This small hotel began as a rest stop for railway workers in the 1920s, and was bought by Wendy Weeks in the 1970s, with the idea of opening it as a hotel. Located at Ollantaytambo train station, it makes a good base for excursions into the Sacred Valley's towns, villages and archaeological sites, cycling, horse riding and river rafting, and is just an hour's journey from Machu Picchu.
The gardens are beautiful, filled with fragrance from flowers and fruit trees which attract hummingbirds, and have hammocks where you can lie back and doze. The eucalyptus steam sauna is a great place to rest and re-energise after busy time out exploring. Or if you feel like exerting yourself, why not make use of the hotel's mountain bikes, free for guests to use?
Rooms are homely. Wooden furniture, polished floors and chunky beams give them a pleasantly rustic feel, and colourful paintings, textiles and fresh flowers add warmth. There is a range of room types and the new casita, a two-bedroomed unit with its own dining area and kitchen where guests can prepare their own food using fresh produce from the owner's farm, is an attrractive option for those desiring an element of independence.
Breakfast is included, and consists of yoghurt, cereal, fresh fruit and cooked eggs, fruit juice and coffee. The restaurant is open till 9pm, serving lunch, dinner and a full range of snacks, much of which uses vegetables grown on the owners' nearby organic farm. While here you should set aside timr to sample the Pachamanca lunch, a traditonal hearty Andean meal cooked on hot rocks served on picnic tables on the farm.
Open: El Albergue is open all year.
Location: El Albergue is on the platform of Ollantaytambo train station in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Ollantaytambo Inca temple is just 10 minutes’ walk away along a private path. Machu Picchu can be reached in 75 minutes by train. The nearest airport is in Cusco about a 90 minute drive away.
Rooms: There are 16 rooms. These are made up of standard and superior categories. Standard rooms are on the second floor of the main building above the entrance, restaurant and cafe. and have 2 singles or a double bed, private bathroom, safe, bottled water and free wifi. Superior rooms consist of garden and balcony rooms in a second building. These all have one queen bed and one twin bed. Garden rooms have the option to add an additional twin bed. The casita is perfect for families or guests who desire extra space, and features two bedrooms and an en-suite bathroom. Surrounded by lush gardens, the casita has views of the surrounding mountains and Inca terraces and is equipped with a private kitchen and dining area.
Activities: Explore the Inca ruins and town at Ollantaytambo, take excursions to see the historic sites and visit villages of the Scared Valley, including Machu Picchu. It is possible to go hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and white water rafting. Try a Pachamanca lunch on the hotel’s farm, a meal cooked in an oven built with fire-heated stones, served with fresh salads and sauces, plus the chance to help out on the farm for a while if you wish. Hotel staff can arrange guides, activities and transport as required.
Facilities: The hotel has a restaurant cum café, open from 5am till 9pm daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks. The courtyard garden is full of passionflowers, fuchsias, peach and avocado trees, plus many hummingbirds. There is a wood stove sauna, free for guests to use. The hotel has its own coffee roastery and distillery. There is a free luggage storage facility, and room service. The hotel offers a laundry service.
Dining: Breakfast is served at individual tables in the restaurant and is included in the room rate. This consists of cooked eggs, fresh fruit, yoghurt, granola, fruit juice and coffee. Other meals and snacks are available, pay locally.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Health: The Sacred Valley is a non-malarial area.
Communication: There is free wifi internet access.