on September 20, 2006
This is a bit more than a hostel, not quite a hotel. The name Rumi Punku means ‘stone doorway’, and walking up Choquechaca, one of the main, steep routes out of the main square of Cusco you could easily miss the unprepossessing entrance. It is a classical Inca trapezoid doorway that disguises what lies beyond.Arranged around two courtyards and gardens and across two floors and apparently converted from an old colonial building, the rooms at Rumi Punku are comfortable and functional. At $40 per night for a double in the low season they are very good value for money if perhaps out of the range of the budget of a traditional backpacker. The facilities however are well ahead of what the rate may indicate. The rooms are a decent size, all with private bathrooms, cable TV and central heating. Believe me, this may be near the equator, but you are at some altitude here and the nights can get quite cold at all times of year. A buffet breakfast is also included in the daily rate.There is a communal TV room where, if the mood takes you, you can mix with the other guests, play a selection of games, or catch up on a bit of web surfing. Unfortunately while I was there I was way too exhausted for that, coping with jet lag and altitude, so apart from a peek around the door, I didn't really have this experience.According to their website they now have a Finnish sauna and jacuzzi. That would have got an extra grade of recommendation from me had it been there for my visit. Perfect, I should imagine, for a bit of relaxation and bodily adjustment.Rumi Punku was our first stop in Cusco and was an excellent introduction to what the city has to offer. Winding up the vertiginous streets, acclimatising gradually, on the so slow journey, we were rewarded at the hotel with some spectacular views. There are two lovely roof terraces and on arrival we were treated to our first tea made with fresh coca leaves to aid relaxation as we looked out across Cusco and contemplated the pleasures of the Amazon basin and the Inca Trail still to come.
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