Getting to the accommodation is my least favourite part of any trip. Laden down with luggage, scouring backstreets and spitting vague and badly pronounced hotel names at locals in the hope they offer a generous finger in the general direction of the hotel, or at the very least, a glimmer of recognition in their face.
But there is one hotel where the journey is half the fun. 400 iron rungs jut out of a rock face in the Sacred Valley, 90 minutes outside Cusco. At the top sit three transparent capsules, hanging in place against the sheer cliff wall, making up the Sky Lodge in Peru’s Sacred Valley. But before we get there, we need to navigate the via ferrata.
With just a small cable and carabiner keeping me from near certain death, I grip the iron rung I am using to climb up the rock face and stare fixedly on the bulky German in front of me making his own way to the top. I haven’t looked down in around half an hour, only up, but every time I look at my boot to make sure it is securely in position before I shift my bodyweight, I can see in my periphery that the cars travelling on the road below have become worrying small.
It is only once I arrive in my octagonal pod that I fully take it all in. The view across the valley is breathtaking and the enormity of the day’s climb is exposed. The projects grand creator, Ario Ferri has created his own world anchored in the clouds. Each pod sleeps up to 4 people, complete with running water and solar-powered lights.
As the sun sets and we tuck into our containers of roasted chicken and salad, the main appeal of the world Ario has created comes into view. The blues and purples of the sky melt together to give a dreamy hue, and the arrival of the night’s stars is announced by their luminous winks. The still tranquillity of the pod beguiles me into thinking this natural spectacle is my own personal performance, unlike anything else on earth. It is this thought that stays on my mind as I drift off to sleep.
The way down the following morning is no less hair-raising. Seven zip lines hurtle you across a leafy abyss until you touch down on terra firma, secure in the knowledge that you will never find a hotel like it anywhere else in the world.