At the end of the world, Tierra Patagonia in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, gives brave explorers what they were searching for. The curved building – designed to merge with the local massif on this final frontier – is all blond wood and glass, with the dazzling blues of the sky and lakes outside providing the star attractions. Days are spent gambolling on glaciers, horse-riding with gauchos or just guanaco gazing in the spa, where expert hands are ready to soothe any intrepid, in-need limbs.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm, also flexible on request.
Double rooms from $750.00.
Guests can book the bed and breakfast rate or go all-inclusive; the latter covers airport transfers, all meals, drinks from the open bar, and either two half-day excursions or one full-day excursion.
Flora and fauna fans, rejoice: the Torres del Paine park covers 370,000 acres of largely unspoilt land and any gentle stroll is likely to feature a cast of eagles, condors, guanaco and nandu (Chile’s answer to the ostrich).
The hotel is closed during the Chilean winter (June to September).
At the hotel
Free WiFi in communal areas, library, parking, laundry and expert local guides. In rooms: L’Occitane bath products and free bottled water.
Our favourite rooms
Each of the rooms has the Patagonian panorama as its centrepiece, but for the most space, opt for a split-level Suite, which has a cosy, cowhide-filled lounge on the top floor and a spacious bedroom with an ensuite bathroom on the ground. For families, an apartment that sleeps six can be formed from a series of interconnected Superior rooms.
The family-friendly indoor pool showcases the Paine massif and Lake Sarmiento from its heated waters. There’s a Jacuzzi outside, too (with the same awe-inspiring aspect).
The Uma Spa has a pool with water jets, a sauna and a raft of treatments, including reflexology, Thai and hot-stone takes on massage, and a series of rituals combining wraps, facials and rubbing.
Walking boots and windbreakers – breezes of 120mph have been recorded in these parts.
All of the communal areas are on one level with a ramp to reach them. Suites are not ideal for wheelchair users, but other rooms are.
All ages are welcome. Cots can be added to rooms on request. Children are allowed in the restaurant and bar, and a special menu is available.
Family Apartments, which combine two bedrooms, have two bathrooms and sleep six.
While some of the hikes may be challenging, children will love helping out with some sheep-herding and riding horses.
Children are welcome in the indoor pool.
Children are welcome in the bar and restaurant at all times, where there is a special menu for younger palates, and staff are happy to heat up milk and food.
All food is locally sourced and the hotel is involved in a tree-planting programme. The building materials, fabrics and furniture all come from Patagonia.
You don’t have to travel very far for a glimpse of the sweeping Patagonia sky around here, but the views are especially good from as close to the panoramic windows as you can get.
Anything alpaca to get the nod of approval from the local llamas.
Whatever you eat, you can be sure it won’t have travelled very far: seafood such as king crab is caught in the Magellan Strait, lamb is from locally reared ruminants, and even the herbs and berries are freshly foraged. Breakfast is an American-style spread of eggs, ham, cheese and bread. All dietary requirements can be catered for – just mention it when you book.
The bar is the central meeting point for weary returning explorers in search of a soothing sundowner or local-brewery beer. The hotel does a mean Pisco sour – just don’t get the bartender started on whether the drink’s Chilean or Peruvian (both countries stake a claim).
Breakfast is served between 7.30am and 9.30am; lunch is 1pm until 3pm; dinner is between 8pm and 10pm. The bar is open all day, from noon until 11pm.
The hotel is in one of the earth’s final frontiers, amid the rugged peaks of Patagonia.
British Airways just made travelling to Chile a whole lot easier, with a new route linking London directly with Santiago. From there, at certain times of the year, Latam and Sky airlines run services to Puerto Natales, the nearest airport to Tierra Patagonia (though still a 90-minute drive away). From Punta Arenas, the drive will take four hours. Hotel transfers from both airports are free with all-inclusive rates.
The distances in this part of the world are vast – the nearest town, Puerto Natales, is an hour and a half away by car. If you do decide to drive, a four-wheel drive is advised.
Worth getting out of bed for
Hike to the namesake towers of the Torres del Paine National Park, or, to marvel at them from a distance, opt for the trail along the Cornisas instead for a dramatic view of the famous landscape. The local huasos will gladly let you ride along on horseback with them, or you can take a boat to see the Grey Glacier.
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 remote boutique hotel and unpacked their full-bodied reds and alpaca ponchos, a full account of their countryside break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Tierra Patagonia in Chile…
Set on the far reaches of the earth, in remote, rugged Chilean Patagonia, this Tierra outpost blends into the landscape as though it was whittled by the winds the region is famous for. This is a land of expedition, where pioneers including Charles Darwin, Francis Drake and Bruce Chatwin have passed through before you. Activities here have a similar sense of adventure, with hikes traversing the National Park terrain, covering lakes, glaciers and mountains, all in the company of a knowledgeable guide and with trails tailored to your ability. Back at the ranch, you’re cosily cocooned – even the pool and spa are connected to the main building, to ensure there aren’t any Marilyn Monroe dressing-gown moments. The landscape looms through walls of windows, and you’ll be glad of it: endless blue skies, snow-capped peaks and carpets of flowers make up the average glimpse. The middle of nowhere never looked so good.
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