Family Hotel Review: Tierra Viva Saphi, Cusco, Peru
Positioned in a quiet corner of historic Cusco is this renovated colonial residence that provides an excellent base for families.
Best For: Cusco on your doorstep; kids of all ages.
Reviewed by: Victoria Westmacott
Why You’ll Love It
We stayed two nights at the Tierra Viva Saphi and it made a great base from which to explore characterful Cusco. The hotel is positioned within a renovated colonial residence dating back to the 17th century but while the exterior is rustic the interiors are modern and light.
The 21-room hotel is located in a quiet area of historic Cusco, just a 10-minute walk from Plaza de Armas, the main square home to the capital’s grand cathedral. Our room, a Superior Double, overlooked the street and was very quiet. Granted, this was no 5th Avenue but it was only when a Semana Santa parade, complete with brass band, came marching beneath our window one night that we realised how good the sound-proofing was!
Much like Tierra Viva’s property in Aguas Calientes, this hotel is a great place from which to explore the area on your doorstep. What’s more, the chain prides itself on its service and hospitality and the staff at Tierra Viva Saphi could not have been more accommodating to our needs.
Why The Kids Will Love It
Tierra Viva Saphi is not a ‘family-friendly’ hotel in the traditional sense. There’s no swimming pool, no kid’s menu (it operates on a B&B basis) and there’s certainly no kids’ club but despite all this we really enjoyed our time here. In fact my daughter wishes we could have stayed longer!
The hotel is small, quiet and very inviting. At the end of a long day pounding Cusco’s cobbled streets it was nice to go back to a place where you could just relax. The staff made a huge effort to make us feel at home (including bending their extra bed policy for us) and my kids spent ages chatting to them (particularly Ivon, the long-suffering receptionist!).
There’s free WiFi and Muña tea available 24/7 at reception – my son couldn’t get enough of it!
A couple of things to note:
Tierra Viva have another property in the centre of Cusco but the rooms are smaller and being so central means that it’s noisier.
Cusco sits at 3,400 metres (11.150ft) high and it’s very important to factor in time to acclimatise. Altitude sickness is very real at this height. The hotel does have free oxygen to hand if needed. We visited Cusco at the end of our 8-day holiday so we didn’t experience any problems but we did have to keep reminding the children to take it easy!
The 21 rooms are all decorated in a similar style; whitewashed walls, white sheets and white bathrooms! Everything is clean, fresh and modern and the rooms are very comfortable. The rooms and corridors are decorated with artwork from The Centre for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, which is a nice touch.
There are four categories of room:
Single: Ensuite bedroom for one person furnished with a Queen bed, TV, telephone, heating, desk, hair dryer and safe.
Double: Identical to the Single bedrooms but with either two twin beds or a King size bed.
Superior Double: These rooms are marginally bigger and include a breakfast area and bathrobes in addition to the amenities mentioned above.
Suite: The biggest rooms available these bedrooms enjoy a small living room.
Best Rooms For Families: One extra bed is permitted per room although if you have more than one child then it’s worth talking to the hotel to see if they can accommodate an additional extra bed (particularly if the children are young). Any of the rooms work well for families although if you are travelling with older children then you will need to take two adjacent rooms (there are no inter-connecting rooms).
Tierra Viva Saphi operates on a bed and breakfast basis only.
Breakfast The breakfast buffet opens at 5am and is available until 10am. The buffet plays hosts to all the usual suspects; cereal, toast, fruit, juices, eggs etc..
Lunch & Dinner The nearest restaurants are a 10-minute walk although the hotel can arrange for a takeaway pizza or Peruvian food. I would definitely recommend heading into town, however, as there are some excellent restaurants.
Activities for the family
There are no activities within the hotel but there is plenty to do in Cusco and the surrounding area. We hired a car, driver and guide for the day and visited Inca ruins at Tambomachy, Pucapucara, Oengo, Sacsayhuaman. We also spent a lot of time hugging llamas!
See our Top 10 Things to do in Cusco with kids for more ideas!
A/C, common rooms, cots available, doctor on call, 1 extra bed permitted in each room, heating, laundry, pushchair-friendly, travel desk, WiFi (complimentary and available throughout the property).
Rates start from US $70 for a single room and $80 for a double. Rates include breakfast but do not include 18% sales tax (IGV). Note that this tax is only applicable to Peruvians and foreign nationals spending more than 60 consecutive days in Peru. To avoid this tax, foreigners must present their Customs stamped Andean Immigration Card (TAM) at check-in as well as their Customs stamped original passport.
When to go:
Peak season for this region is May to October (the dry season or ‘winter’ in the Southern Hemisphere), with the greatest number of visitors in July and August. During this season the days are usually clear and sunny with chilly nights, especially at high altitudes. The days surrounding the Christmas and Easter holidays are also busy.
The rainy season (‘summer’) runs from November through March (January and February are usually the wettest months). This period sees dramatic price drops and less crowds but flooding and landslides are common.
Location & Travel:
Tierra Viva Saphi is located in the historic town of Cusco at 766 Calle Saphi. It is located a 10 minute walk from the main square.
The airport, Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) is approximately 30 mins away. Airport transfer is included in the hotel rates.
Take a video tour of Tierra Viva Saphi, Cusco, Peru
Contact The Hotel
For more information or to make a booking enquiry, visit the hotel’s own website by following the link below:
Reviewer’s Top Tips!
1) Visit the Choco Museo to learn how chocolate is made, and for a mid-morning chocolate fix!
2) The headquarters for The Centre for Traditional Textiles of Cusco is in Cusco and worth a visit. Not only is it a great community initiative to support but their textiles are some of the best we came across in Peru.
3) Introduce your children to chicha morada – the sweet Peruvian drink made from blue corn. They’ll love it!
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