The Best City Hotels in Central and South America in 2016

Casa Gangotena Quito Ecuador
Photo: Courtesy of Casa Gangotena

Central and South America are home to some of the world’s most lively and distinctive cities, from moody Buenos Aires to electric Rio de Janeiro. And the very best hotels in those places live up to their surroundings. The imposing 1920s Belmond Copacabana Palace over looks Rio’s iconic Copacabana beach and has hosted everyone from Fred Astaire to the Rolling Stones. Romantic Alvear Palace Hotel in Buenos Aires has marble floors, elaborate chandeliers, and carved wood paneling befitting its name. Both are among the top hotels in the region, according to Travel + Leisure readers. 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 lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotels on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value. Properties were categorized as city or resort hotels based on their locations. Peru led the roster of the best city hotels in Central and South America this year, with five hotels in the top 10, four of them in the Andean capital of Cuzco. Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, fifth on the list, is a former monastery that dates back to the 16th century. Nearby Hotel Monasterio, also a Belmond property, wraps around a courtyard that is beautifully landscaped. “Very luxe, with a sense of place and history,” one T+L reader wrote, adding a tip: “Ask for the old/original section for more character.” In Buenos Aires, the Four Seasons gained top marks for its setting in a renovated Belle Époque mansion in posh Recoleta as well as its old-world ambience. First-time winner Casa Gangotena in Quito received rave reviews for its intimate feeling. The hotel has just 31 rooms in a 1926 Art Nouveau residence overlooking the 17th-century La Compania cathedral. The elegant décor is matched by attentive service, readers noted. As one put it, “It’s the only place I would ever want to stay in Quito.”

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No. 10: Inkaterra La Casona, Cuzco, Peru

Inkaterra la Casona Cusco
Courtesy of Inkaterra

Score: 90.67

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No. 9: Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, Argentina

Four Seasons hotel Buenos Aires
Courtesy of Four Seasons

Score: 90.71

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No. 8: Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Belmond Copacabana Palace Rio de Janeiro
Romulo Fialdini

Score: 91.15

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No. 7: Belmond Hotel Monasterio, Cuzco, Peru

Hotel Monasterio Cuzco Peru
Courtesy of Belmond

Score: 91.26

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No. 6: JW Marriott El Convento Cuzco, Peru

JW Marriott El Convento
Courtesy of JW Marriott

Score: 92.91

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No. 5: Belmond Palacio Nazarenas, Cuzco, Peru

Belmond Palacio Nazarenas Cuzco Peru
Courtesy of Belmond

Score: 93.12

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No. 4: Alvear Art Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Alvear Art Hotel Buenos Aires
Courtesy of Alvear Art Hotel

Score: 93.21

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No. 3: Alvear Palace Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Avlear Palace Hotel Buenos Aires
Courtesy of Avlear Palace Hotel

Score: 94.40

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No. 2: Hotel B, Lima, Peru

Hotel B Lima Peru
Courtesy of Hotel B

Score: 94.46

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No. 1: Casa Gangotena, Quito, Ecuador

Casa Gangotena Quito Ecuador
Courtesy of Casa Gangotena

Score: 97.2

Guest rooms with high ceilings, damask wallpaper, and French doors opening onto a terrace make Casa Gangotena feel like a private home—and indeed it was. A mansion built in 1926 was turned into a luxury hotel with just 31 rooms, looking out on the Andean foothills. Plush interiors aren’t the only thing going for Casa Gangotena; the service is top-notch, and there is an excellent restaurant, Cedron, which hosts a daily afternoon high tea in its light-filled, glass-enclosed patio.

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