Las Torres hotel enjoys privileged location in Patagonia
THE glossy brochure for Hotel Las Torres in southern Chile's Patagonia says privileged location.
Driving up to the entrance you realise they are not overstating it one bit.
With the most majestic mountains as its backdrop, this is not just a hotel. It's a spiritual experience.
One where you take in the best of creation - some of the most amazing landscapes in the world - in a remote, cold, natural frontier that seems a million miles away from the rest of the world.
Condors soar over snow-covered mountains dotted with llama like guanacos. Waterfalls roar near the most still turquoise lakes while spring lambs climb the steppe country.
The mountain climbing is breathtaking. The horse riding is like a scene from the Man from Snowy River.
Situated at the base of the Paine towers, Hotel Las Torres is a story in itself - one of a family who overcame incredible odds to carve out a tourism venture at the end of the world.
"In a landscape painted by God where you can hear the silence, Antonio Kusanovic Senkovic, following in the pioneering footsteps of his father acquired the beautiful Estancia (ranch) Cerro Paine in 1979, to engage in farming,'' the family history reads.
Together with his wife and four children, the family worked with more than 600 cattle into the 1990s until the imposing Torres del Paine began to attract worldwide adventurers.
Despite the tyranny of distance, lack of supplies and basic services like power, Antonio established the Hosteria las Torres in 1992 with 10 rooms as part of the reconditioned ranch.
Since then the hotel has expanded to 84 rooms, together with a spa, restaurant and a stable offering 150 horses suitable for all ages and abilities.
Riding the horses towards the base of the granite towers emerging above the snow-capped Andes is a 'pinch me, I can't believe I am doing this' experience.
We took three separate rides, taking in forests, spectacular mountains, crossing streams and overseeing some of the most stunning lakes on the planet.
Over six days, I took more than 2000 photos from the blood-red sun rising on the towers to the ice formations and glaciers on a boat trip on Grey Lake.
The hotel offers more than a dozen full and half day excursions including the Full Paine exploring the best features of the Torres del Paine National Park which was established in 1959 and recognised as a UNESCO world biosphere reserve in 1978.
The English speaking guides are very friendly while along the way we met travellers from the US, Israel, Germany, Japan, and even Australia. It really is a world destination with 60% of the 150,000 visiting the park each year being from overseas.
One of the newest activities is Baqueanos for One Day where you join the hotel's cowboys on a day which includes rounding up the horses at dawn, a good Mate tea with local pastry, visiting beautiful landscapes, and lunch.
The food at the hotel was superb with beautiful beef and lamb dishes, sweet Chilean red wines, organic produce from the hotel farm, and delicate desserts.
The hotel's all-inclusive package includes meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, daily transfers and airport transfers.
The writer was a guest of Las Torres Hotel and Travel Projects, Central & South America Travel Specialist.
About Hotel Las Torres
Flights from Sydney: LAN & Qantas offer direct flights to the capital of Chile, Santiago (13 hours)
Nearest airport: Puerto Natales, Chile
How to get there? Transfer is included in the all-Inclusive packages to and from Puerto Natales & Punta Arenas in Chile and El Calafate in Argentina.
Number of rooms: 84 (72 Superior Rooms, 10 Standard & 2 Suites)
More information: www.lastorres.com
Travel Projects offer for Hostel Las Torres is (6Days/5Nights, from AU$2,107 per person): http://www.travelprojects.com.au/tours/torres-del-paine-and-perito-moreno-glacier-tour.aspx
Travel Projects, Central & South America Travel Specialist
Ph: 1300 662 533