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A stunning spread of ruins set high on a mountain summit, Machu Picchu would have amazing hotels if only there were room for them. Instead, most cluster in nearby Aguas Calientes, a frenetic tourist center where numerous hotels range from the budget basic to the upscale. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the five best places to stay near the Machu Picchu ruins.
1. Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. There is only one hotel adjacent to the actual ruins, and this small lodge operated by the luxury tour company Orient-Express is it. Deluxe rooms have views of the verdant mountains and are superior to alternatives that overlook the hotel courtyard.
2. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. This place offers a cosseting luxury experience in Aguas Calientes, perched above the Urubamba River that cuts through the mountains. Fine touches like alpaca blankets and local crafts in all rooms make this stay a bit more unique than what you'd find at a typical luxury hotel.
3. Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel. This luxe hotel’s architecture reflects that of Machu Picchu with intricate stonework and a cantilevered structure. Eat at the scenic restaurant or recoup at the full service spa. The Aguas Calientes location is within walking distance of the train station.
4. Rupa Wasi Lodge. A five-room inn just off the main square of Aguas Calientes, Rupa Wasi Lodge is all about personal, attentive service. Ask for an upper room for fantastic views of the region. Rooms have a tree-house feel with modern wood décor and wide open windows. Sign on for a cooking lesson at the hotel's own Tree House Restaurant.
5. La Cabana Hotel. This is a cozy and colorful option in Aguas Calientes, and staffers are happy to come meet arriving guests at the train station to assist with any luggage — a helpful service at any elevation but particularly welcome here, high in the mountains.