Eolo Patagonia - El Calafate, Argentina
Gourmet, Luxury, Hiking and Extraordinary experiences
9.0 out of 10
The perfect song:
These Days - James Carter
What we love:
The views... there is nothing more spectacular
Amazing local design throughout the hotel giving it a light and airy look
cozy courtyard with indoor pool makes the property feel like a private mansion in France
The food! Digest Argentina's best fine dining experience
The stars: You will enjoy one of the best views of the milky way you might have ever had
There is wine and there is wine. So is a Patagonia and another Patagonia - not speaking of the clothing brand - but there is Chilean and Argentinan Patagonia. First one is more for adventurous travelers, backpackers seeking to hike the W trail as well as retired travelers from the UK and US wanting to see the end of the world. Latter one - aka Argentinan part of Patagonia - is everything around El Calafate and El Chalten (in some cases also Ushuaia, but I call it to Tierra del Fuego). And there comes the gap between Puerto Natales and El Calafate. First one is super low key and nothing special and El Calafate is sophisticated and a lot more charming with LOVELY restaurants, bars and a cool casino. So while you have a handful (if at all) upscale hotels in Chile, they are more targeted to the hikers and explores under the luxury tavelers. On the other side we have El Calafate where it is all about comfort and real luxury. No wonder that Argentina‘s most expensive Relais & Chateaux hotel is situated in this part of the country.
After a night in town of El Calafate, we were picked up by the driver of Eolo at our accommodation. The drive was just scenic with the sun rising over Lago Argentino and until a few minutes we arrived at a remote gate indicating the name of our new accommodation. A sand slope was leading through typical Patagonian deserted land which you would never ever believe would end at one of the world‘s best hotels. However we were in for a pleasant surprise and once the door opened and Valentin - Eolo‘s manager - was personally greeting us by names we knew this is gonna be a great stay. We were not rushed to do any check-in at all. Valentin asked if we would like to drink anything and we ordered Cappuccino in addition to the words that we didn‘t have breakfast yet. When we took seat in the beautiful living room that was now filled with the most gorgeous light one could have, we were not just served coffee but also a small Continental breakfast consisting of pasties, croissants and the most amazing ham-cheese bread we have ever tried (still thinking of it right now as my mouth is watering).
We already pre-booked a tour to the Perito Moreno glacier - a must do by the way and block out the high fees for the tour - so we were not expecting to have our room ready and it was not an issue for us. Having left our baggage with Eolo, we left for a day tour to the glacier‘s famous catwalks. Our driver gave us some instructions and then we were handed over an Eolo branded backpack with four lunch boxes - two for each and two bottles of waters. I have to say we truly enjoyed the walk especially as it was raining in the morning enabling us to see all the details in the glacier and then sunshine and warm temperaturs to see the ice breaking down, which was actually one of the highlights of the entire trip. In addition to the catwalk we also did a boat tour along the glacier to see it more closely and to enjoy lunch with a view. Actually the lunch boxes provided by Eolo were the best ones we were ever offered consisting of an excellent Cesar and Pasta salad, excellent bread with roast beef or Serrano ham along a wonderful brownie and a homemade cereal bar. Honestly, this lunch box was worth 10/10 points.
When we came back to the lodge we were shown our amazing suite on the end of the hallway. With a separate living room, a light filled bathroom with toilet, bidet, single vanity and shower-tub combo as well as a bedroom with two twin beds, two cozy armchairs along a table and plenty of wardrobe space, the suite was extremely spacious and interestingly matched perfectly the landscape. Light interior design to better focus on the stunning exteriors and its wildlife. I absolutely love the quality of the bed with it‘s pillow as well as the fact that they had L‘Occitane toiletries - kind of rare at this remote place. The towels were very fluffy and the pressure of the shower was very good. It‘s all about the little details that make a grand hotel. In addition to the rooms, there are plenty of common space that can be used as well including two study rooms with upscale telescopes to better watch the wildlife and classic games to spend some time together.
The center of Eolo makes a stunningly beautiful garden with lavender so that when you are swimming in the calm and warm indoor pool you feel like being somewhere in the Provence. Generally the entire idea to build the resort in an O-shape was very clever as there is totally no wind inside the courtyard. During the booking process I asked for a horseback ride through the property and altough I informed the staff to book it before my arrival, we were unable to do it as there was no guide on the day I asked to do the horseback ride. It was the only downside of the stay but at 80 USD per person I actually didn‘t mind that I was unable to do it. What I found very odd at Eolo compared to other upscale Patagonian resorts was that there are no activities and tours are included. So at the same high rate of 1.200 USD a night (same as Patagonia Camp in Chile that has all tours and drinks included), a stay at Eolo only includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. However at this point I have to highlight that dinner is very different from any other Patagonian resort and perhabs makes the huge difference.
Served in the most dramatic room of the property, the restaurant has a totally impressive character as the views go onto the Lago Argentino and El Calafate. Every evening the chef of Eolo prepares a 6-course menu that is actually nothing less than michelin-star worthy. I mean when I stay with Relais & Chateaux I am always blown away by the food but never have I imagined to be that impressed in such a remote setting like Patagonia, cause normally here even scallops with Sauce Hollandaise seems like a gourmet meal. But again, the dinner was stunning with an amuse bouche that was a dried meat with cream followed by beetroots over a creamy foam that I believe was a light cheese. Next course was a tartar of raw salmon with caviar and excellent sauce accompanying this already amazing dish, followed by a huge ravioli filled with Burratta and tomatoes served in a beef soup. The main highlight of the dinner was the Patagonian lamb in a different way with puree, small potato gratin and mushrooms. To check the flexibility of the staff and because it really was a highlight we ordered another time the main course which wasn‘t any problem for the outrageous staff at the restaurant. I might be too late already but at this point I also have to mention the excellent choice of housemade breads that came along with butter and olive oil. Finally, the dessert which can just be described as out-of-this world or simply 10 out of 10 with a perfect combination of milk ice cream, caramelised apples along with some berries.
Ah, and as I am writing this review I remember the next activity - and finally one that‘s free (Haha): watching the most stunning sky I have ever seen in my entire life. Patagonia is know for its clear skies but due to weather issues not always visible, we were extremely lucky to see a cloudless sky. So there were we lying in the grass somewhere behind the lodge enjoying spectacular vistas of Oreon and the milky way. With this view in mind, sleep was on par and we were ready for a Relais & Chateaux worthy breakfast, which was - no surprise - the best one of our trip so far. Eggs Benedict as they should be along with the mentioned ham and cheese bread as well as a small buffet with best quality products. There was absolutely nothing not to love about the food at Eolo. Generally said it was one of the best hotels we have stayed so far and Valentin is doing an excellent job as the manager of the house as the entire team is doing with offering a perfect service. Aside from the dream to horseback ride through the remote landscape, the staff was on par. After check-out Lukas forgot his bracelet in the suite and they even arranged LATAM to call me out at the airport when we checked in for the flight to hand us over the chain in an envelope. That‘s all that counts and I would call the horseback riding another reason to return to Eolo! A must go place when going to Patagonia!
We were generously hosted by Eolo Patagonia for editorial purposes, however all above written has not been influenced according to the freedom of press.