Ed. Note: To read our full review of the Explora Patagonia, subscribe to the first issue of Gear Patrol magazine.
The Explora Patagonia hotel was not created as a celebration of lazy luxury. Its founders began with a travel service opened in 1989 focused on “intense interaction with nature and local culture;” today their renown comes not necessarily from poshness but from boutique adventure outings, over 50 of them at this location (one of six hotels spread throughout Chile, Argentina, Boliva and Peru), executed from within the stunning confines of Torres del Paine National Park. There are gaucho-led lessons in horse riding and full-day treks to the base of the famous torres; mellower adventurers can explore Lake Pahoé aboard the hotel’s catamaran.
Yet with all this at their fingertips, visitors will still be tempted to plant themselves and soak up the view overlooking Lake Pahoé and a wide swath of the park, including its famed torres (towers). In fact, the location is inherently tied to the lodge itself: it was chosen by renowned Chilean architect Germán del Sol because it was a regular destination for childhood vacations. Inside the lodge, which is built bunker-like into a hillside, humble furnishings match mid-century accents in 49 rooms, all of which have access to the adjacent sauna, Casa de Baños del Ona. It’s the ideal base for adventure, with more of a mind for pampering than it’d like to admit, especially at the desolate, beautiful end of the world.
$550+/night (minimum stay 3 nights)