A 14 hour international flight, a three and a half hour domestic flight and a five hour drive; that’s how long it takes to get from my home in London to the end of the world. Well that sounds a little dramatic but Patagonia is the furthest south that you can go on the planet without reaching Antartica… A vast region shared by Argentina and Chile, Patagonia is made up of the most dramatic landscapes, encompassing glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, soaring mountains and abundant wildlife. The perfect place for an adventure.
Awasi Patagonia on the Chilean side is not only the most remote lodge that I’ve ever been to but it is the Southern most hotel in the Relais & Châteaux group and the perfect place to experience one of the most beautiful places on earth. Regular readers will know that I combined my stay here with three nights at the sister hotel in the Atacama desert, basing my choice on the fact that the Awasi group offer the most personal and bespoke experience of all the luxury lodges in the area. The brand has been founded on a desire to inspire and explore local culture and with the recent addition Awasi Iguazú on the Argentinian side of the falls, there are now three hotels in the group.
Located near the spectacular Torres Del Paine National Park, Awasi Patagonia is high on a hill top over looking the mountain range and Lake Sarmiento – a view that’s quite simply out of this world.
With only 14 villas spread out across the mountain side, not only are the excursions private, but guests can enjoy romantic seclusion in their own cabin.
And each of these luxury log cabins enjoys superb mountain views.
Each made from Native wood in order to blend perfectly with the surroundings.
Our cabin was tucked into the forest of of lenga and ñirre trees – the perfect place for two and with no TV or WIFI it was the ideal opportunity to switch off.
Having chosen to visit during the Autumn months for Chile, we were there to witness the changing of the seasons with golden, green and brown colour painting the landscapes.
Though an utterly gorgeous time to visit I think you may be better visiting during the spring and summer months as we experienced very temperamental weather. As you can see in some of my pictures, the ground are blanketed with snow while in others it’s totally clear. In only four days I think we experienced all four seasons!
We fell in love with our little cabin which also had it’s own private hot tub with a view of the beautiful landscape. Sadly due to the weather, we never actually used this hot tub – something I do wish they’d indicated was a possibility in the correspondence.
Inside the cabin is the ultimate cosy retreat from the wilderness outside.
The inside of the cabin is fully clad in wood which I absolutely loved. The individual cabin actually reminded me of Soho Farmhouse, my favourite hotel. Albeit in the middle of nowhere as opposed to Oxfordshire! As you enter the room there’s a little porch to hang up your cold things and leave your dirty shoes … and when you retrieve them, they’ll be toasty warm from the radiator.
Cosy stuffed sofas were the perfect place to relax cuddled up under alpaca-wool blankets with a coffee made using the in-room espresso machine. The in-room mini bar is part of the all-inclusive deal and there is beer, wine and soft drinks plus local snacks to enjoy.
Books about the local area are left around to inspire you and teach about this wonderful place.
And the rooms are especially designed to capture an incredible view from every angle. In the evenings when you return from dinner, your wood burning fire will be lit and you’ll find a little gift to enjoy as part of the hospitality of Awasi Patagonia.
The bathroom follows the wooden theme with huge picture windows perfect for a bath with a view.
The rain shower is also vast and like Awasi Atacama, this property is kitted out with luxury L’Occitane amenties and a huge bottle of bath salts.
Each room is around 50 -400 metre from the main lodge and it can be a bit of a hike in itself getting there. Our room 10 wasn’t too far away and it was another opportunity to admire amazing views as we headed for breakfast in the morning.
Like the villas, the main lodge blends seamlessly into the environment, barely interrupting the harmony of nature.
There’s no bad view here, but the view from the main lodge is perhaps the best seat in the house and looking directly across to Torres Del Paine feels like a once in a lifetime experience.
Guests are encouraged to remove their hiking boots and put on slippers before entering the main lodge, this not only keeps it clean but it adds to the feeling of homliness about the place – achieved even though you are far from anywhere.
The main lodge is all cosy corners, soft rugs and snuggly blankets.
While the bar and restaurant is the heart of the hotel. More than just a place to refuel, a chance to catch up.
Just like the sister property I stayed in previously, Awasi Patagonia is all-inclusive so there’s no need to worry about a surprise bill at the end as all food, drinks and excursions are part of the package.
My favourite place to sit was right by the window with a chance to take in the view but in the evenings we could also take a seat on the sofa by a roaring fire.
Breakfast is a beautifully presented buffet of bread, pastries, fresh meats, cheeses and fruit. Plus eggs and sandwiches can be made to order. If you’re not enjoying a picnic on one of the lodge’s full day excursions, you’ll return here for lunch.
Place settings are these cute dolls and lunch choices remain pretty much the same with a few daily specials. You can opt for simple salads and sandwiches or try the more local options. Chef Mariano Salaberry has 20 years of experience working in Argentina, Spain and Chile and specialising in seafood, pasta and rice dishes.
Fresh bread and soup varied every day and were the perfect way to warm your cockles.
While other lunch time highlights included empanadas, salmon scones, seafood pasta and rib of beef. One of our favourite dishes was chupe, a South American stew made with crab. For the ingredients as much as possible is locally sourced or even grown on-site.
Portions are small and you can easily enjoy a long three course lunch with plenty of piscos without feeling overly full.
Speaking of which, the barman was again totally flexible and would make any drink you request whilst the sommelier had an indepth knowledge of his collection of Chilean wines.
You could start your dinner with a glass of sparkling and from there he would match every course to a wine or simply throw out the rule book and bring you glass after glass of your favourite.
As with Awasi Atacama, the food at the Relais & Châteaux property was Michelin quality rivalling the top city restaurants.
I left my camera at home most evenings to simply enjoy the quiet romance of the lodge filled with the quiet conversations of other guests and the gentle scent of wood but I captured a few pictures to show you how exquisitely the food was presented.
One day the kitchen prepared a selection of meat and cheeses for us and we found a secluded spot by the river to enjoy our feast along with a bottle of Chilean red. Another day when had a full day excursion, we had a picnic packed up for us by the kitchen including fresh sweetcorn soup, hearty beef sandwiches and little cakes.
Speaking of excursions, every villa is allocated a dedicated guide and a four wheel drive vehicle, allowing them to explore the area at leisure. Our guide Daniel was with us from day one and was not only knowledgeable and personable but was a keen photographer too. On arrival guests sit down with their guide and discuss how their itinerary would go. Now as much as I wanted to see the scenery, hiking isn’t really my cup of tea and unlike Awasi Atacama which offers hiking, biking, horse riding and car adventures, the trips at Awasi Patagonia are mostly hikes. Daniel saw the horror in my face when he suggested a four hour hike so instead, together we created a more gentle itinerary to suit us and account for the poor weather. Guests are invited to choose either full excursions or two half days.
If you read this post, you’ll know our arrival was less than smooth so we took our first day very easy, doing nothing in the morning and in the afternoon exploring the locale of the hotel. Even just around the hotel you can see native flora and fauna including herds of guanacos, ñandus, foxes, condors and pumas. Though sadly we never spotted any of the latter.
On our second day we took our only full day excursion into Torres Del Paine itself. Do be aware that the lodge is around a forty-five minute drive into the National Park but of course you will see plenty of beautiful spots along the way. We were taken to Hotel Lago Grey where we picked up a boat to see the Grey Glacier spotting several other brilliant blue icebergs along the way.
Having never seen glaciers before, this was the most wonderful and unique experience which included the opportunity to also view Cerro Paine Grande, the Paine Massif and various ancient forests. As Awasi Patagonia don’t run this tour you have to pay extra but it’s well worth it plus the tour included a pisco sour with real glacier ice.
Torres Del Paine is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Chile and one of the most breathtaking places that I’ve ever visited. Daniel take us on a driving tour around the park and despite the bad weather we still had a good view of the mountains and some of the other beauty spots.
Another pinch-yourself-moment was riding horses through the land with the beautiful lakes and mountains in the background – a morning I’ll never forget!
We chose Awasi Patagonia as it was the perfect hotel for us due to the private tours and the beautiful individual villas but I did research into the other properties in the area. Tierra and Explora are the other luxury alternatives and both are bigger hotels with a spa and indoor pool. Both are also good choices if you want to avoid the drive into the National Park as Tierra is just outside the park and Explora is the only luxury hotel in the park. Those looking for glamping may want to consider Patagonia Camp which brings you closer to nature with a luxury yurt.
As I mentioned with my Awasi Atacama deal we had a discount and free nights in connecting cities by booking the two sister properties. As the other hotel brands also offer this deal it’s better value to stick to one so do your research on what’s right for you.
Top Tips for Travelling to Awasi Patagonia
1. It’s not easy to get to the end of the world and we travelled from Santiago to Punta Arenas airport via LATAM airways. From here it is a five hour drive in a transfer arranged by the hotel at an extra cost. The nearest airport is Puerto Natales which is a two hour drive but flights don’t operate all year around. If you are comes from Buenos Aires you can fly into Calafate and arrange a transfer from there. This is also a five hour drive.
2. We travelled in the Chilean Autumn which is a beautiful time to witness the changing seasons but temperatures are lower. Spring (October to December) is warmer and a good time to see the flowers and birds whilst summer is warmer still.
3. The weather is changeable and unpredictable (we witnessed this first hand when I awoke one morning to a blanket of snow!) so bring layers. I wore base layers, a fleece, a warm jacket and had a waterproof coat. Hiking boats are essential and also wore hats, gloves and scarves, Awasi provide you with a water bottle to keep.
HERE’S A VIDEO!
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We paid a media rate for our stay in the Awasi properties.