The new 301-room Westin Lima Hotel & Convention Center stands 30 stories high, making it the tallest building in the country. It is considered a landmark by many in Peru, boasting South America’s largest convention space and the city’s largest urban spa. We spoke to Trip Barrett, vice president of marketing for Latin America, who told us about a few more selling points, as well as some fun pre/post options that almost had us on the next flight down!
Prevue: Where is the hotel in Lima?
Trip: The hotel is ideally located in the business financial district of San Isidro, between Miraflores and the colonial historical downtown. It has great access to the main highway that dissects Lima and it’s only 30 minutes from the airport, so it’s in a really great location. San Isidro also has really great shopping and restaurants in the area, as well, for people to enjoy.
What are the top selling points for meeting planners in the U.S.?
First of all, this is the largest meeting and convention hotel in Lima. It also has the largest convention space of all the hotels in South America. The hotel itself has 301 rooms, of which there are 31 suites, and an unbelievable presidential suite that is over 2,800 sf, two ambassador suites and executive suites.
We also have an executive club floor level, which has 34 guest rooms and a separate executive club lounge on the 29 floor, which offers unbelievable expansive views of all of Lima, all the way out to the coast.
The convention space is something Lima’s been needing. It’s got over 28,000 sf of meeting space and can accommodate up to 2,000 people. In addition it has a total of 13 different potential breakouts of the meeting space. You can either use the large break-out for 2,000 or break that big hall into five separate areas, which has a total of 13 different meeting areas.
What about the spa? We’ve heard it’s great!
We have the Heavenly Spa. This is the largest urban spa in Lima with 17 different treatment rooms and a menu that is very indigenous to the Peruvian culture with over 100 different treatments. So your groups that go there have great meetings facilities as well as fantastic options for relaxation during the stay.
There’s also a tremendous Westin workout facility that’s brand new and state-of-the-art. It has cardio and strength machines. There’s an indoor pool for people to enjoy who are not interested in doing the weight side of exercising.
And then there are two full-service restaurants. There’s the 24-hour restaurant called 77O Market and the signature restaurant, with a well-known and talented chef, Rafael Piqueras, called Maras. It’s Peruvian traditional food, just an unbelievable menu. The textures and the pairings he does are stunning. I just went last week and it’s one of those places where you come out and go, “Oh, wow, I’ve eaten well!” and it’s nice portions that tickle your palate.
Sounds amazing! Anything cool for groups to check out in the area?
Lima is one of those cities that is not very well discovered. It’s got an unbelievable amount of history to it. The historical downtown, which is 20 minutes away and very easily accessible, has some very beautiful plazas, a cathedral, ornate government buildings, the Modern Art Museum of Lima, as well as the Colonial Art Museum. People who are interested in the cultural side of Lima can see all of that.
There’s also a pre-hispanic pyramid that has been discovered and they’re slowly doing the recovery of that so people who can’t make it out to Machu Picchu or the Indian sites still have a chance to see this pyramid that is very close to the hotel.
What’s Peruvian food like?
Peruvian cuisine has an Asian influence as well as a strong seafood influence. The locals call it chifa and it’s a blend of Asian spices and ceviche, which is very well known in Peru. You can find a wide range of international cuisine but I always tell people that if you’re going to go to Peru you need to eat the chifa and the grand variety of ceviche, pairing it with various ways that you can drink pisco.
Pisco is the national drink of Peru and it’s distilled out of grapes and there’s a variety of ways to enjoy it—There’s the traditional pisco sour, but there’s also a version which is like a Manhattan. You can have it before or after dinner and people can really experiment with it.
Any nightlife in the area?
Nightlife is incredible. There’s a number of great clubs and musical venues to go to. When I was there last week the Red Hot Chili Peppers were there! You’ve got a wide variety of international music along with local scenes, as well.
What are some popular group activities in the area?
We work in conjunction with Tikariy tour operators that set up tours for small or large groups either within the city or for those who are interested in extending their stay pre or post trip to go to either the Nazca Lines or to go to Machu Picchu. You can actually do both, if you’d like. They’ve got tours that go for a day trip where you fly and come back on the same day for the Nazca lines or you can go up and spend the weekend in Machu Picchu, which is a great opportunity.
We have a luxury collection property that opened last year called Tambo del Inka, which is in the Sacred Valley, which can host people flying into Cusco. And there’s a train that actually goes from the hotel itself—it’s the only hotel that has it’s own train—that can go to Machu Picchu. Of course, Machu Picchu is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and shouldn’t be missed.
For people who are interested in the ecotourism, Lake Titicaca is also a flying trip away and it’s amazing to see the lake at that altitude. It’s very, very pretty.
What is a trip out to Machu Picchu like for groups?
You have an early morning flight to Cusco. The airlines only fly in the morning because of weather conditions. You land and do a tour of Cusco itself, which is a beautiful colonial city. There are a lot of great places there to wander around the streets and you could also do some shopping for Peruvian arts and crafts. There’s also a Libertador group hotel there you can stay as well. If not, you take the excursion and they take you down to the Valle Sagrado to the Tambo del Inka hotel.
It just opened last year and has extremely beautiful spa facilities so after people finish the walking tour of Cusco then they can relax and get used to the heights and then prepare them for the 6:50 a.m. departure right out of the hotel with a train ride up to Machu Picchu. They spend the day there seeing all of the ruins and artifacts and then take the train back around 6 p.m., just in time for cocktails or a fantastic dinner at the restaurant there. Then they catch a flight back to Lima the next morning or back to the states.
Do you promote split programs between the two hotels?
Yes. Tamblo del Inka has about 60 rooms so it’s ideal for smaller groups but we host a lot of groups doing pre and post trips and they really, really enjoy it. An option that they tend to use often is to fly in and do Machu Picchu, then have their meeting and before heading back home they do the Nazca lines. They’re both must-sees.