In downtown Lima , the Hostal Roma (Ica 326, tel. 01/427-7576, www.hostalroma.8m.com , US$16 s, US$25 d with breakfast and private bath) is a charming place catering to backpackers. With high ceilings, wood floors, and 10 different types of breakfast, Roma stands out from the rest. Internet, safety boxes, and airport transfers are available. A small, attached café serves espresso, beer, and cocktails. The 36 rooms here fill up fast, so make reservations early.
Another good budget option in downtown Lima is Hostal España (Azángaro 105, tel. 01/428-5546, www.hotelespanaperu.com , US$6 dorm, US$12–16 s, US$16–20 d, rooms with private baths US$5 extra). This backpacker classic is a labyrinth of tight halls and patios, decorated with hanging ivy, marble busts, and reproductions of colonial paintings. The rooms are small and basic with clean, shared bathrooms and hot water. Despite its location, the hostel manages to disconnect itself from the hustle and be a peaceful escape. With a charming upstairs restaurant and neighboring Internet café, this place fills up quickly. Make reservations early.
In Breña, the friendly Hostal Iquique (Iquique 758, tel. 01/433-4724 or 01/423-3699, www.hostal-iquique-lima.com , US$17 s, US$26 d with breakfast) is a longtime backpackers’ favorite with good service, kitchen, rooftop terrace, and hot water. Rooms with tiled floors are not too noisy and some even have TVs. Private baths cost an additional US$4–7.
Bordering Breña, Hostal de Las Artes (Chota 1460, tel. 01/433-0031, www.hostaldelasartes.net , US$5 for dorm bed, US$9 s, US$18 d) is a clean, well-managed, gay-friendly place with Dutch owners. Sevillean-style tiles line the entrance off a quiet street that is a 10-minute walk from Plaza San Martín. Rooms are simple with whitewashed walls, dark wood, comfy beds, and near silence. A book exchange, gardens, and two patios round out the hostel. There are good restaurants down the street.
Pueblo Libre’s artist-owned Guest House Marfil (Parque Ayacucho 126, tel. 01/463-3161, casamarfil [at] yahoo [dot] com, US$12 s, US$18 d) is a converted house with splashes of color, lots of paintings on the walls, and three resident cats. The bohemian rooms are private, making this a great value, and the shared baths are clean with plenty of hot water. There are two Internet stations and a group kitchen. Banks and supermarkets are nearby.
Sitting at the end of a quiet park, near the Museo de Arte, is the recommended Posada del Parque (Parque Hernán Velarde 60, block 1 Petit Thouars, tel. 01/433-2412, www.incacountry.com , US$31 s, US$41 d). This hotel in an old colonial house, filled with traditional art, is the perfect escape from central Lima. The Parque de la Exposición, just blocks away, makes for great strolling. Monica, the attentive owner, provides two Internet-ready computers, firm beds, great “what to do” advice, and a sitting room with a TV and DVD player.
Hostal Bonbini (Cailloma 209, tel. 01/427-6477, http://bonbini.tripod.com.pe , US$30 s, US$40 d with breakfast) has large rooms with nice but dated furniture, cable TV, and big bathrooms. Avoid noisy rooms on the street front.
Hotel Kamana (Camaná 547, tel. 01/427-7106, www.hotelkamana.com , US$43 s, US$58 d with breakfast) is overpriced, but safe and well operated. There is a 24-hour snack bar, and the back rooms are quiet. This is a safe and reliable option for a good night’s sleep.
The only five-star hotel in central Lima is the Hotel Sheraton (Paseo de la República 170, tel. 01/315-5000, reservas [at] sheraton [dot] com [dot] pe, www.sheraton.com.pe , US$159165 s, US$166190 d), a square tower that rises at the entrance to old town. This business hotel has a huge open atrium rising 19 floors. The normal rooms have older furniture and feel four-starish. If you stay here, upgrade to the tower rooms on the upper floors, which have easy chairs, California king–size beds, elegant wood floors and paneling, and astounding views over Lima. Other services include whirlpool tub, sauna, gym, and ground-floor casino. If you barginbargain, prices at this hotel get as low as US$83.