Tierra Patagonia

LOCATION: Sitting just outside the boundary of the Torres Del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia, Tierra Patagonia is a luxury lodge with impeccable architectural credentials. Its location is as lovely as its looks, with the picture-perfect Lake Sarmiento – glinting sapphire in the sunlight – the view from every room, and from all the public areas.
Clients may query the benefits of Tierra Patagonia against competitor Explora Patagonia, and the answer is simple. Guiding, views and food are great at both; Explora is within the park so requires shorter drives to the main hiking hotspots and wins for convenience, Tierra is slightly further out, but at nearly two decades younger is a more beautiful, striking property architecturally.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The lodge looks almost as if it grew there. Walls and roof combine into one sweeping curve, made of slats of the local lenga wood. The architect’s clever trick has been to render it almost invisible from a distance, but utterly striking close up. Inside, a sprawling main area segues from restaurant to bar, to lounge, to library – there’s even a nook with hanging egg chairs positioned to catch afternoon rays. The blond wood is offset by local textiles and sheepskin, and a huge mural map of the region and its landmarks fills the end wall. Think mid-century modern meets amped-up shepherd’s shack.

THE FACTS: The quality of luxe simplicity is replicated in the rooms, which are understated, letting the views through the picture windows speak. Bathrooms are snazzier, adorned with arboreal designs cut into the frosted glass. There are 37 standard rooms, three two-storey design suites and five family suites, which can accommodate up to six people. This is a long, thin hotel, so every room has a lakefront view, with rooms bookended by the spa at one end and the restaurant at the other.
The all-inclusive package covers food, wine, and excursions – spa treatments and some drinks are extra. The food is good, with breakfast combining buffet and a la carte, and three courses with wine available at lunch and dinner. Wines are by the glass but are refilled with great alacrity and wide smiles.

A GOOD BASE FOR: Alongside the guided excursions in the park (which range from horse riding and short walks to full day hikes completing legs of the famous ‘W’ circuit), guests can take the short walk from the hotel down to the shores of Lake Sarmiento, where a lucky few have spotted pumas. The lodge is offering special puma photo safaris in September and October this year, and in April 2014. Whether you see one or not, it’s love to have the freedom to wander off along – without the fear of getting lost on a mountain.

WOW: The UMA spa is pretty spectacular from any angle. Fronted by floor-to-ceiling glass, you can enjoy the breath-taking view from the warmth and tranquility of the indoor pool or head out to the Jacuzzi where the bubbles underneath will compete with the breeze above. Behind the pool huddle a collection of cosy treatment rooms staffed by expert masseuses – Carmen managed to work knots out of my shoulders in half an hour that I’d been building up for months. An extra ‘wow’ has to go for Raoul, the pet lamb, who wander around the car park, grazing happily.

HOW MUCH: Full board rates start at US$1,950 per person for three nights, including meals, drinks, excursions and airport transfers.

tierrapatagonia.com

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