In a leafy residential corner of Lima’s Miraflores district, two restoration projects were going on practically side by side when I visited both last July. One that began in 1981 remained far from complete — a slow piece-by-piece preservation of Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Inca temple complex built from adobe bricks without mortar around 500 AD. Very close to the tiered pyramidal ruins (http://huacapucllanamiraflores.pe/), a transformed nine-bedroom 1940s home was three weeks away from opening as a small luxury hotel, Atemporal. Designers and staff hurried about, carrying in furniture, colorful handwoven frazada rugs from Cusco, Brazilian cotton bedding, vintage collectibles like old cameras and framed black-and-white images shot with a camera obscura by the late Martin Chambi, and I was trying to stay out of the way.
With furnishings moved into place, the hotel felt like the private home of a stylish friend who’d spent years collecting treasures around the world — fascinating artifacts, intriguing books that guests will want to page through and enviable, one-of-a-kind décor finds.
In terms of size and luxury, there’s nothing in Lima that’s comparable to Atemporal, which was created by the team behind Hotel B (http://hotelb.pe/), a 17-room beaux arts mansion in Lima’s bohemian Barranco district and Titilaka (http://www.titilaka.com/), an isolated 18-room eco lodge at the Peruvian/Bolivian border on Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake.
This new hotelito’s vibe encourages downtime in the cool lounge, cozy upstairs library/workspace and on the garden terrace. Rare for such a small hotel, staff includes a maître de maison, concierge and room service at any hour and a chauffeur that drives a green Mini Cooper Clubman (rides up to 4 kilometers, or 2.5 miles, are offered at no charge from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.). Along with that pampering comes extras like a buffet or a la carte breakfast, twice daily housekeeping, complimentary WiFi and custom-built red bicycles for riding the Miraflores Bike Trail.
Also, Atemporal is walking distance from Museo Armano, a private collection of Pre-Columbian textiles, jewelry designer Lorena Pestana’s atelier (http://lorenapestana.pe/) and blocks of one-off shops on Avenida Conquistadores. Some of Lima’s best restaurants are in Miraflores, close enough to Atemporal for guests to score that free Mini Cooper ride, including Chef Virgilio Martinez’s Central (Santa Isabel 376; 51/1-242-8515; http://www.centralrestaurante.com.pe/), Mitsuharo Tsumara’s Maido (Calle San Martin 399; 51/1-4462512; http://www.maido.pe/) and Gaston Acurio’s Astrid y Gastón (Av. Paz Soldán 290; 51/1-4422777; http://www.astridygaston.com/), plus other favorites such as Amaz, El Mercado, Fiesta, Osaka and Rafael.
For culture a bit farther from the hotel, a 10-minute taxi ride gets you to seaside Barranco, where it’s fun to see the decade-long transformation of late-19th-century mansions and less grand but ornamented homes reinvented as boutiques, galleries, museums, and restaurants such as Isolina. In 2013, one of those enormous forgotten homes received a glam new life as Hotel B (Saenz Peña 204; 51/1-2060800; http://hotelb.pe/), which features a revolving collection of paintings from the adjoining Lucia de la Puente Gallery (Saenz Peña 206; 51/1-4770237). Down the block in another old home, the Dédalo store (Saenz Peña 295; 51/1-6525400) is the place to go for beautiful Peruvian artisanal goods and lunch in the courtyard. In another restored residence, the Mate museum (Pedro de Osma 409; 51/1-200-5400; http://www.mate.pe/) displays famous images shot by Peruvian fashion photographer, Mario Testino.
While there is no shortage of things to do in Miraflores and nearby, you may also want to simply relax and savor every minute at this little hotel gem. After all, the name Atemporal means “free from limitations of time.”