Happy Thanksgiving to my US-based readers! I’m incredibly depressed to be spending the holidays away from my family, so if you need me I’ll be spending the day eating a turkey sandwich, making pathetic attempts at streaming the Macy’s Day Parade, and sobbing into Skype.
Something I’m thankful for this year? The fact that my job occasionally involves visits to thoughtfully designed, beautifully executed boutique hotels around the world (and yes, I do in fact realize the incredible irony in bookending a tirade about competitive cheapness between two posts about luxury properties).
My original plan for Lake Titicaca was to stay at a marginally-reviewed hostel in infamously dumpy Puno and spend as much time as possible on the lake’s famous islands. However, a few days before arrival Zoe and I were invited to the remote Titilaka, one of the lake’s most unique lodging choices. This small luxury property is an hour via unpaved dirt roads from downtown Puno in sense of time, but worlds away in terms of atmosphere.
Here, in the seclusion of a tucked away bank of South America’s largest lake and the world’s highest navigable one, we found more peace and relaxation than we’d had anywhere in Peru.
The property is simply exquisite. I loved the fresh and bold color choices like black walls and bright pink pillows, the strikingly modern furniture choices and the funky special touches like Barbie dolls dressed in locally-inspired outfits and encased under glass. Local handicrafts, like the weaving the area is renown for, were incorporated in a way that was anything but stale. And of course, there was the lake — it was impossible to ever forget the fantastic setting we were in thanks to wrap-around windows in every single room on the property.
I couldn’t have dreamed up a more stylish interpretation of a Barbie-laced lakeside cabin had I tried.
Because of the remote location of the hotel, all room rates include all meals, as well as a daily cocktail hour and two glasses of fine South American wine with dinner. Menus featured local delicacies — Zoe tried an alpaca carpaccio — and we didn’t grow tired of dining from the same kitchen even after three nights.
If there is one area of improvement for the Titilaka, it is that presentation of food was inconsistent — some dishes were artfully and colorfully arranged while others were simply white pasta plopped in a white bowl.
When we weren’t out on one of the hotel’s many daily excursions — which you’ll hear more about tomorrow — we were lounging around Titilaka, soaking in the beautiful views, and reaching nirvana-like levels of relaxation. We joked that there were too many inviting places in the hotel to sit — we’d never in three days manage to fully appreciate resting our bums in each of them!
While the property was relatively small, so were the number of guest rooms, and so the hotel never felt crowded. Often I felt that we were all guests at the private home of an incredibly stylish friend rather than hotel customers.
Out of all the many spots to enjoy, my favorite was our room, one of only eighteen on the property. The layout meant that whether I was working on my laptop from the daybed, drifting off to an afternoon nap under the duvet or taking luxuriously long shower, I was always looking out at the beautiful expanses of Lake Titicaca.
Simple yet seemingly indulgent special touches included fresh flowers, hot water bottles at turndown, and an all-inclusive mini-bar shelf (though a mini fridge would be a nice addition for all the bottled drinks).
The final area of this virtual tour of the hotel is the excursion center, where guests plan their activities exploring the waters and shores of Lake Titicaca. In just a few days, Zoe and I managed to squeeze in quite a few, including a biking adventure and a trip to the famous Isla Taquille — stay tuned for more!
During our visit, one of the tour guides told me the average length of a visit to Lake Titicaca for international tourists is only one night. I was shocked to hear it — surely this special place is worthy of a few more than that? Luckily guests to Titilaka stay for an average of two to three times that long. I can see why. I can’t imagine a visit to Peru without stopping at this beautiful lake, and I can’t imagine a more unique base to experience it from.
Many thanks to Titilaka for their generous hospitality. I was a guest of the hotels in order to promote them on this site and through my freelancing outlets. As always, you receive my thorough and honest opinions regardless of who is footing the bill.