Is Peru on your radar? Fancy chilling out and relaxing for three or four nights before heading off on the Inca trail? Then KiChic is a perfect hideaway, provided you are into barefoot, eco-friendly luxury.
Get that the wi-fi is intermittent and that you are in a fairly isolated place. It’s remote even in terms of access, as to reach KiChic you fly from Lima to Talara, a short flight, and then drive for about 1hr 15 mins to reach an old fishing village called Mancora. Your destination is about 5km from there. Famous for kitesurfing and regular surfing alike, the weather is relatively constant all year round, and as it’s close to the equator, El Niño sometimes passes through, making it a little stormy.
Don’t come if you aspire to stay in a One&Only resort and want to dress for dinner as you’ll look like a fish out of water. But if you can imagine a nine-bedroom property with attentive and adoring staff and great service, where you can hear the sea through the night and feel the soft wind on your skin, don’t miss this. And if you like swimming in the warm waters of the Pacific, enjoy reflexology and massages, and relish doing some downward dogs or the like each day, then look no further.
Its name says it all. The word Ki comes from an ancient Japanese philosophy standing for energy, vitality and universal strength; chic needs no explanation, but it defines this little hotel and its spirit: the owner Cristina’s modus vivendi.
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- Facts & Amenities +
KiChic is at the end of a long stretch of beach. I arrived and was shown to reception immediately, given my key (which I left in my room and never used again), and was then shown around the hotel by one of the staff and taken to my room, where the facilities and their functions were revealed. The moment I entered I felt the gentle atmosphere and rustic ambience of the hotel. I was offered a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade – delicious.
Rooms and suites
KiChic’s rooms, all built using local materials and each with its own personality and atmosphere, are all subtly set in the pretty gardens among the coconut trees and molle pepper trees, facing the ocean. Some have plunge pools, so it’s worth knowing which room to pick. Each room is named; my room was Balance, beautiful and spacious, facing the ocean with a small wooden deck and two sun loungers, table and chair and a hot tub. It had a desk and chair with a lamp, a small seating area with comfy chairs, a large and beautiful bed with full mosquito netting (not that you’d need it if you’re careful to keep the doors shut). The roof of my room was clad in woven basket leaf, and there were lovely artefacts, collected by Cristina from her travels all over the world.
A lovely ceramic kettle with fresh loose tea and two infusion cups was placed next to a TV with a cover that read: ‘the best connection ever to experience is with yourself, nature and the person next to you’ – so I never switched it on. There were plenty of plug sockets (European and US) but no USB points. Bottled water was supplied as you cannot drink from the tap. The air-con worked perfectly, although it went off during the day (or the maids turned it down), but it is present and not noisy. Wi-fi was intermittent, but you can get 4G mobile roaming, and phone reception was good. Housekeeping was superb; the maids in traditional uniforms came twice daily to clean the rooms and did a good turndown service in the early evening, leaving home-made chocolates on my pillow.
The bathroom was a walk-in dressing room with plenty of hanging space, drawers and a safe. Down the corridor from this was a single sink surrounded by amenities of the hotel’s own brand of organic shampoo, conditioner and body lotion, plus, they supplied home-made soap and a pumice stone. The door in the bathroom led out into an outdoor shower with a stone floor and large rain shower head. There was a lovely blue-and-white bathrobe and plenty of towels, which they encourage you not to change each day. There was a shaving mirror with good lighting, and a good hairdryer as well.
The food at KiChic is mainly fish and vegetarian. There is no meat on the menu, nor chicken. It’s all home-made, including the bread, and the offerings include ceviche, wraps made with avocado and sprouts, fresh lobster and the catch of the day, amazing zucchini carpaccio, wonderful salads and tuna skewers. Breakfast is fairly limited and includes fruit salad with fresh yoghurt, home-made breads with butter and jam, and eggs, either scrambled or fried. Lunch and dinner are more adventurous, and the menu is big enough to provide plenty of variety during a week’s stay. You can dine on any of the terraces and have a sandwich and a pisco sour made with passion fruit. In the evening, tables are set up around the garden in little nooks and crannies.
Spa and wellness
The spa is a tree house at the top of the hotel, open to the ocean breezes. It offers five different types of massage, reflexology and a chakra-aligning massage. I had a reflexology treatment, which was very good. They also offer yoga classes every day, at an additional cost.
Pool and beach
The pool at KiChic is a narrow lap pool, perfect for cooling off and having a dip. The beach is spectacular with soft sand. It’s wild and expansive enough that you can walk for long distances in both directions, and it feels safe. There are plenty of beach vendors selling hats, colourful hammocks and pretty bracelets and necklaces. Swimming in the sea is heavenly; the water in March was really warm and tropical, the waves are big and the sea can be quite rough. There are rocks in the water nearest to the hotel, so make sure you walk up the beach to the neighbouring Arennas hotel, where you can swim comfortably. The current is OK but you need to be a good swimmer.
Not suitable for children under 14 and there are no special facilities for teens.
Staff and service
The staff at KiChic are all local and attentive, kind and helpful. They understand guests’ needs and are always around to make a drink or bring towels for pool use. All were delightful, from the manager to the maids and gardeners.
There were several honeymooners staying when I was there, and a small group of ladies on a little retreat. Guests were from Peru, Europe and America. Although it is quite a long journey from the US and the UK, it’s worth the effort for those touring Peru.
My bag was collected when I went to reception to check out. Due to slow wi-fi, it took about ten minutes, but the bill was correct and I was helped to the car with my bags.
How to get here
1 hour 15 minutes by road from Talara International Airport