The view from my bed was picture-frame perfect. Lake Sarmiento glistened turquoise. The wind howled and Cordillera Paine, the crown jewel of Torres del Paine National Park, glowed powder pink as day broke. Few places take your breath away like the steppes of Patagonia at dawn.
I recently visited Patagonia with Tierra Hotels. The experience was overwhelming. It's not often that you experience the vulnerability of being very far away. I have to say, the feeling is liberating.
In a time when awareness is managed through devices and connectivity is escapism, it is rare to find yourself without tools to control interaction. Patagonia is immersive. In Patagonia, internet and cell access is limited, lifting the pressures of distraction. It's easier to appreciate the breadth of the sky, the smell of local Linga wood, and the curious bleating of lambs just outside the windows. The Carmenere tastes better and the delineation between in and out, of and apart melts away.
Tierra Hotels are committed to simple luxury, sustainability, and service. Properties are always in remote places and each is designed to deliver a strong sense of place. The sensitivity to local communities has resulted in small ecological and cultural footprints.
The properties feel like luxurious homes-away-from home. Bedrooms are small, designed for sleeping. Dining spaces offer breathtaking views and proximity to nature. Lounge areas are comfortable, with plush couches, fireplaces, shaggy rugs, and arrangements that encourage impromptu gatherings and interactions. Every expectation is anticipated, every desire is considered. The focus is experience.
During the few days I was at the end of the world, I hiked around the lake, rode horses with gauchos on a local estancia, and trekked 22km out and back to the base camp of Torres del Paine. One evening, I checked into the hotel's intimate spa. Beyond the glass, lambing season was in full swing. Ewes called their little ones close, wary of wayward travelers and waiting pumas.
Temperatures take a dip in the evenings in Patagonia. That's when guests gather around stove fireplaces, sip pisco, and swap stories from the trails. The General Manager, ever the most gracious host, is always present to entertain and engage.
True luxury is heritage. Tierra Patagonia's strong sense of the place, incorporation of history and legends, and intentional melding with its environment is a reminder that some of the most valuable places have existed thousands of years before us and will continue to exist long after we pack our bags for home.
Tierra Patagonia rewards those who make the trek. To get to the property, travelers fly into Punta Arenas or, in high season, Puerto Natales. From there, guests are transferred to the lodge via the appropriately-named Ruta del fin del Mundo. Depending on the point of departure, the scenic drive can take from 4.5 hours to 1.5 hours, respectively.
Patagonia is a seasonal destination. Tierra Patagonia is open in the Southern Hemisphere's Spring and Summer--from September through May.
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