The Dutch owner of the charming "Children's Hotel" says she has a story to tell, and it's certainly an inspirational one. Jolanda van den Berg, in just over a decade in Peru, has mounted a rapidly expanding empire of goodwill through the Foundation Niños Unidos Peruanos: Soon after arriving in Peru, she adopted 12 Peruvian street children, and constructed an extremely warm, stylish, and inviting (not to mention great-value) hotel in the old section of Cusco that puts all its profits toward care for needy children. The project quickly grew to encompass a learning center, two restaurants feeding 500 kids a day, and athletic and day-care facilities with medical attention for other disadvantaged youths of Cusco. The ambitious Niños foundation has now added a second hotel, also in a historic building, and, incredibly, has taken in two more adoptive families (totaling 20 girls and another two boys). On the same street as the second hotel are four terrific apartments for longer stays, ideal for small families.
The good news for travelers is that, if you are lucky enough to get a room (reservations generally must be made about 6 months in advance for high season, though especially in off season it's sometimes possible to score a reservation only days in advance, and occasionally even the day of your arrival), you won't have to suffer for your financial contribution to such an important cause. The main hotel, in a restored colonial house just 10 minutes from the Plaza de Armas, is one of the finest, cleanest, and most comfortable inexpensive inns in Peru. The large rooms -- named for the owner's adopted children -- are minimalist chic, with white-painted hardwood floors and quality beds, and they ring a lovely sunny courtyard, where breakfast is served. The sister hotel, just 2 blocks away, is very similar in style and amenities. An excellent new option, for those also interested in visiting the countryside outside Cusco, is the Niños Hotel Hacienda, a beautiful, rustic inn in the town of Huasao, just 30 minutes from Cusco (rates start at $70/£ 36, including transportation, lunch and dinner, and a tour of the local ruins).
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2010