Miraflores is where Peru’s richest have been living for hundreds of years. A stay in this ornate converted mansion will give you a taste of how they live.
If you are at all interested in visiting South America, then a stop in Lima, Peru must be included on your itinerary. This capital city is not only home to some eight and a half million residents -- but it is also home to some of the best restaurants in the world. During our visit to Lima, we opted to stay in the upmarket beachside suburb of Miraflores, and it is where many visitors and expats choose to base themselves. In such a sprawling - and not always well connected – city, Miraflores is attractive and within its easily walkable boundaries you can find pretty much everything you need. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and shopping centers to keep you entertained here, and of course the beach.
The neighborhood has always been popular amongst Peru’s more financially blessed inhabitants, and this legacy can be seen in its ‘quintas’ after which the hotel is named. In the early 1900s these rich Miraflorenos, started building a unique style of opulent mansion. Influenced by the Architecture of Europe, they were organized into blocks of several similar houses along a cul-de-sac, and these were given the name quinta.
One set were designed to look like Swiss mountain chalets; another was an ornate imitation of the traditional Spanish style. While they drew on different influences, they were unified by their decorativeness and size. Unfortunately, many of the quintas have been torn down now and replaced with modern apartment blocks, however a few still remain dotted around Miraflores. One of these is the Quinta Leuro, where our hotel was located.
Leuro was built by Italian architect Lidio Mongilardi and combines the designs of the palaces of the Spanish, French, and Italian Mediterranean. It has been declared a heritage monument by Peru’s Ministry of Culture, and a few of its mansions are still lived in today by some of Lima’s high class families.
From the outside the hotel is stunning, thanks to its decorative fascias and terracotta roof tiles. It is housed in one of the smaller buildings of the quinta, and is owned by two Italian ladies who lovingly restored it to its current state. It had just four rooms, making it one of the most exclusive hotels in the city. As you enter you can immediately tell that a lot of work has gone into the restoration, as well as into the design and furnishings. From the white picket fence surrounding the manicured lawns to the beautiful period floor tiles, everything is thought through and adds character.
Most of the colors are subdued and peaceful, with white and other neutral shades covering the walls and ceilings. Every so often however, this is contrasted with a bold piece of furniture such as a set of reupholstered fuchsia chairs. A variety of vintage curios adorn the walls, desks, and mantle-pieces, and in a way these pieces make up the owner’s personal collection. The whole place has a sort of Victorian feel, although this is complimented with some more modern design features.
Each of the four rooms is different and named after the color which is most prominently used within it. There are two suites - ‘orange’ and ‘green’, and two rooms – ‘violet’ and ‘beige’. We stayed in the orange suite. Measuring forty meters squared, it was located on the first floor and overlooks the street outside. During work hours this was pretty busy, but at night it all seemed to calm down and it was pretty quiet – even with the window open.
As you have probably guessed, the dominant colors were orange and white, with the orange being used to accent the sheets and curtains, and also being seen in the wooden floorboards. An interesting feature was the large retro doll house which sat up against one wall next to the fireplace. It’s dolls were scattered around on various surfaces throughout the hotel. The room had all the usual components (wifi, king size bed etc.) and it was a pleasant place to stay, but it would have been nice to have had a more comfortable space to sit.
The bathroom was a particular highlight. It was very light and open, thanks to the large windows which took up most of two of its walls. These – as well as the shower/bath – were hidden by lovely white lace curtains, and the floor was paved with colorful recycled Italian tiles. The bathtub itself was the centerpiece though, and it is an elegant vintage affair that sits up off the ground on its claw feet.
Due to its small size, Quinta operates a bit like a high-class bed and breakfast. Every evening before going to bed, you are asked what you would like for breakfast and whether you would like to eat outside in the garden, or have breakfast in bed. This is a nice touch, and it really makes your stay feel personalized. We would opt for the garden, and our morning meals would consist of fruits, yogurt, fresh pastries, and coffee.
It is not just the breakfast which is personalized however, the staff will go out their way to help you in any way they can and will happily accommodate any personal preferences you have. They are also very knowledgeable when it comes to Lima, and can give you good suggestions on where to go, as well as make you reservations. We told them that we wanted to go try some interesting food and they recommended we try Amaz, an Amazonian restaurant. We took their advice and were glad we did – it was amazing!
From the hotel, it is easy to get out and there are many attractions just a short walk or taxi ride away. You can go shopping at the Larcomar mall, or if you are looking for more traditional items, at the Mercado Indio. You can also stroll down to the seafront where you will find a picturesque cliff-top park as well as the beach.
If you are looking for a cozy hotel where you are guaranteed to get a good night’s sleep, then Quinta is a great option. It’s tiny size means that you get great service, and that it never feels crowded. It would make an ideal place for couples looking for a romantic getaway, or for business travellers wanting to stay in Lima’s most prestigious suburb.