Hotel Awa in Chile’s picturesque Zona Sur is a bold visual punchline of glittering glass and stone – no surprise, then, that its accomplished owner is an ambitious architect and designer. The Wallpaper-worthy eye-candy continues inside, courtesy of Mapuche fabrics and looms, local materials such as flagstone, volcanic rock and wood from the endogenous guaitecas cypress tree, plus artworks by Matilde Perez. (The stunning views of Llanquihue Lake and Osorno Volcano will also vie for your attention.) Unwind by the pool, get pampered in the spa and try Chilean cuisine in the restaurant – but don’t forget to set forth for adventures in the local, off-the-radar national parks; they’re right on your doorstep, after all.
Get this when you book through us:
A one-way transfer from or to Puerto Montt airport and either sparkling wine or a selection of cheese and local produce
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £344.87 ($450).
Pick from B&B rates, or half- or full-board. All rates include Continental and buffet breakfast: muesli, pastries and just-baked bread, plus items cooked to order, including omelettes starring free-range eggs from Awa’s farm.
Thoughtfully, Hotel Awa provides hair straighteners and sun hats.
At the hotel
Gorgeous gardens; spa; gym; adventure activities and private excursions; on-loan bikes; laundry service, WiFi, on-site parking. In rooms: bluetooth speaker, Jacuzzi, TV, WiFi, shaving mirror, air conditioning, minibar, free bottled water, decorative fireplace.
Our favourite rooms
Opt for second- or third-floor sleeping quarters for the best volcano views.
The pool is one of the hotel’s architectural magic tricks: it appears to float outside, with a glass wall overlooking the lake.
Awa’s dazzling spa has a 25-metre-long 28ºC pool, another 38ºC pool with stunning views of the volcano, a steam room, a sauna, a treatment room (we’d opt for the royal jelly facial or a revitalising massage) and a small gym, where Pilates and yoga sessions take place. Breathe in the scent of wood and sweet citrus while you relax and unwind.
Bring boots and threads fit for outdoors adventures.
Rates also include spa access, WiFi and use of the kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and bikes. The first floor can be accessed by a ramp; the other levels can be reached by the lift.
Accepted, but the hotel is really designed for adults.
Very: the hotel’s organic farm provides its produce and eggs; earth-kind LED light bulbs and bath products are used; glass and aluminum are recycled; Awa has a water-treatment plant; compost is made from the organic waste of the kitchen. Local materials star in the hotel’s construction.
The usual rules apply: outside on the terrace when the sun shines; inside by the fire, if and when it doesn’t.
Awa was designed to be an extension of the owners’ home – they want you to feel at home, so wear whatever you’re comfy in. (We’d opt for a Wallpaper-editor meets Chilean-explorer look: Perspex specs, textured wools, linens and leather accents.)
The restaurant’s daily-changing menu sings little love songs to the region and its delicious produce, meat and seafood. Try the scallops, the Chilean lamb and the moreish empanadas. As much as possible is sourced from the hotel’s organic garden; the expert sommelier works closely with the kitchen to wine-match the delicious dishes.
Just keep your eyes peeled for the floating Chilean boat in the lobby and you’ll find the bar, whose riffing-on-the-region cocktails star home-made spirits and liqueurs. Cool off with a mojito or mint julep; that robust Chilean wine isn’t to be sniffed at, either…
Breakfast is available between 8am and 10am; lunch is served from noon until 3pm; dinner from 8pm until 10pm.
Hotel Awa occupies a peaceful perch beside tranquil Lake Llanquihue, in Chile's scenic Zona Sur. On the hotel’s doorstep are a range of breathtaking, lesser-known Chilean national parks; this is your ticket to explore them.
Fly into Puerto Montt’s El Tepual airport, an hour away (Smith24 can sort your flights). Hotel transfers cost US$80 one way, for up to four people.
The city of Puerto Varas is a half-hour drive from the hotel; there’s plenty of on-site parking space for guests.
Worth getting out of bed for
Start by exploring the national parks of Chile's picturesque Los Lagos region (Lake District). Then, back at your boutique basecamp, make the most of the organic farm by trying farm-to-table activities such as harvesting, followed by a cookery class. Take to the lake by kayak or stand-up paddleboard, which are free to borrow. You could also hop on bikes and dip into the 90-mile circuit that covers Lake Llanquihue. Go swimming or sign up for pampering treatments at the spa. This adventurous hotel can also arrange seaplane flights, fly fishing, hiking trips, bird-watching, cultural expeditions and rafting. Petrohue Waterfalls and the road up to Osorno Volcano are half an hour away. Alternatively, explore the pretty city of Puerto Varas, which has traditional German-style architecture, reflecting its 19th-century immigrant roots, and the red-and-white, three-towered Sacred Heart of Jesus Church.
Feast on succulent seafood and fish at Casavaldés on Santa Rosa in Puerto Rosa. Try the toothsome southern hake barbells – washed down with plenty of icy white wine. Thanks to its location and watery views, tables get booked up fast; secure yours early to avoid disappointment. Swap fishy business for meaty magic at La Marca, also at Santa Rosa, which specialises in hefty, juicy steak. Kick proceedings off with delicious empanadas. Mesa Tropera has a prime Puerto Varas waterside setting for its flavoursome risottos, pasta dishes, ceviches and pizzas. The cocktails are worth trying too – you’ll need something to toast those views, after all.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this nature-loving hotel in Chile and unpacked their hiking boots and binoculars, a full account of their adventurous break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hotel Awa in Zona Sur
Get back to nature – with added empanadas, Chilean wine and architectural fireworks – at Hotel Awa, whose architect-owned pedigree will surprise approximately no-one. Set slap bang by Lake Llanquihue, this stylish stay wastes no time in attempting to blend in with its scenic southern-Chile setting: instead, it lords it over its rural idyll with unabashed modern stone-and-glass swagger. The hotel was originally designed to be an exte, and you might even see the owners’ family lovingly tending to Awa’s rose- and hydrangea-planted gardens if they’re around. Mother Nature is paid generous tribute to here: the hotel has its own organic farm (which caters to the excellent restaurant), eco-conscious materials feature throughout and the romantic rooms star lake-and-volcano views. For your own natural highs, head out into the rugged, off-the-radar national parks that await on your doorstep. (If that all sounds a little too exhausting, have a fragrant adventure in the hotel’s spoiling spa, instead.)
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