Patagonia is an incredible place, but getting there doesn’t come easily or cheaply. Unless you’ve been there before, it’s hard to fathom Patagonia's insurmountable size and the logistical challenges that come with circumventing a landscape paved by glaciers, lakes and snow-capped mountains. The southernmost tip of South America is practically the edge of the Earth, after all.
The crown jewel of the region is Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. You’ve likely seen it in stock photos without even realizing this type of beauty exists on Earth. It does – but it’s remote, a faraway land reserved for only the most dedicated adventurers. Beyond a handful of campsites, refugios (shared dorms), and cabins, there are only four real hotels inside the park. That means if you don’t plan on camping, your options are limited but not limiting. Hotel Las Torres is the best choice in Chilean Patagonia. An incredible experience from start to finish, here’s why you should make this your base to explore:
A Family Business
A fourth generation family business, Hotel Las Torres has expanded from a just handful of rooms to 84 well-appointed retreats since it first opened its doors. Located on 4,400 hectares of private land, they have a vested interest in preserving the beauty of the area. They work closely with the national park on sustainability initiatives so future generations will be able to appreciate the park for years to come.
Their humble roots began as a cattle farm and stables, which are still the heart and the soul of the property. 25 gauchos tend to the more than 200 horses, which you can see on a ride or at the roundup every morning. You can feel the familial atmosphere within the staff (many of whom live there), and some of whom even have their siblings (say hi to Maxi and Fede manning the bar), girlfriends or wives working with them. Don’t be surprised if you’re greeted with a hug or a kiss too because everyone is family here and it truly shows how much they love their job.
It is an upscale experience, but they’re far more focused on delivering service with a smile and warm greetings than traditional white glove luxury. When you arrive, you’ll get to skip the long permit lines, have your park fees waived (they’re included in the rates), and immediately hop on a waiting shuttle to whisk you right to the base of the peaks. While most tourists look on, confusedly scanning the park map for where to even begin, guests with Hotel Las Torres are literally granted the full VIP treatment. In addition, you'll have access to hikes and private sections of the park regular visitors don’t get the privilege of seeing. While most people have to huff and puff up the 18-kilometer base de las Torres hike (the pinnacle of the park), you'll have the option to be taken halfway up on horseback. Outfitted with a lunch box, snack packs and water (with the beers, brownies, fruit and cheese upon your return), you'll feel pretty spoiled by the indulgent treatment.
Hotel Las Torres goes well above and beyond the standard unlimited food and beverage options on their three, four or seven day all-inclusive program. They offer free WiFi (in the middle of nowhere, mind you), door-to-door shuttle transfers from neighboring gateway cities (they drove us four hours across the border all the way to another country!), and all excursions (even boat trips to glaciers operated by outside companies).
So Many Tours, So Little Time
When you begin trying to plan your itinerary, you’ll wonder how you’ll ever be able to narrow down the choices without committing to stay here for a month. Flip through the glossy activity catalog full of pictures of snow-capped mountains and turquoise lakes and know the FOMO is real. There are over 20 full-day and half-day tours.
Options range from extremely active to leisurely bus tours of the region. Don’t want to hike at all? There are photo safaris, trips to glaciers, waterfalls and lakes or afternoons spent in cooking classes, mixology lessons or gaucho school. Some navigations even offer a combination of hiking, boats, and cars to ensure your full-day adventure includes every possible active pursuit to maximize your time in the park.
That Food, Those Drinks
One of the standout things about Hotel Las Torres I noticed immediately is that they truly employ specialists in every area of service. You can see the passion the chef has for his dishes, the love the master mixologist has for his creations and taste beer that’s brewed in a barn out back. While the hikers are roughing it outside, you’ll be indulging in farm-to-table cuisine with ingredients plucked straight from the organic garden (which you can tour) and cocktails that look too good to drink (the award-winning mixologist even handcrafts vessels out of blown glass, so the cups are as impressive as the taste).
The presentations in both the restaurant and the café are incredible, and each plate or cup is a masterful piece of edible art. You’ll get used to fueling up for the day at the breakfast buffet, ordering as much or as little as you want at the all-day bar/café, and reflecting on the day’s activities over an inventive three-course dinner at the restaurant.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss the exclusive lamb BBQs held three times a week. There are only five tables in a private hearth room. The fall-off-the-bone tender meat has been cooking for hours over an outdoor flame before being transferred inside for a traditional Chilean feast.