Prepare to have your socks, sandals and sundries knocked off every which way by Tierra Chiloé Hotel & Spa, an architectural jaw-dropper on adventurous Chiloé Island. We love a hotel that has its own boat: Tierra Atacama’s Williche vessel is designed for inland-waters exploring; it even has its own fleet of sea kayaks, so guests can charter their own course. There’s plenty for landlubbers, too: minimalist, contemporary interiors that give wood and wool a starring role, a relaxed dining room where all meals are served, a soothing spa and expert resident guides who will organise your adventures.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of wine and a welcome note in your room on arrival
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £565.79 ($790).
Guests can book on a bed and breakfast rate or go all-inclusive; the latter covers airport transfers from Castro or Puerto Montt, all meals, drinks from the open bar, and either two half-day excursions or one full-day excursion.
If you quite fancy Tierra Chiloé, take a look at its Smith-approved Chilean siblings: Tierra Atacama and Tierra Patagonia...
Tierra Chiloé will be closed for winter from from 1 October 2017 to 30 April 2018.
At the hotel
Wooden boat to nip you to other islands (yes, really); gardens; alfresco fireplace; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: desk, hairdryer, bathrobe and slippers.
Our favourite rooms
Opt for number 12 on account of its double-whammy windows: one overlooking the bay and the hotel’s fields; one overlooking local wetlands.
The Uma Spa, perched on the second floor, has a sauna and steam room, massage room and a Jacuzzi with space for up to eight bottoms. Deckchairs are positioned by the windows, so you can soak up the Pullao-wetland views. We loved Uma’s Luxe bath treatment, featuring rose petals and goat’s milk (trust us on this one); you can also unwind with an ache-soothing hot-stone, reflexology or deep-tissue massage.
Bring blister-proof hiking shoes, linen for hot days, cashmere for cool nights and a spicy cologne. Leave some space in your case to take home some traditional hand-spun wool, dyed naturally with plants and vegetables.
The hotel has its own boat, the Williche, for navigating Chiloé’s inland waters.
Little explorers can come too. The hotel’s activity programme is suitable for children; guides go out of their way to include them. Full-size cots or wooden crib beds can be added to rooms; the common areas don’t present any challenges for pushchairs.
Tierra Chiloé is eco-conscious to the core: its building was constructed using sustainable local materials, including an exterior cladding of wooden shingles. Earth-kind light bulbs are used throughout; seasonal produce stars in the restaurant. Guests are encouraged to experience the region’s natural attractions while they’re here; activities on offer include cultural trips, boating, horseback riding, biking, trekking and nature observation.
Grab window seats, so you can admire the local horses grazing while you eat.
Like the rest of the hotel, the restaurant is inspired by nature and the region: lamps that look like sea urchins; plenty of wood and stone; furniture built by local artisans; floor-to-ceiling windows that put the great outdoors centre stage. Similarly, the menu is rooted in Chiloé, sensibly maximising the island’s surf-and-turf bounty: try gnocchi made from Chilean potatoes or pulmay, a traditional meat-and-shellfish stew. Other local specialities to look out for include Caulin oysters, crabs from Quellón, milcao and chapalele (traditional pancakes) and apple cider. The region’s food is hearty and comforting – the perfect fodder for adventures.
There’s a small bar inside the hotel, but most guests prefer to take their drinks (try one of the signature sours) to the alfresco fireplace...
Dinner is served until around 10pm; breakfast is on offer between 8am and 10am.
Chiloé Island is on the Rilan Peninsula, a half-hour drive from the town of Castro. The Chiloé archipelago has attracted Spanish conquerors, Jesuit missionaries and various European colonists – and 21st-century explorers.
Castro Mocopulli is the closest airport, 27 kilometres away (a half-hour drive). There’s also El Tepual Airport in Puerto Montt, a three-hour drive from the hotel. Transfers are included when you book the all-inclusive rate.
You definitely don’t need wheels, since hotel transfers are included in rates; if you still want to make your own way here, Castro is the closest town, half an hour away. The hotel has plenty of on-site parking space.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel’s activities are geared around its incredible region: cultural excursions, boating, horseback riding, biking, hiking or just leisurely exploring are all options here. Group excursions are limited to eight people at a time, to ensure that guests get the most out of the hotel’s excellent guides. Don’t miss a trip in the Williche, the hotel’s boat, which will take you out on an adventure amid the archipelago’s canals and fjords. Admire Chiloé’s distinctive architecture and colonial-era wooden churches in nearby Achao, Chonchi and Quinchao, declared World Heritage sites by Unesco. The building technique used for these churches was passed down by the Spanish Jesuits, during the conquest more than four-hundred years ago; you won’t see the palafitos (typical constructions on stilts above the water) or larch-shingled houses anywhere else.
The hotel is far from restaurants and café, so dine in-house during your stay.
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 adventurous hotel in Chile and unpacked their binoculars and pen-knives, a full account of their island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Tierra Chiloé Hotel & Spa on Chiloé…
We’ve always had a soft spot for a hotel with a boat – and we’re not ashamed to say it. Nobody would blame you if you snuck onto the Williche, Tierra’s handsome vessel, to set sail for secret coves and bays and never return; Chiloé is a bonkers-beautiful spot, after all. That said, it would be a big shame to miss out on Tierra Chiloé’s dry-land charms, which aren’t exactly insignificant. The hotel’s architecture alone deserves a ‘cor blimey’ or three: its dazzling structure is perched like a big wood-and-glass bird that has paused temporarily to admire Chiloé’s archipelago views. Things are just as good inside: contemporary interiors that star local, natural furnishings (picture little curios and objects fashioned from reeds, plus plenty of wood and wool), a snug little spa and a relaxed dining space, where delicious local dishes are served. Best of all, rates are all inclusive – so there’ll be no nasty surprises on departure.