Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
It's not always easy to find a hotel property in a breathtaking destination that so embraces the sense of place that you feel as if the windows that separate indoors and outdoors are merely for temperature control. Torres del Paine National Park in Chile's Patagonia region is such a wild and beautiful place that I very nearly gasped every time I looked around from any spot at Tierra Patagonia.
On the edge of Lake Sarmiento, Tierra Patagonia's gigantic picture windows offer jaw-dropping views of the Paine Massif. All you have to do is sit there as the light changes from morning to evening, and challenge yourself to not fill up the entire memory card in your camera. I nearly grew tired of a friend making fun of my constant remarks.
“Wow?” I'd comment and then trail off.
“Pretty?” he'd ask, with a smirk, knowing what I was thinking. To be honest, that's about the only vocabulary you need.
Opened at the very end of 2011, the resort allows guests to enjoy the region's dramatic beauty in five-star comfort. Tierra Patagonia's 40 rooms come in three styles: suites, superior rooms, and family apartments. Superior rooms are just spacious enough, with a huge bathroom and tub with a view. Suites boast a two-story loft design with a living space up top and sleeping space below. Family apartments are made of two interconnecting superior rooms, thus allowing a family not only more space, but two bathrooms as well. All hotel rooms have showers and bathtubs, L'Occitane products, robes, slippers, hairdryers and in-room safes.
Tierra Patagonia's all-inclusive offerings include transfers to and from the Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, or Calafate airports; three meals per day and open bar; daily excursions; and use of the Uma Spa facilities (treatments are available for an additional charge). Special rates are available for children and teens.
Despite the capricious Patagonian weather, the big spaces at Tierra Patagonia make it seem as if you're outside in the middle of the grand vistas. Instead, you get the benefit of the views without bundling up. But when you do go outside and look back at the hotel, you'll notice how the long, thin building fits into the landscape—rather than detracting from it. On a hike along a nearby rock buttress, I could barely spot the hotel.
The grand living space includes comfortable chairs to chill out and enjoy your downtime. Some are arranged around a huge fireplace, which is tended to at night. Colors are in keeping with the stark, yet beautiful landscape, in brown and beige tones with an occasional bright accent. Stones and driftwood are scattered throughout the property—a further connection with those natural elements you see immediately outside.
Guests on the hotel's adventures and excursions are accompanied by bilingual guides and include: walking and hiking, horseback riding, scenic tours and visits to estancias. While I was a guest at Tierra Patagonia, I hiked along nearby buttresses to spot condors, hiked the Paso de la Guitarra, climbed to the Mirador Ferrier and went horseback riding in Estancia Lazo before having a tasty Patagonian barbecue. Not all of the adventures are on the active side. Many excursions transport guests in vans to scenic lookouts for photo safaris, and the hardest thing you have to do is walk a short distance and lift your camera.
Not feeling adventurous? Skip an excursion and simply relax at the hotel. Those breathtaking views look as good from the living room as they do from your bedroom. For extra pampering, relax with a spa treatment at the Uma Spa, where you get the perfect front row seat of the mountains. I had the deep relaxation massage, but other there are plenty of massage options, as well as facials and bathing rituals. It's also perfectly fine to take a swim in the indoor pool, which is far warmer than Lake Sarmiento.
Everywhere you turn, the views of the Paine Massif, Lake Sarmiento, local sheep, rheas, and the occasional guanaco are enough to remind you how lucky you are to be here.
Total Number of Rooms: 40
Published rates: Starting at $1,950 per person for a three-night minimum stay, based on double occupancy, all inclusive.
Review by Jill K. Robinson, photos courtesy of Tierra Patagonia