Every hotel has a story. Some are built new from the ground up. Some are historical buildings that are renovated and remodeled. But once in awhile, while digging a foundation, we uncover history. In Peru, while building the new JW Marriott Hotel Cusco, the construction site turned into an archeological dig. What happened next makes this hotel story one of the most interesting ever. But first, a brief history about the region.
Cusco, Peru, sits high atop the Andes Mountains near Machu Picchu. It’s the former capital city of the Incas and the oldest continually inhabited city in South America. The hotel is located in the center of the city on the same spot as the ancient St. Augustine convent that dates back hundreds of years. Heavy machinery can’t enter this historic area. Digging is done by hand, with crews carefully sifting through dirt in search of relics.
And they discovered a whole lot of them – Incan pottery, sculptures and other remains dating back to the 13th Century. A large stone wall was preserved and remains in place inside the hotel. Take a look at this video to see how the archaeological team uncovered an ancient road, a canal and many religious items.
The archaeological work has added to the knowledge of Incan life, and it’s a great example of how Marriott works with local communities to preserve their cultural heritage. Gustavo Diaz Salazar is the general contractor for the JW Marriott Hotel Cusco project. He said, “The most important part is not the economic value of this project. We believe value of this kind is priceless.” Other workers were thankful that the hotel is displaying the many objects they excavated in its own museum. It’s not often that a hotel project turns into an archeological dig and museum, but this one certainly did. It’ll be a landmark for Marriott.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.