The Big Six: Chilean retreat
Tailor-made excursions, double-height rooms, vineyards, bohemian barrios, geodesic domes, and lakeside restaurants
Saturday 07 December 2013
Awasi, Torres del Paine
The latest lodge to open in Chile's portion of Patagonia launched last month. Set in a private reserve on the eastern edge of the Torres del Paine National Park, it looks out across tooth-like peaks and the glistening waters of Lake Sarmiento with 12 cabins that stand staggered up a hillside. The wood-clad interiors are warm and inviting with epic views and the food is first class, but the tailor-made excursions, with a private guide and driver, are where the resort really excels.
Awasi, Torres del Paine National Park (00 56 2 2233 9641; awasi.cl). Three nights from US$1,920 (£1,280)pp, all inclusive.
With its cobbled streets, colourful buildings and coastal setting, Valparaíso makes a perfect side-trip from Santiago. The picturesque port swells with ageing colonial buildings, that climb up steep steps and hills. One of these beauties is home to Zerohotel, which is painted to pastel perfection, with gleaming white shutters and blooming bougainvillea bushes. There's a terrace that looks out to the Pacific, an honesty bar and gorgeous double-height rooms.
Zerohotel, Lautaro Rosas 343, Valparaíso (00 56 32 211 3113; zerohotel.com). Doubles from US$265 (£177), B&B.
Casa Silva, Colchagua
Casa Silva is the oldest vineyard in the Colchagua Valley. It has been in the Silva family since the 19th century and now grows everything from sauvignon gris to cabernet grapes in the rows that reach out beneath the Andes. The old family home has been converted into a gorgeous little guesthouse, snaked by courtyards and terraces, that lead through to traditional rooms. A handful of other vineyards nearby makes this the perfect base for touring Chile's winelands.
Casa Silva, San Fernando, Colchagua Valley (00 56 72 71 74 91; casasilva.cl). Doubles from US$275 (£183), B&B.
This 1920s townhouse is located in Santiago's bohemian barrio of Lastarria, close to the arty enclave's galleries and museums. Converted into a hotel in 2011, it's now a family-run retreat which retains original parquet flooring, grand period windows and a sweeping marble staircase, with a hint of contemporary art that speaks of its recent transformation. Other new additions include a cocktail bar and candle-lit terrace, that gazes down on to a small garden and outdoor pool.
Lastarria, Bueras 188, Santiago (00 56 2 2840 3700; lastarriahotel.com). Doubles from US$189 (£126), room only.
Elqui Domos, Atacama
The Atacama desert sweeps for 600 miles along the Pacific coast of South America. Hidden amid the Elqui Valley, this camp has seven geodesic domes and four concrete cabins. The focus here is on the stars above, so you'll spend hours gazing up at the desert skies from the comfort of your bed. In addition to astronomy tours and nightly horse rides, the resort has also added an astronomic observatory this year, complete with Ceslestron telescopes and digital cameras for capturing the heavens.
Elqui Domos, Elqui Valley, Atacama (00 56 9 7709 2879; elquidomos.cl). Doubles from US$155 (£103), B&B.
Antumalal, Lake District
Antumalal stands amid verdant gardens, with full-wall windows that make the most of its setting in the Chilean Lake District. The building was designed by Jorge Elton in the 1950s, after the Czech couple who owned the land, persuded the Chilean president to help them secure a loan for a hotel. Subsequent guests have included the Queen, Neil Armstrong and James Stewart, who came to find solitude in its wood-panelled rooms, lakeside restaurant and stunning natural setting.
Antumalal, Pucón, Villarrica Lake (00 56 45 244 101; antumalal.com). Doubles from US$251 (£167), B&B.
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