Where is Barranco?
Barranco is in Lima, the capital of Peru. It is located on the seafront, 15 minutes from Miraflores, which is where most tourists stay.
Why stay in Barranco, Lima?
Barranco is the hip part of Lima. Full of art and culture
Barranco a lovely place to stroll around and it feels safe to do so. It has plenty of independent coffee shops, homemade ice cream parlours, restaurants, bars and interesting little shops. And of course, great ocean views.
It is home to MATE, the Mario Testino gallery, the Pedro de Osma Museum and MAC- the contemporary art museum. You can also do cooking classes at a number of sites.
What is the difference between Barranco and Miraflores?
Miraflores for many years was the go-to place for tourists to stay in Lima, Peru. But then Barranco started tidying itself up. Barranco was quite run down until recently. In 2014 Hotel B opened and put Barranco on the map for tourists. Since then other hotels have appeared, and the area has continued to rise in popularity and attractiveness.
Miraflores is much busier in terms of traffic and people and much more commercial. You can find department stores and all the big-name fast-food chains here. It has a lot more options for accommodation than Barranco including high-end chains such as Belmond and JW Marriot, mid-range chains such as Casa Andina, and budget end hostel chains such as Flying Dog, Loki and Pirwa.
Miraflores is rather sleazy around the Parque Kennedy area with a lot of prostitution catering to tourists. And there are a whole host of bars and restaurants catering to the tourists, Irish pubs, free cocktail offers etc. Not all Miraflores is like that, much of it is a quiet residential area. But most of the tourist activity is concentrated close the Parque Kennedy and Larcomar- which is a shopping mall. And why travel to Peru to go to a shopping mall?
The good things about Miraflores
The Malecon or seafront promenade of Miraflores is very nice and full of locals jogging, skating, riding bikes or taking their kids to play. The Parque del Amor has some beautiful statues by local artist Victor Delfin. Sunset from this area over the ocean is great too, and you can watch the surfers below.
Miraflores does feel safe- and has a lot of security presence. There were however a couple of robberies of tourists at gunpoint outside high-end hotels at the start of 2019.
A stay in Barranco, by contrast, will feel much less like you are in a tourist hub. It feels much less commercial and more laid back. Bohemian is the word many people use and I would agree. There is less traffic and you are right next to the ocean, with the open vistas and sense of space that gives.
Barranco originally rose to prominence in the late 19th century which is when the buildings that the hotels we recommend were first constructed. Although they were not constructed as hotels but as holiday homes and weekend retreats by the sea for the well off residents of Lima.
Then for many years Barranco was a bit run down and forgotten. It became the area of Lima where the artists lived. They had the sea for inspiration, and as the area was run down, the houses were cheap. Like most rundown areas populated by artists, it was only a matter of time before they became trendy again.
Which hotels to stay at in Barranco
These are the 3 hotels I recommend. I stayed in Casa Republica and Villa Barranco this week. And stayed in all 3 one year ago. So they are recommendations based on personal experience. We have also sent many clients to all 3. While there are a few other boutique hotels in the area, most would consider these the 3 top hotels for a stay in Barranco.
Our three recommended Barranco hotels are Hotel B, Casa Republica and Ananay Villa Barranco.
All are located within a block of each other close to the seafront – which depending on the day can be lovely or can mean you are shrouded in a mist, as with the whole coastline around here.
All three started small and have/are in the process of, expanding, as it is very hard to make money being a small boutique hotel.
Hotel B– currently 20 rooms, with plans for a few more
Casa Republica– 22 rooms
Ananay Villa Barranco– currently 9 rooms, will have 18 when they have finished renovating the house next door- expected for late 2020.
All have at least one set of connecting rooms that will work for families.
Hotel B is the hotel that brought tourism to Barranco. They started it all in 2014. A quick internet search will show a huge variety of articles in all the trendy fashion and travel magazines.
It was a visionary move and one that can only be done by certain people. It required the know-how and the attention to detail as well as the ability to secure the necessary finance to build a luxury hotel in an area that was at the time quite rundown and a little dodgy.
The entry-level rooms are very small indeed but like the other two hotels, this is a historical house with restrictions as to what you can alter.
It is on the busiest road of the 3 hotels, so there can be more traffic noise than the other 2, but not too bad.
It has a lovely restaurant and a beautiful cocktail bar, where well-heeled locals pop in. Waiters stand around in white tuxedos and female receptionists wear little black dresses.
Who is Hotel B for?
If you live in Manhatten, Shoreditch or Canary Wharf, love modern art or simply spend lots of time thinking about what to wear, then you will love it.
If you are a down to earth, don`t like fuss kind of person, you may find it all a bit over the top. Equally if you are not into food, design or art, perhaps your money is better spent elsewhere.
The walls are covered in modern art, part of the hotel was once the gallery of one of the owners. Personally, I prefer my art with a bit more breathing space between pieces, there is a lot crammed in here.
Hotel B is the most expensive of the three Barranco hotels, over twice as expensive as the other two. But for the right person, this is the perfect place to stay and for some, it will be an absolute highlight.
They set out to do luxury in a certain style and they do it very well. Its hip, its trendy, its cool, the service is great. And it is good for bragging rights as it is the Lima hotel your friends are most likely to have read about.
Like the other two, it is based on a beautiful old building which they renovated. It is located two doors down from Hotel B on the Boulevard Saenz Pena, a wide street which runs down to the sea and has a big central walkway area with seating and trees.
Rafael, the hotel manager will sit and chat with guests over coffee, welcoming guests into the house and finding out a bit more about them. The decoration is modern with some nice bits of art scattered around- but not as much so as Hotel B. They are two different concepts and two different budgets. The rooms do not particularly stand out from each other, but are nice and comfortable and feel airy.
There are two parts to the hotel. The front building is the original and this year they completed a modern extension behind. There is a garden in the middle. The rooms in the modern part do not have the history, but they are very comfortable and well sized. Obviously, the furnishings are the decor is not quite the same
The reception and original building
My favourite is still the original building. I love the spaciousness and sense of airiness you get as you walk in, with its big central atrium running up to the ceiling and rooms on the balconies around it on each floor. This gives plenty of light. Reception is a table in the middle of the room, with comfortable sofas nearby for guests. The staff dress very smartly, much like Hotel B.
The breakfast buffet is good and varied and the restaurant does food at night, with plans to open it at lunchtime soon. There is a bar in the garden, open till about 10 pm so as not to disturb guests. The barman is good.
So at half the price of Hotel B, this is a very nice new option, and you will be sure to receive a warm welcome and good service. It clearly does not attain the level that B does, but then it is not trying to. It is about feeling comfortable and relaxed in a building with a sense of history and a relevant modern-day style at a good price point. And that is something they do very well.
Ananay Villa Barranco
This is located around the corner from the other two, on a quieter street and even closer to the sea.
Who owns Villa Barranco?
The hotel is part of the small Ananay group. It is run by two of the partners- husband and wife team Patricio and Silvia. They spend a lot of time sitting and chatting with guests, which makes all the difference.
Ananay also owns Palacio Manco Capac, which has a similar style in Cusco and are working on another hotel in Arequipa to be called Palacio Conde Guaqui, due to open in 2020. In addition, they own two lower-cost options in Cusco: Quinta San Blas and Casa Esmeralda.
As Patricio puts it, they know how to do luxury, but did not want to do that. This is about feeling like you are staying with family.
Patricio managed the Belmond Monasterio and Sanctuary Lodge hotels when they were owned by Orient Express. He has worked in such classic British hotels such as the Dorchester. So his idea of a good hotel appears to be timeless class, rather than the other two hotels which are more about being hip. Silvia his wife, worked in management for Orient Express and Marriot. So between them, they know a lot about running good hotels well.
What is the feel of Villa Barranco?
The staff dress casually in polo shirts and are efficient and good to chat to. It all helps to make you feel instantly at home, the kind of place you can snuggle up on the sofa with a good book. It is about the same price as Casa Republica and half the price of Hotel B.
Rooms and furnishings like in Villa Barranco
Each room is unique, the floor tiles are lovely, and were made by Eric, their partner in the Casa Esmeralda hotel in Cusco, the taps and sinks all came from Italy and the furniture was sourced over the years by one of the other partners.
One of the other partners is an avid collector of curiosities and antiquities. So there are some fascinating pieces of furniture and objects throughout the hotel which add to its charm.
Heavy dignified furniture, that you can imagine would have looked just as right when the building was built one hundred years ago as it does now. The decor has plenty of curiosities that provoke conversation or transport you to moments in your youth. The keys and door handle for instance- they took me back to my Grandma´s house, big solid keys that locked with a clunk.
This is a hotel you will remember for a long time. It simply gets the little things right.
None of these hotels will disappoint. As long as you choose the right one for you. You get a more special experience staying in Barranco than can be found in Miraflores.
If you are only stopping in Lima for a night due to flight connections, then perhaps the airport hotel is the best option to save you a 45 minute to 1 hr drive each way.
But if you want to experience and enjoy Lima, I highly recommend any of these three hotels.
I only wish there more hotels and hoteliers like these in the rest of Peru.0