The 10 Best City Hotels in Central & South America in 2017

Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt
Photo: Courtesy of Park Hyatt

The cities of Central and South America offer endless adventures. You can explore the arts in Buenos Aires, take in the vibrant beaches of Rio de Janeiro, or discover Incan history in Cuzco, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Indeed, Cuzco is prized as much for its Spanish-colonial architecture as for its rugged, mountainous setting. And this gateway city on the road to Machu Picchu proved to be a favorite with our readers — three of the top 10 hotels, including this year’s winner, are located there. 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. Properties were classified as City or Resort based on their locations and amenities. The other city to make a strong showing? Buenos Aires, where the Alvear Palace, the Four Seasons, and the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt are mainstays of the hotel scene. At the Alvear Palace, afternoon tea in the soaring lobby becomes a restorative art form, and the spacious rooms, which are decorated with Louis XVI-style furniture, feel like calm oases. “By far the best hotel in Argentina,” one reader wrote, while another added, “A grand hotel of the old school.” The Four Seasons, located in a former Belle Époque mansion in B.A.’s swanky Recoleta neighborhood, again makes the top 10 thanks in part to its light-filled guest rooms and lovely outdoor pool. The Waldorf Astoria Panama landed on the list this year, as did Casa San Agustín, a recently renovated property located inside the walls of Cartagena, Colombia. This boutique hotel comprises three connected buildings; its courtyard has a unique ancient aqueduct, and many of the rooms — decorated in modern Colombian style — have their own plunge pools or Jacuzzis.

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10. Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro

Belmond Copacabana Palace
Courtesy of Belmond

Score: 92.45

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9. Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Cuzco, Peru

Palacio del Inka
Courtesy of Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Score: 92.75

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8. Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires

Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires
Courtesy of Four Seasons

Score: 92.95

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7. Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt Buenos Aires

Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt
Courtesy of Park Hyatt

Score: 93.00

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6. Waldorf Astoria Panama, Panama City

Waldorf Astoria Panama
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria

Score: 93.08

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5. Belmond Hotel Monasterio, Cuzco, Peru

Belmond Hotel Monasterio
Courtesy of Belmond

Score: 93.19

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4. Casa Gangotena, Quito, Ecuador

Casa Gangotena
Courtesy of Casa Gangotena

Score: 94.00

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3. Alvear Palace Hotel, Buenos Aires

Alvear Palace Hotel
Courtesy of Alvear Palace Hotel

Score: 94.36

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2. Casa San Augustín, Cartegena, Colombia

Casa San Agustin
Courtesy of Casa San Agustin

Score: 95.09

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1. Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, Cuzco, Peru

Belmond Palacio Nazarenas: Cusco, Peru
Courtesy of Belmond

Score: 95.88

It’s rare to find a hotel that embraces its historic setting, yet still offers 21st-century amenities — which is exactly why our readers fell for Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, a 55-suite hotel set in a centuries-old convent. After a day of exploring, you can spoil yourself with a massage in the spa, a swim in the city’s first outdoor pool, and room service ordered from your personal butler to eat on your balcony. One reader wrote, “Absolutely beautiful. Lovely to return to after the bustle of Cuzco.” Another summarized, “One of the most amazing and unique experiences in the world.”

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