This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi Premier Card
If sleeping in a vertigo-inducing transparent suite sounds like your kind of adventure, head to the Sacred Valley in Peru to spend a night at the Skylodge Adventure Suites: a collection of three clear pods that hang from a mountainside 1,200 feet above the ground.
Before you can relax in your suite, however, you’ll first have to get up the mountain by scaling the Via Ferrata route. This is a special path with a safety system to help inexperienced climbers reach the suites. Travelers will have metal ladders, bridges and cables to assist with their ascent. You can also opt to zipline to the suites. (Don’t worry: safety is a number one priority at the hotel, and all climbing equipment is CE-certified.)
Once you’ve made it up, check out your suite, which is made of aerospace aluminum and weather-resistant polycarbonate, complete with a bed, a living space and even a private ensuite bathroom.
Although the suite is enclosed in a completely transparent dome with a six-foot diameter, guests will be relieved to find the bathroom is at least slightly more private, separated by a wall and consisting of an eco-toilet and sink. The dome does have curtains for privacy, but you probably won’t need them, as there’s really no one else in sight (except maybe a passing condor).
While you’ll have to forgo a hot shower, the suites are furnished with a comfortable mattresses fitted with cotton sheets, down pillows and warm quilts, ensuring a good night’s sleep under a starlit sky. Then, wake up to impressive 300-degree views of the Peruvian Andes, the Urubamba River and beyond. After breakfast, rappel or zip line back down to the valley.
Travelers are encouraged to start their trip to the Skylodge by first spending a night at a hotel in Cusco. The following morning, after a safety briefing, you’ll start your ascent (either by ziplining or climbing). At the lodge, you’ll have dinner, and a night in the suite. After breakfast, you’ll begin your descent (by way of zipline or rappelling). Prices start around $400 per person per night.
If this sounds like a lot, you can book a day at the suites instead, which features a traditional Peruvian lunch inside the dining dome (the space can accommodate up to a dozen people). Expect a four course affair, served with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (don’t forget to take it easy one the wine if you plan to rappel down). Prices start at $235 per person, and the rate includes transport from Cusco. And if you simply want to climb the Via Ferrata, rates start at $50.
Travelers bound for the Skylodge Adventure Suites should seriously consider leaving heavy luggage at the company’s storage office and only bringing the essentials, including a large bottle you can refill with water.
The hotel does accept credit cards, so we recommend paying with a card that will earn you extra points, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve which will get you 3x points on travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for 2x points on travel, or another card that earns bonus points for travel purchases.
Your trip can easily be combined with visits to Machu Picchu and other spots in the Sacred Valley. As Skylodge stays or meals include transportation from Cusco, you just need to get yourself to this popular Peruvian destination.
Usually, the best way to reach Cusco is to first fly into Lima on Avianca, starting at 15,000 Avianca LifeMiles one-way in economy or 32,500 in business. Getting LifeMiles can be easy (and cheap), especially since you can transfer them instantly from Citi ThankYou Rewards, and the Citi Premier Card is currently offering a 60,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after opening your account. Avianca also runs frequent sales where you can purchase LifeMiles for as little as 1.39 cents each. From there, you can hop on a short-haul flight from Lima to Cusco. (If you’re on a serious budget, take the overnight bus.)
Once in Cusco, we recommend Starwood’s Palacio del Inka hotel, a former Inca palace and, later, a museum. The hotel and grounds are stunning, and the property’s central location is perfect for both exploring the city, as well as getting to the Skylodge. Room rates for this Category 4 Luxury Collection property start around $200 or 10,000 Starpoints per night.
There’s also the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, which, as its name suggests, was once a convent. Room rates start at $250 or 40,000 points per night. Signing up for the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card can yield you 2 free night awards after you spend $3,000 in the first three months (it does have a $95 annual fee). Marriott and SPG points can also transfer back and forth at a 3:1 rate, but starting in August, your Marriott and SPG accounts will be merged and both of these properties will have new award prices. It’s too soon to say if those rates will be better or worse than the current ones.
Featured image courtesy of Skylodge Adventure Suites.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards