Talk about getting away from it all: Pucón, Chile is an 80-minute flight (and then a 90-minute drive) from Santiago, a city that already feels far away from pretty much everything. Perched on the water’s edge, and at the foot of a snow-capped volcano, in Chile’s pristine lake district, Pucón is the gateway to an almost unspeakably gorgeous landscape. It’s long been a playground for outdoor adventurers, and now it has its first luxury hotel — Vira Vira Hacienda. It’s a place for first-rate relaxation, and some serious wining and dining, before and after skiing or snowboarding, kayaking or rafting, climbing or horseback riding.
After vacationing in the lake region for years, the Swiss financier Michael Paravicini decided to open the kind of hotel he personally wished to stay in. Naturally, he spared no expense, not in choosing the location itself — on a working farm, a spacious expanse of riverside real estate just outside of town, with views fit for a postcard — nor in selecting the team of architects and designers who would bring his vision to life.
The result is a hotel that embodies rustic elegance. The emphasis being on “elegance,” mind you: this is an all-inclusive five-star hotel. But the aesthetic is traditionally Chilean. There are 21 guest rooms, six in the main lodge, twelve “senior suites” in a riverfront building, and another three in the house Paravicini built for his own family. All are lined with pale indigenous wood, and flooded with light, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. Chilean designer Cristian Valdés is behind the bespoke furniture, while local artists and artisans made the colorful weavings, woolen blankets, and ceramic tea sets. Suites come with private fireplaces and terraces with outdoor hot tubs. It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic venue for star-gazing on a chilly evening, especially if you complete the scene with a bottle of full-bodied Carmenere.
Indeed, eating and drinking are a major focus at Vira Vira: “hacienda” means “farmhouse,” after all. The hotel sits on a farm and cheese dairy, but the products aren’t sold anywhere — they’re for the hotel chef’s exclusive use. You can stroll around the premises, observing the butter- and cheese-making processes, or you could just enjoy the house-made delicacies at breakfast, one of the many gourmet experiences that’s included in the hotel’s rates. Paravicini coined the phrase “the Elegance of Adventure” to describe this particular all-inclusive program. It means that in addition to fabulous meals and artisanal cocktails at the hotel bar, the prices include daily outdoor excursions from horseback riding to fly-fishing and guided hikes. No need to carry your credit card: remember, this is an elegant adventure.
Text Courtesy of Tablet Hotels