In Peru’s coastal capital, the art scene is thriving, local chefs are turning out some of the most exciting dishes in Latin America, and new shops and hotels have opened. One of them is classy Casa Republica in Barranco.
Casa Republica is a Boutique hotel modeled in the style of the glory days of Peru’s Republican era. The unique 1920’s mansion has been impeccably maintained and offers amazing service and art design in every corner where you go. Located in a quiet street close to the world known Barranco’s best restaurants, galleries and nightlife this hotel is perfect for those seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of Lima.
We met with Nick Macciocca, the co-founder and partner of Casa Republica, to get to know more about his elegant hotel and his hometown Lima.
1. How did you become a hotelier?
Through my association as a tour operator with a local partner in Peru, we looked into the number of travellers we already had visiting Lima, and the city’s growth potential in terms of guests passing through on stopovers to other parts of Peru, and Lima’s growing reputation as a culinary destination. With these positive indicators, among others including the limited options for hotels of this standard in Barranco, it all just made sense to commence the project that is now Casa Republica.
2. Is it difficult to own and manage a luxury hotel in Lima?
Aside from the usual day to day challenges that almost every hotel experiences, it is not as difficult as one would probably expect. The key is to hire an experienced general manager who is able to take initiative by putting the hotel first when making key decisions, as well as ensure staff is trained to meet the expectations and demands of luxury travellers. We have been fortunate enough to have a general manager who is more than capable in both of these regards.
3. What is special about Casa Republica?
What makes Casa Republica stand out is our ability to combine the Republican-era style of the original building with a contemporary and relaxed fitout which gives guests a more relaxed and homely feel during their stay. With 22 rooms, our staff is able to provide a personalized level of service to guests which they simply would not be able to find in larger hotels of a similar standard, which certainly enhances the whole experience of each stay.
4. Tell us a bit about the history of the building and hotel’s design.
The main building on the property was originally built as a summer house for a local family just over 100 years ago. As the city of Lima grew and expanded over the years, the La Guardia family made this house to be their permanent residence. The hotel is located in the main monumental area of Barranco district and the original building is certainly one of the most beautiful houses in the vicinity. During the construction of the hotel, we commenced a refurbishment design project on the original building with renowned local architect Gianfranco Loli, where we focused on capitalizing on the natural space and volume of the house while maintaining its history and heritage. In addition to this, we constructed a second building at the rear of the property in which the style and design are maintained throughout the hotel. We actually managed to win international design recognition before the official opening of Casa Republica, such was the strength of the design.
5. Where did you take your inspiration from?
Our inspiration was driven by the unique architecture and vibe which makes Barranco such a desirable part of Lima to stay. We have used the original property’s historic attributes to create a sophisticated environment which captures the timeless essence of the Barranco neighborhood itself, while at the same time maintaining that little bit of a bohemian edge for which the area is well-reputed.
6. What’s your favorite part about Barranco area?
Barranco has so many highlights it’s impossible to name a favorite. The dining options are endless and include locally and world-renowned restaurants such as Central, Isolina, Siete, Ventarron, and Canta Rana. The well-preserved architecture and numerous art galleries mean that you can quite literally wander around the neighborhood all day and continually discover new things. However, I would say my favorite part about Barranco is the walk down the Bajada de Baños, descending from the Puente de Los Suspiros to the ocean. My perfect afternoon would be to have lunch at one of the aforementioned restaurants, before wandering down the Bajada de Baños to the oceanfront and continuing along to Cala restaurant for a few drinks on the deck and watch the sun go down.
7. Your top things to do and to see in Lima?
For me, a must-do is the historic center of Lima. Starting and the Plaza de Armas and exploring the city from there one can see just how incredible and well-preserved much of the local architecture is. A quick stop for a pisco sour in the historically-significant and charming Restaurant Cordano is a must, as is a Pisco Sour Catedral at the Gran Hotel Bolivar, although I would recommend this at the end of the tour! Another great way to spend a few hours is to walk along the Malecon along the clifftops in Barranco and Miraflores, with a stop for lunch at one of the restaurants with a view in the very unique mall of Larcomar, which is actually open air and built into the cliffs. Last, but by no means least, are the multitude of restaurants which continually find themselves rates as Latin America’s best, and two of which are repeat entries in the top 10 best restaurants in the world (Central and Maido). There is a reason why Lima has built a reputation as a culinary capital of Latin America, and visitors definitely need more than a few days to do this justice.
8. What are your strategic plans for the near future?
Going forward we are looking at expanding our range throughout Peru, starting in Cusco with a similar-sized property to Casa Republica. Ideally, from there our goal is to provide boutique accommodation in other popular regions where there is suitable demand, with Puno being first to come to mind. So definitely watch this space!