Av. Siete Lagos 2369 (8407), Villa La Angostura, Neuquén
A mere 50 miles from the International Bariloche Airport is Villa La Angostura. Many say that a visit to this quiet fishing village is like being able to experience Bariloche 30 years ago, before it became the highly commercialized tourist destination it now is. Overlooking the transparent azure of Nahuel Huapi Lake, endless forests of beech trees, and of course the towering Andes, is the relatively new Luma hotel.
Although Luma conveniently lies just over a mile from town center along the famous Seven Lakes route, by the time you descend the entrance path through the forest you will feel as though you have left town light years behind you. Very noticeable upon walking through its doors is the sense of calm that seems to vibrate through the walls of this cozy lakeside mansion. Family owned and operated, you will probably be invited to sit down for tea, coffee, or a drink with one of the well–traveled, tri–lingual owners (English, Spanish, and Italian). Having the owner right on site makes all the difference in the world when it comes to details being attended to. You feel the passion and the commitment that is poured into this hotel. And when they tell you to make yourself at home and to feel free to explore every nook and cranny of the place as if it were your own, you get the sense that they really mean it.
All of the eight available rooms in this hotel are large, airy suites with high ceilings and massive bathrooms. All bathrooms have rain head shower stalls, claw foot bathtubs, and luxurious organic bath products. Three of the options have private terraces, although all rooms have breathtaking lake views. Your private patio or terrace is the perfect place to sip a glass of Argentine wine while watching the sun set over the mountains. In the summer you can even leave the large French doors open at night to be able to see the stars while listening to the waves lapping up on the shore, which is literally a mere 100ft from your door. Quality linens, Wi–Fi, and satellite flat–screen TVs mounted on the wall come standard with all suites.
Luma was designed not just as a place to sleep at night, but as a true retreat. Although there are many outdoor activities offered in the surrounding area, such as skiing at the nearby Cerro Bayo Ski Resort, or fly fishing Lake Correntoso right across the road, you very well may find yourself not wanting to leave the grounds. After a breakfast of European pastries, tartlets, cheeses, fruits, and a proper coffee, you may choose to go walk along the shoreline in hopes of sighting an Andean Condor before taking full advantage of the spa. The spa offers a heated indoor/outdoor pool, massage room, dry sauna, and a Scottish shower. In the wintertime, you can go straight from the warm pool to lounging by the large fireplace.
Spend your day leisurely reading one of the many books from the large library, play pool, sip a cocktail in the lobby with other guests. While there is a lot to do on-site, the vibe throughout the entire place is pretty intimate and quiet. Most guests will appreciate the peace, but guests that are used to staying in hotels with many restaurants, bars, and a casino may be unnerved a little by the level of tranquility offered here.
When it comes to cuisine, get ready for a gastronomical treat for dinner. There is definitely no reason to leave the premises to eat– some of the best food in town comes right out of their kitchen. Many ingredients are local, such as the shrimp or fish, and combine traditional Patagonian ingredients with Italian flair. The menu changes daily, ensuring that the food is fresh and the chef is inspired. One of the owners of Luma happens to be a sommelier, so you can be sure that your meal will be paired with the perfect wine from one of the hundred labels from the private wine cellar.
If what you are looking for is a laid–back trip to Patagonia where you can focus on fully taking in the lakes, forest, and mountains that this region is famous for, the enchanting Luma is hard to beat. It refuses to be just one more hotel in the area providing a nice room with a pretty view. It seems that when you walk through the doors, there is a commitment made on their part to make sure that you feel at home, and that you have an unforgettable experience of laid–back relaxation. Many guests leave already planning their next trip back to this charming villa. While it has only been on the scene for a couple of years, Luma seems to have found its stride, and has already made its mark internationally as a must–know boutique hotel.
Web Site: www.lumapatagonia.com.ar
Total Number of Rooms: 8
Published rates: $380—$405
Review by Cathy Brown. Photos by the author except shot of hotel from lake, courtesy of Luma.