Room service: The Singular Patagonia, Chile

Luxury at the end of the world

The icy wind is breathtaking as the speeding boat cuts through the choppy surface of Last Hope Sound. It's summer in Chilean Patagonia, but the wind-chill factor adds a frisson. Mountains and glaciers loom on both sides. To the south, the extreme environment of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago is the last stop before Antarctica.

Sailing the fjords is one of the excursions available to guests of The Singular Patagonia. I disembark on The Singular's 170m-long pier, once part of the busy dock at Puerto Bories. It's the ideal vantage point from which to admire the hotel, a beautifully preserved early 20th-century industrial building. The former cold-storage and processing plant was built in 1906 by the Sociedad Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego to meet the needs of the region's fledgling sheep-farming economy. Today, the hotel is a homage to that heritage and to the role of the British in this region's story, who from the early 1870s had colonised the area, introducing the first sheep from the Falkland Islands.

A sensitive restoration of the complex has created a home for the hotel's private historical collection. Guests can negotiate the steep slope down to the entrance and reception using the renovated funicular lift. Here, at the heart of the site, the boiler and engine rooms have been refurbished and encased in glass, while the original machinery has been returned to pristine condition and recalls its roots, embossed with "Derby, England", "Glasgow" and "London".

Glass corridors connect the cluster of buildings: in one direction are the bedrooms and a small spa with views over the sound. In the other, the former tannery has been transformed into the public areas. The internal structure has been retained to create an expansive, open-plan bar-lounge-restaurant and a mezzanine breakfast area, making use of features such as the triple-height ceiling and an original wooden staircase. Comfortable sofas and chairs take the edge off the industrial interior and create a relaxing space for a pre-dinner pisco sour. Stars of the restaurant menu are seasonal, local ingredients such as succulent Magellan lamb and king crab.

Location

Chilean Patagonia can be reached from the north only by boat or plane (unless you cross in and out of Argentina). A three- to four-hour flight from Santiago, followed by a three-hour drive, brings you to a place so remote that the locals have more in common with their Argentine neighbours than their countrymen. Five minutes away from The Singular, Puerto Natales has the air of a frontier town. It's also a pleasant hub for the area's big draw, Torres del Paine National Park.

The Singular has a team of expert guides, and guests have exclusive access to the hotel's two private reserves. For an authentic Patagonian experience, a day's walking in the Sierra Baguales includes a visit to a working ranch. Alternatively, the hotel's high-speed boats will transport you for a guided hike to the end of the Serrano Glacier.

Comfort

The 54 rooms and three suites are in the only new addition to the original building, but bespoke construction has paid off. Every room has a view of the Patagonian fjords, thanks to 6m or 12m windows that invite guests to connect with the natural environment. After a day's hiking, cycling or horseback trekking, guests need to give their limbs a little love and there's plenty of room to spread out in the spacious standard rooms; suites also come with living areas. Bathrooms are large and luxurious, with deep tubs and walk-in showers, and toiletries made from olive oil and lavender aid rejuvenation.

The philosophy is simple luxury. Carpets that bounce underfoot contrast with the industrial, concrete-slab ceilings. Décor is neutral, with earthy coloured feature walls and pieces of traditional, dark-wood furniture providing a colonial touch. Prints of original photos – working men, gauchos and vaqueros – adorn the walls and bureaux. And every room has a view of the pier – a deliberate visual connection to this historic monument's past.

Cox & Kings (0845 154 8941; coxandkings.co.uk) offers a 10-day tour of Chile, from £4,195 per person, including two nights' full board at The Singular Patagonia, three nights' full board at Tierra Patagonia, three nights' B&B at the Hotel Lastarria in Santiago, flights from Heathrow via Madrid, transfers and excursions. For more information, visit chile.travel.

Travel essentials

The Singular Patagonia, Puerto Bories s/n, Puerto Natales, Patagonia, Chile (00 56 61 722030; thesingular.com).

Rooms ***

Value *****

Service ****

Double rooms start at US$275 (£172) including breakfast.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'