente Gallery.
Algodon Mansion in Buenos Aires ties for No. 8 this year. The Relais & Châteaux hotel is legendary for its wine bar, stocked with wines from Algodon’s own vineyards. Several wrote in to say the staff was super-accommodating. “The manager even took us out to dinner one night with his family!” exclaimed one reader.
This year marks the 17th time Belmond Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco has been a World’s Best choice. The former monastery may no longer be a site of worship, but guests think it’s still divine, with all the trappings of a 21st-century stay, as well as a rich collection of 18th-century religious artwork that nods to the building’s former life. Three more Cuzco properties are on the list, including our first-place winner — a spot with a past that’s as long and storied as Machu Picchu itself.
10. Casa Gangotena, Quito, Ecuador
8. (tie) Hotel B, Lima, Peru
8. (tie) Algodon Mansion, Buenos Aires, Argentina
7. Belmond Hotel Monasterio, Cuzco, Peru
6. Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
5. JW Marriott El Convento, Cuzco, Peru
4. Hotel Casa San Agustín, Cartagena, Colombia
3. Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Cuzco, Peru
2. Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, Cartagena, Colombia
1. Inkaterra La Casona, Cuzco, Peru
Even without the backstory, Inkaterra La Casona, built within a 16th-century manor house anchored by a grassy courtyard, is a compelling spot to stay. It has a mere 11 suites, each with a wood fireplace and a pedestal tub big enough to swim in. The vibe is Peruvian through and through, with pre-Columbian-style weavings and Spanish colonial furnishings. Everywhere you look there’s some new detail to catch, be it the intricate carving on a wooden door or the frescoes bordering the ceiling. But the history puts this hotel on a whole other level: it was built on the foundations of a training ground for the Incan army, and at one point it was the home of the legendary Simón Bolívar.
See all of our readers' favorite hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2018.