Back before they built the huge Aguas Calientes convention center thing on the left, Gringo Bill’s used to have a nice view of the plaza. The way it is now, poor old Bill has kind of been squeezed back into the end of a narrow alley. I don’t think this has hurt business all that much however, as Gringo Bill’s is still a popular hotel in the area.
Actually, if you’re walking through Aguas Calientes, the only things you are going to find are restaurants and hotels. I’ve only stayed at Gringo Bill’s and La Pequena Casita, and I have to say they were fairly comparable. Perhaps Gringo Bill’s has a bit more ambiance, with rooms of haphazard, sometimes trapezoidal shapes that made me fell like…well…like I was sleeping in the main cabin of a pirate ship or something. Kind of a cool ambiance if I do say so myself.
I have to say, that I’ve always enjoyed Aguas Calientes and I like the kind of sparse comfort you get in the hotels there. Look, these aren’t places you go to watch a big screen TV. They have a tiny little TV, and cable if you’re lucky, but seriously, you didn’t travel all the way to Peru to sit around your hotel watching TV now did you?
Where they’re really ahead of the game is at breakfast. I love their breakfasts that usually consist of some kind of fresh fruit buffet as well as a couple eggs that they will prepare to your order on the spot. Honestly, you need the calories of a good breakfast if you’re going to go traipsing all about Machu Picchu (Gringo Bill’s has a better breakfast than La Pequena Casita).
There is also a laundry service, which is especially nice after a stinky, six day Inca trail hike. However, be warned, you’re probably going to lose a sock or two and gain a T-shirt or two, so don’t entrust them with your lucky Grandma’s Marathon Finisher shirt from 1998. You might not get it back.
Here’s a shot of the interior of a typical room at Gringo Bill’s:
Oddly, the room is decorated with a wall mural that depicts a scene from Easter Island which has absolutely nothing to do with the sacred valley, Aguas Calientes, Cusco or even Peru! The windows actually felt a little bit flimsy, like you could push them open and grab something that was sitting on a desk. The obvious solution to this is to not leave your valuables sitting on the desk (this pretty much goes for everywhere you might hang out in Peru however).
You see, it’s a pretty simple room. Back in the old days this would probably cost you $10 a night, but I’m sure it’s up to $60 or so now (don’t have the exact number).
The beds were comfortable and warm enough, but you can’t really hear the river from Gringo Bill’s like you can from La Pequena Casita (which might be a good thing if you can’t stand the sound of a babbling brook).
When I stayed at Gringo Bill’s, it was right at the end of my Inca Trail trip, so I was pretty shot and ready to have some kind of shower. Here’s the picture I took of myself when I got there because I thought it showed me as destroyed as I’ve been in recent memory. It’s good to preserve honest moments like that. I had to beat myself pretty good so that I looked like this, so I figured I might as well preserve it:
If you’re interested in booking a room at Gringo Bill’s here is their website.