Tis the season! Yes, summertime is primetime for visiting the south of Chile, a.k.a. southern Patagonia, a wonderland of pristine forests, spectacular fjords, colossal glaciers, and true blue lakes, many of which are sheltered in national parks and reserves.
And just in time for Christmas and beyond, two luxury lodges are scheduled for December debuts. One is outside the town of Puerto Natales and set along the gorgeous shores of Ultima Esperanza fjord, acting as a gateway to the most dramatic site in the south, the Torres del Paine National Park. The other lodge is located just outside Paine Park, with uninterrupted panoramas of Lake Sarmiento and the signature “towers” of Paine, strange needle-like formations of gray granite, dusted in snow and enveloped in mists.
The Singular Patagonia—a 57-room luxury retreat—now occupies the marvelously restored and renovated Bores Cold Storage Plant, once the center of the region’s flourishing sheep farming industry and more recently, a landmark post-Victorian complex set on 100 acres overlooking the Ultima Esperanza fjord. The hotel’s design team carefully combined the old industrial structure with a modern, sleek wing whose grand guest rooms (starting at 500 sq. ft.) have 10-ft. floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the fjord and the snow-covered mountains beyond. Respecting the purity of the area and intent on leaving as small a footprint as possible, the priority is using green and sustainable technologies. Indeed, TVs in the rooms are offered only on request.
Additionally, all rooms have large beds, a small living room, WiFi, spacious bathroom with separate shower and tub, and high-quality amenities. Throughout the lodge, furnishings are custom-made and handcrafted, and facilities include a 3,000-sq.-ft. spa, sauna and indoor/outdoor pool. Add to these two private nature reserves, exclusively for the enjoyment of guests. The lodge provides a two-to-one staff-guest ratio, award-winning culinary team, and a roster of 20 Singular expeditions—led by a dedicated expedition team—that includes hiking in mountain terrain, exploring farms on horseback and rivers by kayak, fjord cruising aboard two high-speed boats, cooking lessons and tastings, and full-day outings to Torres del Paine National Park.
The Singular Patagonia is close to Puerto Natales, a frontier-style-town made lively by cozy cafes, funky bistros and bookstores. Very close to the Argentine border, the town is also the hub for overland travel by bus or private car to Calafate (four-five hours), which is a 3.5-hour flight from Buenos Aires. Guests from Santiago fly to Punta Arenas (3.5 hours), and then drive 2.5 hours to the Lodge. Transfers to/from both Punta Arenas and Calafate are complimentary for guests staying at least three nights on a full board plan, rather than simply bed and breakfast. Room with breakfast rates start at $660 per night.
For more information, visit thesingular.com.
Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa will officially open on Dec. 20. Located on the eastern border of Torres del Paine Park, a glacial wonderland and UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the hotel complements the landscape in its exterior design and has a Patagonian warmth and coziness in its interiors. There are grand views everywhere, including the 40 guestrooms, which include three designer duplexes with one bedroom downstairs, upstairs living rooms and two bathrooms; and 37 double rooms (387 sq. ft.) with king-sized bed. Additionally, the property features six family apartments (775 sq. ft.) with one room sleeping two persons and a second room for four, plus two bathrooms. All rooms have king beds with luxury linens, internet access, bathrooms with separate tub and shower, hair dryer, and amenities by l’Occitane.
Public spaces include a living room and bar, dining area (where guests enjoy seafood from the Straits of Magellan, lamb and beef from neighboring ranches, all accompanied by Chilean wines), guides presentation room, library, TV lounge, WiFi, indoor pool, outdoor jacuzzi and the Uma Spa where treatments use local elements, stones and waters. Days are spent enjoying a wide selection of excursions to discover Torres del Pain Park and the neighboring ranches and pampas; guides meet daily with guests to help select each day’s program from walks or treks to horseback, bicycle and van rides.