At Inkaterra, they’d never leave us stranded on a muddy riverbank for more than an hour waiting for a wayward boat.   

At Inkaterra, they provide complimentary flashlights and organic bug repellant.

At Inkaterra, the kerosene lanterns are clean and gleaming, not coated with black soot so thick they barely illuminate the room…

The comparisons kept surfacing. I couldn’t seem to help myself. That’s the problem with great service; you’re forever doomed to compare everything else to that standard. Once spoiled by five-star treatment, every inefficiency and oversight in the competition becomes glaringly obvious.

Such was the case for me recently after two separate stays with Peruvian luxury hotelier, Inkaterra

My first introduction to Inkaterra’s gracious hospitality and exquisite service was a stay at their exclusive 11-suite Cusco hotel, La Casona, as part of a Peru walking tour with luxury adventure travel outfitter, Butterfield & Robinson.

It was easy to be seduced by the warm welcome, spacious suite, elegant bathroom, handcrafted Peruvian textiles, rich colors, historic patinas, lovely antiques, delicious breakfast and free Wi-Fi. But even more impressive was the way the reception staff recognized and welcomed me as a former guest each time I returned over the next three months for a massage appointment or to purchase another bottle of their handcrafted Palo Santo lotion while my husband and I were living in Cusco.


Perhaps it’s their attention to detail that is most impressive. Today, for example, I stopped by the hotel gift shop to purchase an embroidered pillow for a friend’s new house and had some time to kill before an appointment. Can we call you a taxi? Would you like a cup of coca tea while you wait?, they kindly inquired. I’d barely nodded yes and settled on the snug lobby couch before a sweet little side table with steaming mug of coca tea was set up beside me.

So, when it came time to plan a jungle adventure in the remote Peruvian Amazon, it was Inkaterra that we turned to. Three-days at their carbon-neurtral Reserva Amazonica property, at the heart of a 42,000-acre private ecological reserve, was the first stop of an eight-day jungle adventure.

Herein lies the problem. Coming off a pampered stay at Reserva Amazonica, each time there was a delay in our transportation, a lodge gift shop didn’t stock bug repellant (really?) or I endured another cold shower, no matter how much I was enjoying the surroundings, I found myself thinking, at Inkaterra….

Read my full review of Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica lodge at

What about you? Do you have a favorite hotel brand by which all others pale? I’d love to hear about it.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".