A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru pin

Since 1984 when the first JW Marriott opened, the brand has been known for its service quality, exquisite dining and lodging excellence in many countries all over the world.

In 2012, the chain opened yet another luxurious property in Esquina de la Calle Ruinas y San Agustin Cusco, Peru. Over 11,000 feet above sea level, it is the first Marriot to require supplemental oxygen pumped into the air into all its six floors, 146 rooms, seven suites, and lobby and public areas to compensate for the high altitude.

The JW Marriott El Centro Cusco Peru

Roughly an hour away from Machu Picchu, a UNESCO world heritage site, the premises was built on top of ancient Incan ruins and incorporated into a convent from the 1500s. These ruins have been exquisitely transformed into a museum.
The elaborate Spanish décor can be seen throughout the hotel and in the rooms. As visitors walk through the heavy wooden front doors, they will see a magnificent Swarovski crystal chandelier at the reception. Guests can see an archaeological exhibition room with Incan artifacts unearthed during construction of the hotel. There is a sizeable inner courtyard, just the place to take some time to imagine yourself in the past.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru window

Fellow Guests

You will be sharing this hotel with patrons who have come for sightseeing or business, couples on romantic getaways as well as families who have come to visit this historical capital of Peru. The city is a huge tourist destination with over 2 million people coming to visit every year since UNESCO designated it a world heritage site in 1983.

Our Rooms

Upon our arrival to the hotel, we were enveloped by the feeling of peaceful serenity and we were welcomed with a special Peruvian tea ceremony which was both soothing and relaxing. It also helps acclimate guests to the altitude.
The staff showed us to our connecting rooms that featured durable, heavy doors.We could see the city of Cusco from the windows with the town’s main square nearby and cobblestones. It is quite picturesque.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru bed

Each room was a feast for the eyes. All the furniture was handmade and the desk, like the beds, featured beautifully carved legs. The rooms had plenty of power sockets for charging some portable devices at the same time. The wooden backboard for both the king-sized and two double beds in the adjoining room with the geometrically patterned rugs on the wooden floors gave the suite an authentic Peruvian feel. Also, there was a living room with a sitting area decorated with local artwork on the walls and colorful tapestries and rugs.

There were coffee makers and an empty mini-fridge in each room which meant guests could store their perishables at will. Both rooms came with ample storage space with chests of drawers, nightstands, and closets, as well as the place to put luggage.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru toiletries

Both rooms had bathrooms with marble countertops, vanity mirrors, and showers with a recessed overhead rainforest fixtures. Our room, which featured the king sized bed, also had an additional bathtub which made for a relaxing escape after hiking the entire day. The hotel provided an elaborate amenity kit, fluffy towels, and bathrobes, along with slippers for each room.

Dining options

At the hotel, there were three restaurants from which to choose.

First was the Pirqa Restaurant Cusco venue, well known for their traditional Peruvian cuisine.
The second choice was the Qespi Bar, famous for its tapas and Peruvian cocktails.
Finally, there was the Nina Soncco Lounge, which had a fireplace emphasizing a comfortable atmosphere.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru dining

Breakfast

The buffet spread was a wonderful way to start the day!
It boasted cereals and beverages including fresh juices like papaya and pineapple. Following that, we saw various rolls, muffins, and flatbreads made from corn and other grains. We sampled their peasant bread, chocolate, orange cakes, and jams.
One of the traditional stations had a lovely selection of cold cuts, cheeses, and smoked salmon. At the fruit station, patrons enjoyed sliced fruit and different yogurts. The hot food station had sausages, bacon, mushrooms, deep-pork, sweet potato, chicken stroganoff, and frittata.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru items
The ‘sweets’ area included cookies, pancakes, and waffles served with assorted syrups and traditional sweetened condensed milk. At the egg station, the buffet served sunny-side-up, easy-over, omelet, scrambled and even eggs benedict.
Believe me, everything was delicious, we tried them all!

Spa and Pool

The JW Marriott Cusco staff offers their guests a variety of holistic services and cleansing treatments as well as an indoor heated serenity pool. The spa offers a steam room, massage rooms, and beauty therapies. Since the spa is pretty famous in Cusco, it is important to book in advance as it is not only guests who take advantage of this service but locals too.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru pool

Cooking with the Chef

We had the opportunity to take part in a pilot program. Here, we enjoyed a private cooking class with Teddy Bouroncle, the hotel chef.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru chef
Before we started on the food, the staff taught us how to make the world famous Pisco Sour cocktail, which was delicious.
We then learned how to prepare a beef dishes like Seabass ceviche, Anticucho, and Lomo Salado.
We also learned how to make Arroz-con-Leche and Suspiro-de-Limena, two of their traditional desserts.
Watching the professionalism and attention to hygiene was impressive. After the making of this grand feast, we got to eat everything at our own private table waited on by the staff.

A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru food

There was much we loved during our stay, but there are two things that will be forever etched in our memories.
The cooking lessons turned our kids into Peruvian food addicts, and we now look for Peruvian restaurants everywhere we go. We also loved the fact that the hotel promoted local artistic professionals and featured the different crafts in the hotel courtyard for patrons to see.A Memorable Stay at the JW Marriott Cusco Peru woman

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The hotel takes special needs into consideration and has wheelchair accessibility to the main entrance and registration desk, rooms, restaurants, and lounges.
  • This property is a smoke-free hotel because of the extra oxygen pumped all around the premises. This fact works out well for anyone who is sensitive to smoke or has allergies. In our son’s case, he has asthma, so it helped.
  • The rooms have double curtains to make it dark for those who are sensitive to light.
  • If one of your parties has sensitivities to noise, I recommend that you request an Inca wall room. These rooms are quieter than the Courtyard rooms.
  • Guests can ask for more oxygen if needed. There are also air-conditioning controls for those who are sensitive to temperature extremes.
  • There is complimentary high-speed wireless Internet available throughout the hotel for guests.
  • The mini-fridge in the room is useful for keeping special snacks and medicines for those who have specific medical needs.
  • If your family is unable to make a meal because you are planning a day-trip and have an early start, it is possible to coordinate with the hotel. They can get the kitchen to pack a boxed continental breakfast for you.
  • If you do need grocery supplies or anything else for your trip, the hotel has a convenient mini-market right across the street.
  • There is 24-hour room service which is handy if you need a snack for your special needs child in the middle of the night.
  • There are free evening tours given by hotel staff, perfect for learning more about the hotel’s heritage and history as well as the renovation that led to it being the fantastic hotel it is.

 

Taking the Kids to Memphis National Civil Rights Museum

Taking the Kids to Memphis National Civil Rights Museum pin

Less than ten minutes walking distance from the city’s heart and music filled Beale Street stands the Lorraine Motel.
Unfortunately, the place would have probably stayed unknown to most if it hadn’t been for the fateful April 4, 1968, when Martin Luther King Jr., was shot and killed while standing on its second story balcony.

The Memphis National Civil Rights Museum located in the converted motel salvaged from tear down in the 1980’s showcases fascinating displays. These displays involve both the murder of Dr. King and the evolution of the African-American civil rights movement from the early 1800s to this day.

 Taking the Kids to Memphis National Civil Rights Museum motel balcony

Know before you go

The museum encompasses one of the most comprehensive collections about the civil rights movement. Also, a visit will range between two to four hours.
Many of the displays are interactive and involve video and audio clips of the era. However, a visit still requires quite a bit of reading and walking. Therefore, we don’t recommend the museum for kids under the age of six.

National Civil Rights Museum entrance

Before visiting, you should introduce your children to the civil rights movement to help promote their understanding of the museum displays. As we mentioned, the museum sits within walking distance of the city’s main thoroughfare. It is also part of the up and coming south central area with food venues and galleries.

National Civil Rights Museum intro

We visited on a weekend day with only a few scores of fellow visitors. However, we were told this is a favorite spot for school kids that tour on weekdays.

You may want to buy tickets online if you don’t wish to wait in line. Also, make sure you ask for a student discount for your kids.
There is a comprehensive safety check at the entrance to the museum. Unfortunately, this station includes bag checking so make sure to explain it to your children with autism ahead of time.

Memphis National Civil Rights Museum slave ship

The National Civil Rights Museum Exhibits

The museum starts appropriately with a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, who led India’s nationalist movement and influenced Dr. King’s lifetime philosophy of non-violent protest.

Next, a room dedicated to the early origin of the African-Americans struggle for equal treatment describes the slaves brought from Africa and the harsh conditions they lived through.

Taking the Kids to Memphis National Civil Rights Museum diner table

Make sure you don’t skip the well crafted 15-minute movie. This video introduces the topic to visitors and explains what the movement was fighting.

The emphasis ultimately shifts to the turbulent 1950’s and 60’s. In addition, the museum details key events like the integration of Central High School in Arkansas, the sit-in movements, the famous march from Selma, and the Million Man March on Washington D.C.

Taking the Kids to Memphis National Civil Rights Museum bus seat

Moreover, to help visitors understand Jim Crow, the museum has an actual white only diner area. It is also complete with ‘do not sit here’ menus and a replica of the Rosa Parks 1955 bus with a statue of her sitting in her historic seat.

Taking the Kids to Memphis National Civil Rights Museum rosa parks bus

The Greyhound Bus

The replica of burnt out Greyhound bus carrying the Freedom Riders passengers attacked during Mother’s Day in 1961 in rural Alabama is a powerful reminder of how polarized opinions and violence impacted the struggle.

The bus was pelted with rocks and bricks and had a firebomb thrown in through a smashed window. Furthermore, the doors were barricaded from the outside. It would have been impossible for the trapped passengers to escape if the State Troopers hadn’t interceded.

Taking the Kids to Memphis National Civil Rights Museum freedom riders

From this point (with a brief interruption that shows the Black movement in the 70’s), the museum follows Dr. King’s path. The museum also includes his historic “I have a dream” speech in Washington D.C leading up to the 1968 garbage workers strike that brought him to Memphis.

Taking the Kids to Memphis National Civil Rights Museum strike

The Highlight

Visitors should see the motel room where Dr. King stayed on the night of his assassination (check out the cigarette butts and snack by the bed) as well as a replica of the room he typically stayed in during other visits. Just like all other displays in this meticulously curated museum, this exhibit is thought-provoking.

Taking the Kids to Memphis National Civil Rights Museum bedroom
The Second Part

By now, you and your kids might be exhausted from the sheer volume of walking and plethora of historical information provided.

National Civil Rights Museum second part

However, if you wish to learn more about the actual assassination, visitors should visit the second part of the museum. This section also includes the different conspiracy theories and the life of Dr. King’s killer. We also recommend this section for older kids, as the younger ones might get bored and lost in the details.

First, you’ll see the former boarding house, the location used by James Earl Ray to shoot Dr. King. Today, this structure is a museum.

Taking the Kids to Memphis National Civil Rights Museum MLK killer car

The two levels of this section feature several exhibits filled with evidence that lead to the conviction. These items include a rifle, a pistol, and even the killer’s car.

Apart from the actual room left precisely in the same condition from 1968 (check out the wire used to turn off the room lighting) and the bathroom, you can visually measure the distance yourself in an area glass wall created for that particular purpose.

National Civil Rights Museum MLK killer room


Autism Travel Tips 

  • The museum is wheelchair-accessible. It is also indoors and fully air-conditioned.
  • You can stop and sit down on chairs or benches to rest at any point.
  • Taking the Kids to Memphis National Civil Rights Museum seventies musicThe museum houses many exhibits and sees lots of crowds. Therefore, make sure you visit late in the day or on weekends.
  • The museum features interactive displays with multiple places to listen to more detailed accounts of the events for those who desire a more in-depth view.
  • Our son with autism enjoyed the 70’s soul music area where you can listen to era songs via headphones.
  • Taking the Kids to Memphis National Civil Rights Museum postersThe souvenir stores in both museums carry various education materials to continue the conversation past the initial museum visit.
  • We saw several eateries outside the museum. We also saw a free public bocce court for kids who get antsy.
  • Make sure you take a selfie with the I AM MAN colorful mural down the street.

Memphis National Civil Rights Museum mural

Disclaimer: Special thanks to the Memphis Bureau of Commerce that provided us with complimentary tickets to the museum for the review.
However, the tips and opinions shared are always our own.

Visiting D-Day Normandy Beaches With Kids

Today June 6 marks the 70th anniversary of what has come to be known as D-Day.
On this day in 1944, the Allied forces composed of US, Canadian UK, and French soldiers landed simultaneously on five adjacent beaches in Normandy and launched a massive attack on the German army strategically barricaded behind a series of land mines, barbed wire, and walls nicknamed ‘the Atlantic wall’.
By the end of the day the British, Canadian and American divisions established strongholds on land and succeeded not only in breaching the German Nazi fortifications’ but changing the course of the war that eventually lead to the end of WWII.

Tips to Visiting D-Day Normandy Beaches with Kids view

Nowadays the bunkers, beaches, and cemeteries with the gravesites of the fallen soldiers are open to the public between 9-5 on a daily basis except on holidays.

Should you take your kids?

The short answer is yes; especially if your children are ten years old or older, and have already learned about WWII in history class.
It is important to talk to children about the circumstances that lead to WWII, and about how wars, in general, have impacted modern civilization and humanity.

What is there to see and how long does it take?

You can tailor the visit depending on your child’s interest and level of attention.
A typical visit can last anywhere from a couple of hours to several days exploring the different sites. The most frequented site with over 1 million of visitors a year is Omaha Beach with its adjacent American Cemetery and Point Du Hoc view of the Cliffs.
You don’t need to make special reservations but be aware that it can get more crowded around the US Memorial day and the D-day anniversary time.

Tips to Visiting D-Day Normandy Beaches with Kids bunkers

Introducing your kid to WWII

Though, most European and American children study about WWII by 6th grade, as a parent, you should still discuss the significance of the day and events before visiting. An easy way to start is to rent and watch the acclaimed ‘Saving Private Ryan’ movie that depicts the chaos and horror that ensued the landing.

Tips to Visiting D-Day Normandy Beaches with Kids fortifications

Preparing for your visit

Pack a day bag with the usual essentials like snacks, water, sunscreen, band-aids (in the case of falls) and ponchos (in the event of rain).
Be aware that most sites are outdoors; the terrain is uneven rugged and can become muddy when it rains; so closed walking shoes with anti-slip soles are highly recommended.

Tips to Visiting D-Day Normandy Beaches with Kids monument

The Highlights

Pointe du Hoc
After exploring a small exhibit at the new visitor center, your kids can roam the Nazi bunkers, gun emplacements, and deep craters on their own while wondering how it must have felt for the troops scaling the cliffs under intense fire.

Tips to Visiting D-Day Normandy Beaches with Kids underground

The American Cemetery

After you pass security; head on to the memorial site that depicts maps and descriptions of the different military operations as well as the Walls of the Missing where 1,557 names are inscribed.
Don’t forget to stop by the beautifully landscaped reflecting pool and the inspirational ‘spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves’ statue.

Tips to Visiting D-Day Normandy Beaches with Kids memory

 

Next, you can wander around the 170-acre cemetery that is located on the original burial ground established by the U.S.Army on June 8, 1944. As you walk among the over 9,387 thousand crosses and Stars of David perfectly aligned, you can solemnly salute the brave young men who died in the massive military operation.

Tips to Visiting D-Day Normandy Beaches with Kids graves
Exceptionally moving is the section where siblings and family members are buried next to each other; as the two Roosevelt brothers in Plot D, Row 28 and Niland brothers Plot F.

Tips to Visiting D-Day Normandy Beaches with Kids lake
End on an optimistic note

After visiting the cemetery, you can walk a path on the cemetery grounds that leads to the rather peaceful beach below. It is interesting to point out to your kids who that after seventy years, life in Normandy has moved on, and the beaches are used by locals to swim and relax in.

Tips to Visiting D-Day Normandy Beaches with Kids beach

Extend your visit

Stop by the small resort town of Arromanches for a picnic on the beach or quick bite in one of the cafes along the beach front.
Complete your tour at the Arromanches 360 degree theater and watch a 20- minute presentation of the invasion or check out Mulberry harbor designed and constructed by the British to facilitate the unloading of military supplies following D-Day invasion.

Tips to Visiting D-Day Normandy Beaches with Kidsflags
Autism Travel Tips

  • Consider hiring a local guide for your tour to engage your child with detailed stories of the invasion.
  •  Bring a pair of noise canceling headphones for the movie since it can become quite loud during shelling or Nazi rally clips.
  • For travelers with mobility restrictions ,wheelchairs are available free of charge but expect the paths to make for a bumpy ride.
  • Tips to Visiting D-Day Normandy Beaches with Kids tanks

Travel Memories of a Teen with Autism

Guest Post by Ryan Comins

One of my most memorable family vacations took place during the summer of 1997.  My dad had just graduated from college with a bachelor degree, so he treated my mom, my brother, and I with a two week trip out west.
We first drove out to my grandfather’s house in Illinois.
After that, we went on to Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Minnesota, and Wisconsin before taking a ferry to Lake Michigan and driving back home.
We saw many sites that I will never forget: the Badlands in South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, Old Faithful, and many more fond memories.

Travel Memories of a Teen with Autism VOLCANO
While driving along a highway in Wyoming, we hit a deer as it slammed into the side of our car, sending the right side mirror sailing into a corn field. Being on the autism spectrum with a fascination for animals, I was more preoccupied with whether the deer had been hurt than by the near miss we had just experienced.
Through some twist of fate, the people driving behind us stopped to see if we were alright. It turned out that they lived in the same town we did. Here we were in the middle of Wyoming talking with some people who lived across town from us in Michigan.

Travel Memories of a Teen with Autism MOUNTAINS
The sky turned black while we were in a hotel in Minnesota as a tornado came within five miles of our hotel.
That close call ramped up my anxiety.
Before taking shelter on the part of the hotel, I remember standing outside as my dad called up to a guy on a nearby tower, asking him if he could see a funnel. As far as I can recall, the guy could not.

Travel Memories of a Teen with Autism WATERFALL
Travel Accommodations? I didn’t get any

I never really received any accommodations for my autism spectrum disorder.

The issues that I faced were related to my anxiety, during the tornado for example and my preoccupation with animals, which was shown by my reaction when we hit the deer.

Also, I had a tendency to be in “my little world,” which was why my dad gave me a pep talk before getting out of the car for a picnic in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming.

He told me that if he said so, we were to go back to the car and leave behind the food. He was worried about a bear coming up to our picnic and didn’t want my brother or me to get hurt.
Thankfully, nothing happened, and we enjoyed our picnic without incident.

Travel Memories of a Teen with Autism HOUSE

My future plans include Travel!

Someday in the future, I would like to travel out West again by myself or with a close friend.
This time, I have a different objective in mind.
For the past eight years, I have been writing my fantasy series.  I would like to experience the environments I saw when I was younger to gain story inspiration.
I would like to watch the sun rise over the mountains and note the chill that may or may not be present in the air.  I would also like to witness the sights, sounds, smells, and the feel of the air, the presence of insects, and all sorts of things that would make my writing all the more detailed, colorful and vivid.  I plan to take this trip in the next five years or so.

Travel Memories of a Teen with Autism LAKE
Ryan is a writer, podcast host, and autism advocate.  He was diagnosed with autism at age 12 and now at 25, he.is doing well and committed to using his writing skills to help others to understand autism better.

 

 

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