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Hot spots: Tierra Patagonia, Chile

Daniel Allen

 

What is it? An upmarket eco-resort on the edge of the remote Torres del Paine National Park, in Chilean Patagonia, one of South America's finest wildernesses, where guests wake up each morning to the glorious sight of the park's most distinctive landmark (weather permitting).

And what is that? The Torres del Paine ("towers of Paine") are three massive granite pillars that soar 2,800 metres above the surrounding Patagonian steppe. Nearly 2,000 kilometres south of the Chilean capital, Santiago, these spectacular spires are flanked by the summit of Paine Grande (3,050 metres) and the sharp black tusks of Los Cuernos ("the horns").

What's the local wildlife like? Hotel guests are perfectly placed to explore the national park, a pristine preserve where pumas, condors, rheas, flamingos and llama-like guanacos all roam or soar free.

Any must-dos? Drag yourself out of bed before dawn - at least once - to witness a Torres del Paine sunrise, when the three torres are painted in pinkish hues for a magnificent few minutes. A range of excursions within the park are offered daily.

Tell us more about the hotel. Tierra Patagonia's serpentine, low-slung shape is said to have been inspired by fossils found nearby. Deliberately inconspicuous on the outside, the hotel's interior is a marvel of organic design. Constructed almost entirely from wood, the airy main salon seamlessly unites a lounge area and circular fireplace with a bar and dining space. The 40 guest rooms display the same chic Nordic aesthetic, with handcrafted furniture that imparts a natural elegance. At one end of the hotel, the Uma Spa boasts an indoor pool, an outdoor jacuzzi, a sauna and a steam bath.

Is it green? Tierra Patagonia's eco-credentials are fully in order. All exterior materials were sourced from the area, including the stone that anchors the base of the hotel. The hotel is also part of a government initiative to reinvigorate the beauty of the area and its management has teamed up with the Reforestemos Patagonia NGO to plant a tree on behalf of each and every guest.

What's the bottom line? Taking into account the hotel's location, it doesn't make much sense to stay at Tierra Patagonia for anything less than three nights. For these three nights, prices range from US$2,050 per person in a standard double, to US$3,200 per person in a superior single. These rates include accommodation, all meals and excursions, an open bar, use of the spa, and the four-hour road transfer to and from the nearest major airport, at Punta Arenas.

For more information and reservations, go to www.tierrapatagonia.com.

 

 

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