Still a grand old hotel!
Was there in May 2006
The Gran Hotel Bolivar is still a Grand old hotel albeit a bit worn and now down to only a 3 rating (short on amenities, so bring your own shampoo, etc.) but beautiful if you like antiques and historical sites. The restaurant was nice and service good.
Our room was clean but a little warm because A/C did not mean cool, just air. The water went off twice, but worked most of the time and the hot water was hot.
The location was great just as we had heard...just 3-4 blocks from the
Presidential Palace and a Cathedral with catacombs as well as the oldest library we have ever seen!
The streets along the way were lined with shops and restaurants and if you go, take a look at the tops of the buildings housing
those shops and restaurants, the architecture is quite beautiful.
If a taxi is needed they're very reasonable and the drivers are friendly and helpful (if you speak spanish). One drove us to the Port of Callao and nearby small town of Barranco where he got out of the taxi and walked us down to a picturesque lane that led to a look out cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Another, took us to Miraflores where we got off at Larcomar (a tourist spot) where we had a nice buffet lunch at Mango's out on the edge overlooking the ocean. An hour or so into the meal the fog rolled in and completely engulfed everything below us (including a lovely restaurant that was situated out IN the ocean)!
We travelled by plane (TACA) to Cusco on modern planes which the airline claimed to be state of the art. The service was
fine for the short 1 hour flight, contrary to what we heard prior.
Then a clean and comfortable train (Peru Rail) took us from Cusco to Machu Picchu, they even served us a snack meal, as
good as what you get on airplanes these days! Of course the scenery was fantastic! At the base of Machu Picchu we changed to a shiny new Mercedes bus to enjoy the rest of
the ride up to Machu Picchu. The transportation was quite new for a seemingly poor country.
The 'piste de resistance'...Machu Picchu, simply breathtaking and luckily the weather could not have been better.
After a few hours of climbing in the high altitude, we finished the day with a relaxing lunch at the Sanctuary Lodge Restaurant and unfortunately, managed to find some rather lovely desserts to top it off.
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