Livin’ large like Bono at Hotel Sol y Luna
Before we flew to Peru, we found out that Bono had recently stayed and dined at Hotel Sol y Luna, our hotel in Urubamba, in the heart of the Sacred Valley. We took this as a good sign. Bono is a well-traveled man. Like us, he also puts a priority on good food.
Through all our travels, Todd and I have stayed in almost every type of accommodation possible except a tent pitched to the side of a mountain. We’ve slept on strangers’ floors, in a chilly but cozy Turkish cave, at a Korean love motel in a room with its own condom vending machine and many tissue boxes, and on a Moroccan mattress that felt like it was stuffed with potatoes. For long-term travelers, where you sleep is not often a highlight of the trip.
Independent (some might say obstinate and cheap) travelers that we are, we arrive at Hotel Sol y Luna via combi, a dirt-cheap, locals-packed minibus. The combi driver drops us off where the road meets the long hotel driveway, which we stroll down, toting our backpacks. Given the surprised reaction of the hotel staff, we might be the only people that have ever arrived at their door on foot.
On the way to our bungalow, we’re given a tour of the hotel grounds, thronged with blooming plants designed to attract local birds, bees, butterflies, and camera-toting guests.
Still sore from hiking Machu Picchu, we spend the rest of the afternoon napping in bed and next to the pool. We put what little ambition we have toward an hour alternating between the wet and dry saunas that are included for all guests. Finally, our sore muscles stop hurting.
The next day, we’ve finally recovered enough to tour more of Hotel Sol y Luna’s grounds and guest bungalows. We get treated to a peek inside the premium bungalow where Bono stayed. Yes, this is his bed. Imagine the musical dreams Bono had there, fueled by a spicy Peruvian meal.
Bono’s bungalow, like the rest of the hotel spaces, is filled with Peruvian antiques and art commissioned by Hotel Sol y Luna’s owners. Vases overflow with handmade paper flowers. For me and Todd, being surrounded by so much color and creativity is one of the best parts of our stay. Well, ok, the spa too. And the food (but that’s another post).
The school at Hotel Sol y Luna
Before we check out, Moisés, who works for Asociacion Sol & Luna, gives us a tour of the school across the road, founded and funded by Hotel Sol y Luna’s owners.
Moisés tells us “The old school here was a problem. There were holes in the roof. A big political syndicate was in charge. Many kids came to school emotionally scarred with low-self esteem, and not helped by the old school. So we decide to do our own school to make a real change in education. We bring in teachers from Lima, who teach in a more modern way. We needed a lot of support for psychology, to help the children learn to interact and be successful.”
Since it’s the weekend, we don’t get to experience the school while it’s in session. But we see the school ready and waiting for Monday morning. It’s a happy place.
We meet the principal of the school, who’s straightening up and preparing for the coming week. Through Moisés’ translation we learn that they have 90 students in two school houses. Each day the students get two meals from a menu developed by the hotel chefs, made with local ingredients, many from the hotel’s organic garden.
The students—some who speak the local Quechua language, some Spanish—learn English, nutrition, and hygiene, in addition to their regular coursework. They’re being trained to be job ready, likely to work in tourism, the fastest growing industry in Peru.
As if we needed more reasons to love Sol y Luna, Moisés shares that educating the town’s children remains the most important thing they do, even more than the hotel itself. So, Sol y Luna is in the process of finding land so they can build more school buildings and help more kids.
Our stay was sponsored by Hotel Sol y Luna. That said, the opinions and experiences are all ours.