Well, few would look at a 1940s-vintage house like this, above, and think that it could make a luxury hotel. But entrepreneur Ignacio Masias took up the challenge, when the 94-year old owner said please look after my house to stop it being developed into apartments or something (in Peru, buildings are automatically inherited by all descendants). Ergo, clever Ignacio Masias, with the help of his designer-sister Sandra Masias and their mutual friend, architect Jordi Puig, was thus able to open the nine-bedroom Atemporal (‘timeless’) in Lima’s Miraflores area. The first guests arrived August 2016 and the hotel is the only entity in South America, says the gal, to appear in Condé Nast Traveler‘s best-new list for 2017.
Atemporal gets a consistent five in TripAdvisor, with reviews saying this is a home away from home, except I wish my home WERE like this, and similar praises. The nine rooms are frankly tiny but they maximise space so cleverly. Mine had an end wall of mirrored panels: slide them across to reveal a shower, three feet wide, and, the same width, a toilet and basin. Instead of a safe, there are two locking drawers under the bed frame. No minibar? Never fear, a 24/7 hot and cold beverage corner, with office and library elements, occupies the landing at the top of the 20 stairs up from the ground floor. There is another such set-up, with honour bar, on that ground floor, in the all-purpose living room just behind the main entrance lobby.
I took one of the two persimmon-coloured city bikes, for the ten-minute ride along Santa Cruz to the coastal road along from San Isidro to Miraflores. Signposting is really clear, and Ricardo Garcia, one of the two charming main reception managers, recommended I ride on the pavements. It was a great ride as Santa Cruz seems to host side by side superior beauty and esthetic establishments, with a bit of yoga thrown in, plus a Wöng supermarket that makes David Jones, Harrods Food Hall and Whole Foods look like Walmart as the assistants are all in scarlet uniforms, the women in matching lipstick and bun rings for their minutely-neat hair. I could have taken one of Atemporal’s city-wide hotspot WiFis (free, like international calls in the hotel itself). I could have asked for a lift in the courtesy Mini Clubman… I could have read the hotel’s books, on any subject under the (currently hidden) sun…
Dinner was with Ignacio Masias, inspirational as ever. We went to his earlier Lima hotel, Hotel B, originally to be Hotel Barranco but a brothel had taken that name. Since he had already had a large B painted on that 1914-vintage edifice, that stuck. Now owned by the de La Puente family and if anything, over-filled with art, I found Hotel B rather overkill and could not wait to what I truly consider a luxury hotel, Atemporal – it is so comfortable, it moulds itself to what YOU want and I love the way Ricardo, after decades of formality working in hotels in the US, is now so obviously comfortable clad, like his nine colleagues, in loose dark jacket and chinos, a white shirt, and white sneakers. And, by the way, not only does the complimentary wine-tasting hour last for more than two hours, with a Pisco lesson on the side if you want, but breakfast is divine. I sat on a rocker on the back porch, at a table set with pristine white linens and wood Peugeots, and Edwardian floral china from England, had masses of papaya and chunks of avocado, with lime, and toasted wholemeal bread and my eggs were … perfect. NOW A TOUR OF DOWNSTAIRS, AND THEN UPSTAIRS