Star status architects have taken inspiration from the spectacular and varied environments and landscapes in Chile to create breathtaking boltholes that wow guests from the moment they arrive.
Some compete for attention with the stunning wild landscapes they are nestled into, while the city slickers reflect a chic urban style and luxury touch.
Whether it is in Patagonia in the southern tip of Chile, or downtown Santiago, the capital and largest city that is surrounded by the snow-capped Andes and the Chilean Coast Range, there are some amazing hotels on offer.
The dramatic landscape of Patagonia where the wilderness rules, has been the impetus for creative hotel design that sees guests reluctant to leave, while Chile’s wine region has its own star accommodation.
Here are a few of Chile’s best hotels that have guests planning to return even before they have packed their bags and handed in the key.
Tierra Chiloe Hotel and Spa
Where: Chiloe Northern Patagonia
Highlights: This magnificent boutique hotel is located on Chile’s second largest island in Patagonia, Chiloe, where the scenery simply takes your breath away, no matter where you look. The 12-room boutique hotel is doubling in size soon due to popularity and like its sister properties, Tierra Atacama and Tierra Patagonia, it offers exceptional experiences and personalised service for guests. The new rooms are set to open in 2017.
The lodge’s distinctive architecture matches the breathtaking surroundings of the area and guests can horse ride, explore the fjords and tour local fishing villages. There’s also a spa for indulgent treatments.
The lodge has its own boat, the Williche, for navigating the inland waters and discovering the charms of the archipelago.
The Singular Patagonia
Where: Puerto Bories Patagonia
Highlights: This stunning resort was once a cold storage plant built in 1915 that took 10 years to renovate and restore. It was resurrected by fourth generation relatives of the plant’s founders and is a celebration of its heritage. The 57 rooms and suites feature custom-made, hand-crafted furniture and spectacular views. The luxury resort offers amazing experiences including trekking, sailing fjords, kayaking, fly-fishing and mountain biking. Dining is an adventure featuring regional recipes and fresh produce. An eco-spa is perfect for unwinding after a busy day of exploring on horseback or navigating rivers by kayak. In a nod to the past, the hotel’s restored wooden dock sits over the Fjord of Last Hope from which ships once took wool to world markets.
Vira Vira Hacienda Hotel
Highlights: Named after a local ancient medicinal herb, known as the herb of life, this hotel soothes the soul and inspires. It is set on a 23-hectare native park along the shores of the Liucura River and offers a perfect haven in which to relax and unwind.
Surrounded by national parks and volcanoes, including the majestic volcano Villarrica, it has hotel rooms, villa suites and hacienda rooms – some with hot tubs overlooking the river. The special Ruca Suite is located in the middle of a native forest overlooking the lagoon.
This Relais and Châteaux hotel features ‘The Elegance of Adventure’ program that includes an all-inclusive stay with daily activities. Dining is also an adventure here with a fabulous menu of regional produce.
Where: Colchagua Valley
Highlights: The Lapostolle Residence features four magnificent individual casitas nestled in the forested hillside of the Colchagua valley, Chile’s premier wine-growing region. The exclusive winery and luxurious boutique lodge is surrounded by gardens including native plants of the area and there’s a pool. Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, great-granddaughter of the creator of Grand Marnier, is the force behind the winery and hotel. A team of chefs create a special menu for each wine, using organic vegetables from the garden and top-quality seasonal products. The Relais & Châteaux property offers biking through the vineyards and you can trek along the 500 hectares of nature trails in the Apalta Hills above the Residence.
A winery tour and private tasting is also offered.
Where: San Pedro de Atacama
Highlights: Awasi means home and this place is certainly an amazing home that redefines rustic chic. Located in the ancient trading town of San Pedro de Atacama, the Relais and Châteaux property has just 10 rooms that come with a private guide and 4WD so guests can explore at their own pace. Inspired by Pre-Inca ruins and a local historian, the round-shaped henna-hued adobe structures transport guests to another world. The self-contained havens feature a patio, solarium, plus outdoor and indoor showers. Excursions to the Atacama Desert reveal geysers, valleys, canyons, petroglyphs, giant cacti, flamingos, vicunas and foxes. The open-air restaurant serves sophisticated Andean fare and cooking classes are also offered. There’s also 6,000 hectares of private estate to explore and relax.
Explora Rapa Nui
Where: Easter Island
Highlights: Magnificent views of Easter Island’s countryside and the Pacific Ocean are a feature of the hotel located close to the island’s main town, Hanga Roa. The 30 luxury rooms are perfect havens after a busy day exploring the island. Activities include more than 20 different guided hikes, bike rides and fishing and snorkelling explorations, in groups of a maximum of eight. They range from easy to expert with different durations including half or full day. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, a Jacuzzi and an ancestral sauna that’s perfect for relaxing. The island’s language, music and many traditions are kept alive by the island’s inhabitants, while the enormous carved stone Moai are testimony to their mysterious past.
Hotel Patagonia Camp
Where: Lake Toro
Highlights: This is the first luxury camp in South America featuring 18 fully-equipped yurts with heating, ensuites and private terraces. From within the luxury yurts, guests can hear the sound of wind or rain while gazing at the stars right from a comfortable bed. The area has a reputation as one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
The resort has been designed to tread lightly on the environment and the entire complex is built on wooden piles with interconnecting walkways. The building system helps preserve the native plants, shrubs and trees that have grown in the area for hundreds of years. It is also a bird lovers’ haven with dozens of birds curiously observing guests. Five- to eight-day programs are available.
Hotel Boutique Castillo Rojo
Where: Bellavista Santiago
Highlights: Built in 1923 and known as the Red Castle, the elegant private home was restored in 2013 as a boutique hotel. It features original furniture, restored fireplaces, woodwork and design elements that reflect a 1920s style with fabulous comfort. It is located in the lively Bellavista area near Pablo Neruda House, Patio Bellavista and the Funicular to the summit of San Cristóbal Hill. There are 19 luxury rooms, a wine bar, and two restaurants. Rooms feature spectacular views of either the snow-capped Andes, downtown Bellavista, or Plaza Mori. Vintage and modern design effortlessly mix to create Castillo Rojo’s cozy but sophisticated atmosphere. The beautiful gardens feature open spaces and terraces that are perfect for relaxing in before retiring to one of Santiago’s most iconic buildings. •
Photography by various establishments.
Where to stay
• Tierra Chiloe Hotel and Spa: tierrahotels.com
• The Singular Patagonia: thesingular.com
• Vira Vira Hacienda Hotel: hotelviravira.com
• Lapostolle Residence: lapostolle.com
• Awasi Atacama: awasiatacama.com
• Explora Rapa Nui: explora.com
• Hotel Patagonia Camp: patagoniacamp.com
• Hotel Boutique Castillo Rojo: castillorojohotel.com
When to go
September is a good month to visit Chile including Santiago, Patagonia and the Atacama Desert. It is not as busy as the peak season and the days are warming up.