The Singular, Patagonia
What is it? During the 19th century, the building was a cold-storage plant. The post-Victorian brick structure has been converted into a sleek luxury hotel and opened last November. The transformation is a marriage of heritage-listed features and luxurious 21st-century trappings. Located on the shore of the Senoret Channel, in the Chilean part of Patagonia, The Singular is five kilometres from the small town of Puerto Natales and 250 kilometres from Punta Arenas.
It sounds intriguing, tell us more. The first 300 sheep were introduced to Patagonia in 1877 by European pioneers. By 1915, a thriving industry resulted in the construction of the Bories Cold-Storage plant, where sheep were slaughtered, processed and refrigerated. The meat and wool were exported to Europe.
So, what's it like now? The term 'industrial chic' comes to mind. The plant was given a glossy makeover by Chilean architect Pedro Kovacic and interior designer Enrique Concha y Asociados, who exposed piping and brickwork in the reception, bar (top right) and dining areas and introduced elements of glass and steel. Walkways between the common areas are museum spaces displaying original British-made 20th-century machinery. The dining room (bottom right) is equipped with modern brass lamps and leather sofas.
The property has three suites and 54 rooms. Rooms are spacious (45 square metres) and appointed with quality fittings. Huge windows offer tranquil views of the Last Hope fjord from every room. Grey and white bathrooms come with enormous designer bathtubs.
It's so far away. Why would we go there? The Singular is the latest addition to a growing list of luxury resorts in Patagonia, a region of stunning snowcapped mountains and glaciers. An extensive list of excursions caters to all fitness levels and includes: horse riding, kayaking, condor watching, sailing the fjords and hiking in Torres del Paine National Park (above).
Don't tell me, you like the food, too? The food is excellent and dishes are beautifully presented. The French chef prepares European-style meals with Patagonian produce such as Magellan lamb, king crab and guanaco. The cellar is stocked with Chilean wine and the barmen make an excellent pisco sour, Chile's national drink.
What else is there? The Singular Wellness Spa has indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna and a steam room, and offers therapies that utilise indigenous ingredients such as mineral-rich glacial water, extracts of locally grown fruit and herbs.
What's the bottom line? Rooms can be booked with breakfast (from US$275 a person) or all-inclusive, which covers meals, drinks and excursions (from US$430 a person) a night for two people sharing.
The Singular Patagonia is in Puerto Bories, Chile, tel: 56 61 722 030; www.thesingular.com.