Atemporal is a small hotel that aims to make you feel like you are staying with a friend. Its cozy design and friendly staff make it a great place to call home in Lima.
We recently spent some time in Peru enjoying its natural beauty, its history, and ticking things off the bucket list. We saw pretty Cusco with its mix of Spanish and native culture, and we made the obligatory trip to Machu Picchu to see the ruins. While we were in the country though, we had another place we wanted to visit, one whose attractions are perhaps less well known.
Peru’s capital Lima, is a sprawling city and at first glance its appeal might not be immediately obvious. Sure, it has some nice sights and even some beaches, but it's not the first thing most people remember about their trip. Food lovers around the world know of Lima, thanks to its growing reputation for having an exciting and well developed culinary scene. In 2006 at the Fourth International Summit of Gastronomy, it was officially proclaimed to be the food capital of the Americas…and yes the food really is that good.
Think about that for a second. It beat every city in the USA with all its top chefs and restaurants. It beat Mexico with their rich cuisine which has been perfected over millennia. It even beat Buenos Aires, home to some of the finest meat in the world. We are nothing if not food lovers (and we do both have a soft spot for Peruvian food in particular), so we knew that we had to spend some time in the capital, Lima.
While we were there, we wanted to indulge our other soft spot and find an interesting boutique hotel. We found what we were looking for at Atemporal, a small ‘hotelito’ (adding ‘ito’ to the end of Spanish words is a way of implying smallness or cuteness – the hotel only has nine rooms) housed in a converted family mansion.
Lima is still worth a visit even if you are not a foodie. It has a bit of a colonial center with some nice Spanish buildings, as well as some museums where you can learn about the various people who lived in the area before the Europeans arrived. While parts of the city might seem run-down and impoverished, there are some surprisingly modern parts and you can certainly have some fun there.
Most people choose to stay in the district of Miraflores, which is where our hotel was located. This is a fairly upmarket part of the city and has the advantage of being right by the beach. It reminded me a bit of La Jolla or Del Mar, two seaside suburbs of my home town San Diego. There are lots of bars and restaurants here, and there is also some quirky street art dotted around the area.
If I ever fulfill my dream of opening a boutique hotel of my own, I hope it will be as fabulous as Atemporal. From the design, to the service, the food, and even the linens -- we loved it all. Being a converted residential building it feels very homey, and we were made to feel welcome from the beginning. The owners have built on this by creating a concept - or story - which lies behind their design choices.
The idea laid out on their website is that this is the home of a ‘globe-trotting photographer who loves Lima but is hardly ever home’. His staff look after the house and his treasured objects, and you play the role of his friends who he has opened up his home to, in his absence.
The hotel then, is full of interesting pieces of furniture and the walls are covered in artsy photographic prints. It is all very well thought-out, but at the same time it does really feel like it could be the home of an eccentric creative. It’s a designers hotel, but not so much so that it feels stuffy or uncomfortable. In fact, it is incredibly comfortable and all its little corners invite you to sit down and spend some time relaxing. Our favorite spot was outside on the front porch, and we would cozy up there in the evenings to enjoy a Pisco sour, and then again in the mornings for breakfast.
From the outside, the building looks like a typical wealthy suburban family home – as it once was. It has a faux-historic palace look with battlements, exposed timber, and a nice wooden door. It even has a small number of stain-glassed windows. Neat gardens can be found at the front and back with lawns and well kept flowerbeds.
We stayed in one of the Lab+ rooms which was very spacious and had a huge window overlooking the verandah. Again, The design was great with a mixture of differently patterned textiles and modern furniture. Each room is slightly different – in both size and design. They all have a similar aesthetic however, and it makes it feel even more like someone’s home rather than a hotel.
The service at Atemporal is fantastic. The staff were very helpful and welcoming, and they made you feel like you had the whole place to yourself. Another cool feature was the house car. They have a green Mini Cooper complete with chauffeur who will drive you up to four kilometers without charge. We used this service a few times to get to the nearby neighbourhood of Barranco. If you don’t feel like taking the car you can hire one of their bikes, and if you don’t feel like going out at all you can treat yourself to a massage or have a drink at their honesty bar. This is basically a well stocked drinks cabinet from which you can help yourself – just like you might if you were really staying at a good friend's house. They also have a restaurant (and you can order food to your room 24/7), and guests get preferential access to a nearby gym.
We eventually managed to tear ourselves away from the porch and went out to explore the city. We liked Miraflores, it’s a nice place to walk around and the nearby Parque de Amor is a good place to spend a sunny afternoon admiring the sea views. The Larcomar shopping centre is also nearby, situated on a cliffside giving some serious views of the waves below. Barranco is a colorful neighborhood and is definitely worth a look as it's so close. Huaca Pucllana, a complex of ancient ruins which pre-date the Inca is right around the corner from the hotel, and definitely worth a visit.
We also got the chance to try out some of the famous cuisine, and it was as good as we had hoped. We tried many great things but if we had to give one tip it would be to check out any of Gaston Acurio’s restaurants as well as the famed Maido (a Japanese/Peruvian dining experience). These local chefs are doing some interesting new things with traditional Peruvian recipes!
For more information about this hotel please follow the link below