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Hotel Review: Antigua Casona San Blas, Cusco, Peru

Fresh herbal tea waiting in my room after a day of hiking, coziness under alpaca blankets by the bonfire with a Cusco Sour in hand, right down to the long-time guests in the garden (you’ll see what I mean), if your Guide is looking for a hotel in Cusco, Peru, this is where I stay. This post does include affiliate links for Booking. It’s what I used to book my stay and I would happily stay at the Antigua again. Here’s my review of Antigua Casona San Blas

Cozy on the top of the world

There’s a style of coziness you’ll experience throughout the Sacred Valley and Cusco region. It’s sipping coca tea in the morning, warm blankets under crisp blue sky in an open courtyard, perfectly laid stone foundations and plaster walls and natural wood beams, a snack of purple roast potatoes with mountain herbs, it’s the kindness of Andean hospitality, and the confidence of being the center of a culture that created wonders of our world. 

Antigua Casona really captures that coziness and confidence. The hotel is designed with a series of interconnected open-air courtyards and walkways, lined with contemporary local art and antiques. The rooms center around big beds with comforters and alpaca blankets (and more alpaca blankets waiting nearby). It’s quiet. It’s delicious. The service is friendly and personal. The hotel is small enough that you can get to know the people working there and they know you. It’s a hotel experience unique to Cusco. 

The Antigua Casona is on a narrow brick and stone street that leads to San Blas Square. Like many buildings in Cusco, the plain exterior hides the secret gardens and courtyards inside.

Taking advantage of Cusco’s weather, much of the hotel interior is both indoors and outdoors. Walking through the hotel, you’re in constantly transitioning spaces–you’ll be in an art gallery one moment, then turn a corner to discover a small garden open to the sky above, walk up a staircase to a yoga studio, down a hallway and you’re on the edge of expansive courtyard garden. 

The rooms at the Antigua Casona San Blas have a traditional atmosphere to them–antiqued furniture, lots of wood and stone. The bathrooms are completely modern and spacious, with sustainable, naturally-sourced toiletries for the rainfall shower.

Breakfast at Piedra y Sal

Piedra y Sal is Antigua Casona‘s restaurant. It’s a fine dining restaurant–big plush chairs, walls of wine and pisco. It reminded me of some restaurants I’ve been to in Chicago on business trips. For a more casual experience, you can just sit out in the courtyard and order any of the food from the restaurant as well. The chocolate mousse dessert is astounding. I ate it twice.

For breakfast, the restaurant is reserved for guests. It is an a la carte menu of upscaled versions of breakfast classics from around the Americas. I only grabbed video of my breakfast but I did capture screenshots of the menu you can find after the photo of the restaurant’s interior: 

Antigua Casona's turndown service

I stayed at Antigua Casona because I was doing a day-trip to Saqsaywaman and the archeological sites around it. When I returned from a long day of hiking up in the hills over Cusco, there was herbal tea waiting in my room. The team at Antigua Casona does a very cozy turndown service, complete with hot water bottle tucked into the bed. 

In the evenings, grab a seat by the fire pits in the courtyard. There’s a cocktail on the menu they call a “Cusco Sour”. It’s the classic pisco sour but with coca leaves macerated in the pisco. It goes really well with that chocolate mousse.

The garden has some long-term guests

My room faced west, towards the setting sun, looking out onto a garden with water running in stone channels through neat beds of high-altitude plants. And in the red painted wall, I noticed two pale dots. This is one of the few places in the world where you might see this type of decoration in a hotel and it wouldn’t seem out-of-place: there were two human skulls in the wall. 

I asked the concierge about them and he explained that they’d been found when renovations were happening on the original building. It had been standing here for more than a hundred years and nobody knows how long there’d been people living at this site. What is now the San Blas church, just a minute walk down the street, was one of the first churches built by Spanish invaders, and they had built it on top of an Incan temple. The area around Antigua Casona has been an important area and a settled area for a very long time. 

When they found the skulls on site, nobody was sure of the original reason for them being buried there, so it might’ve been bad luck to move them. They’ve remained there to protect the guests.

How is Antigua Casona for digital nomads?

From the main courtyard and particularly the bar/library, the internet is excellent. During the day time, the library overlooking the courtyard is for people that want a place to work. When I was there, there were always several people in there on their laptops. 

I did do a livestream from the courtyard one evening (and go the chocolate mousse while I answered questions on Instagram). The internet was not that great in my room, though, and if I hadn’t just been doing a day hike, I would’ve had to use my GlocalMe mobile hotspot to do client calls. 

Location & Price

Location: In the San Blas area of Cusco, right around the corner from the San Blas market, next door to popular plant-based restaurant Green Point, and away from the touristiness of Plaza de Armas, I’d say it’s in the best type of location. You’re an easy walk from everything you’d want to see, but you’re also in a traditional Cusco neighborhood.

Carmen Bajo 243, Cusco 08003, Perú Google Maps Link

Price: The room I had is the “traditional”. It’s around $200 US per night if you use Booking’s membership discount. There are larger rooms and suites that run around $250-$300 per night. All stays include breakfast.

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2 thoughts on “Hotel Review: Antigua Casona San Blas, Cusco, Peru”

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