From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:No longer the sole preserve of backpackers and climbers, the Peruvian Andes have recently been crowned with luxurious retreats like this remote Orient-Express outpost in Colca Canyon, which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. It's tough to access (a three-hour drive from the nearest airport, in Arequipa) but worth the detour. While other area hotels are lavishly refurbished colonial villas, this one goes native. Twenty discrete chalets sit halfway up the canyon, sharing the altitude with soaring condors. Rooms, furnished in earthy colors with a pastoral polish, are supremely yet simply comfortable: a terra-cotta bowl of corn cobs, a vase of wild grasses, a panier of logs. Nights can be chilly at 9,800 feet above sea level, so you'll find wood-burning fireplaces, heated laja-stone floors, and piping-hot plunge pools on the private terraces. Staff slip a woolen hot water bottle between the bedsheets in the evening. Adventure here is the alpaca-soft sort, with eager-to-please local guides, support vehicles (carrying oxygen), and gourmet picnic meals. Or just look up and wish upon a shooting star in the gin-clear southern sky. The remote setting ensures glimpses of traditional Quechuan life, with the men embroidering and the women working the land, and the organic garden means fresh ingredients for local dishes like quinoa soup, stuffed peppers, and grilled guinea pig.2009 Hot List
When to go: Avoid the December through March rains but come soon after, when the canyon is at its greenest.
Which room to book: The presidential casita has the most space, but the standard Casita 28 is perfectly oriented for sunsets.Subscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›