- Style Pine-clad palace
- Setting Waterfront wilderness
A river runs through it at luxury lodge Rio Hermoso hotel, just outside San Martin de los Andes, a Patagonian playground of fir-studded mountains, startled stags and bottomless, bottle-blue lakes. Interiors of richly-hued local stones and timbers, striking tribal artefacts and all-white, super-size soft furnishings don’t even try to compete with the environmental pole dance outside.
Need to know
- Rooms Seven, including six suites.
- Rates Double rooms from $322.31, excluding tax at 21 per cent.
- More details Rates include breakfast and tax.
- Facilities Library of DVDs and books, gardens and free WiFi. In rooms, Organ & Co bath products.
- Check–out 11am, but flexible for 25 per cent of the daily rate. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Children This hotel is better suited to couples - leave the children at home!
- Eco‐friendly Rio Hermoso sources most food from the nearby Melquina township and outlying region, and recycles almost obsessively, even sending unused produce to a local orphanage.
- Also The common areas are subtly perfumed with mood-enhancing eucalypt and sandlewood scents; the property also stocks local merino wool designers, Von and Dungen.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms All rooms feature white-linened, empire-sized beds big enough to catch a fish in. We liked the three upstairs rooms off the library-like landing full of old Spanish medical and legal textbooks: No.3’s daffodil yellow armchair commands the best river view in a cosy eaves setting, and lime-lightened No.1’s terrace proffers the perfect spot for a warming or cooling glass of wine, depending on the season.
- Packing tips A hip flask, a pocket-warmer and your favourite beanie if coming to ski.
- Also The beautiful river is the star of the show. Swim in its piercingly clear waters in summer, listen to its deafening roar in snow-swollen winter, and watch the trout literally jump upstream at spawning time in spring. The long, low, bleached-wood benches and outdoor sofas of the wide veranda provide the perfect spot for water worship.
Food and drink at Río Hermoso
- Hotel restaurant Buenos Aires-trained chef Julian brings a touch of French flair to the menu. Meals are taken in one half of the expansive, glass-walled living room, the white linen tablecloths and red- and orange-striped cushioned chairs dappled by the light off the water. Afternoon tea involves test tubes full of loose leaf teas – go traditional with ceylons and darjeelings or off the map with black toffee, puer or lemon flower. Breakfast is a feast of brownies, breads and cereals, with eggs on demand; make sure you try the dangerously creamy huevos revueltos.
- Dress code Designer fleece in winter; plaid shirts and comfy Merrells all year round.
- Top table When it’s warm enough, ask for a table and umbrella out in the garden by the river.
- Last orders Everyone is rosy-cheeked and reflective by 10pm, so don’t expect to eat too late.
- Room service Apart from the dead-of-night munchies, most things can be brought to the room at any time.
- Hotel bar The housegirls whip up a potent caipirinha behind the little elevated bar in the middle of the big entertaining room downstairs. Bar stools encourage languid, pidgin-Spanish conversations; or choose one of the boardgames and settle in for thrashing.