The Sacred Valley of the Incas, in Peru, is just outside of the UNESCO World Heritage city of Cusco and close to everyone’s favorite mountaintop maze of Machu Picchu. Carved by the Urubamba River, the valley was home to vast natural resources, agriculture, and Incan settlements. Today, the Sacred Valley is still an important farming region, with fields dotted among the archeological remains.
Four hundred meters above the fertile floor are a few decidedly non-Incan artifacts that look like they came more from the mind of James Bond’s Q than an ancient civilization. They are essentially clear, bubble portaledges called Skylodge Adventure Suites, and for $300-plus per night, you can sleep in your very own. That price includes transportation from Cusco, snacks, a gourmet dinner on the mountaintop, and a night’s stay.
Owned and operated by Natura Vive, the Skylodge Adventure Suites, are accessed via ferrata-style. The relative security of the cabled ascent and the fully enclosed, yet ventilated, acrylic pods provide a little taste of big wall portaledging to mere mortals. Purist climbers may raise an eyebrow, but then again, how often are big wall climbers offered a fine bottle of Malbec midway through their seventh pitch?
Chilling on the side of an Andean mountain – with the comfort of a hotel no less – just try to shake the old Simon and Garfunkel El Condor Pasa earbug. Because in this “hotel” room, it’s more likely than not that an actual condor will be flying by…at eye level.
Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.
Photos by Natura Vive