Patagonia Camp - Torres del Paine, Chile
I am one that appreciates positive surprises a lot. If something happens to be better than expected, I tend to overrate the entire experience cause I am so flattered. From time to time it happens that such occassions turn up. When we had troubles with the low cost carrier Sky in Chile who refused to take us on the originally booked flight at 6am, I thought that was only the beginning of a bad day. As luck would have it, it needed one email and the hotel of the night did everything to make the most out of our short stay. We landed quite on time (only 30 minutes late which is considered on time in such countries) and had to wait for the second scheduled transfer from Punta Arenas to Patagonia (the first one runs at 11 am which would have been the one I would have planned to catch). Once we met our driver and the British couple that shared the 5-hour drive with us, we were handed an excursion booklet along a welcome message and a lunch box with an excellent sandwich (we were just terribly hungry after being awake since 4am plus having had to wait for 5 hours at the airport) and a few drinks.
Ready for the ride, I have to admit it was one of the most comfortable hotel transfers I have ever had (and that includes a lot) and definitely was comfortable throughout all 5 hours. We had an interesting talk and were pleased to make new friends before the actual stay. When we finally arrived at the lodge, a welcome committee was already waiting for us consisting of Bruno and Maria from the front desk plus a bellmen/housekeeper. They immediately knew our names and introduced themselves following us along the way to the main house where the front desk is located. Once we arrived there all paperwork was already done and they just asked for a passport while we were transferred to the excursion meeting room where we met Chris - the head of Excursions. He gave us a deep introduction to the Patagonia camp, it’s water recycling system and the Excursions for the following day. Us being able to just stay one night as it was already full, we got a very special tour through the nearby caves. More on later.
Afterwards it was time for our room investigation. Maria accompanied us to the room plus gave us a detailled explanation of all the facilities inside our Yurt. Being one of the most glamorous camps in the world, all yurts (their only accommodation) are equipped with all facilities of a five-star luxury hotel tough still are created like a tent and you can therefore hear the rain, wind and see the sky. The glass window in the ceiling does not have any curtain nor black-out so if you need a eye mask and ear plugs, the front desk has all the stuff to make your stay even more adorable. Since we also slept on the pool in Guana Island last summer, we didn’t mind the natural light (it was absolutely dark in Patagonia even in summer which still impresses me) and the sounds of mother nature. Actually it was so special since there were no disturbances like cars, helicopters or planes and I felt really relaxed and off the beaten track. We met another British couple who said they always keep on coming back to Patagonia Camp since he is a business men in London and cannot get a clear head elsewhere than here.
I absolutely loved how elegant these yurts where with balcony and relaxing chair, writing desk, safe, comfy beds with excellent linen, plenty of towels along double basins, a spacious bath tub with a huge rainfall shower head and a toilet next to it. While I am no fan of shower-/tub combos, I was blown away by the hotel branded toiletries which were the best of its kind I have ever had. Unfortunately I could not take them as a souvenir as they were in dispensers - well I think I will thank them later when I don’t have to pay for overweight. Normally it would be the time when I say that you could not hear any noise but actually you could hear and definitely feel the strong Patagonian winds. I also woke up two times because the yurt seemed to take off - but again you are in one of the world’s most remote areas and all you want is to feel the nature in all its strength! I loved all the sounds and feelings as it was the first time I was overwhelmed by how strong the nature can be.
The best part of the stay was - without doubt - the perfect management by manager Rafael & personal service overseen by host Silvana (who would be worth a stay alone) as well as the excellent food quality. Wine was offered by the famous Matetic Winery (who is also partly owner of the Patagonia Camp) and dishes included scallops with grilled vegetables or beef tenderloin with polenta and potatoes. Also the dessert was very good and light considering South American desserts are always too sweet. To be honest we never had an empty glass - thanks to Silvana’s flawless service (that’s what I look for when paying such high prices), which resulted in a near-death-sleep and then made us oversleep a long and relaxing breakfast. I rushed over the quite selective buffet and tried their cake and scrambled eggs. I liked that they use real eggs (you can tell immediately) instead of any instant egg-mix or artificial eggs as other hotels in Patagonia did. Unfortunately we did not find out whether they do any other egg dish or anything else than coffee and tea service (eg like a Cappuccino or Hot Chocolate).
At 8.45 am our super motivated tour guide Lucas was already waiting for us to take us to the caves. The driver was also very skilled and overall it was one of the better tours - arranged through the hotel - we have experienced in Chile (considering our tours in Easter Island were just not satisfying at all). After having visited two big caves, the driver left to go back to the hotel and we did a 15km walk through Patagonian wilderness. At some point we stopped for lunch from where we had the most magnificent view. Lunch was pre-ordered on the evening we arrived and I chose a Roastbeef sandwich (turned out to be the best option). Lucas brought a asparagus and lentils soup as well as a bar of chocolate and cereal. The only thing that would have been lovely was an additional water bottle carried by myself (it was just too stressful in the morning - haha).
When we came back to the Lodge, Afternoon Tea was served with a selection of an excellent cake and some cookies along a tea maker. While we took advantage of the sweet selection, Silvana was faster in serving us two of their excellent Calafate Sour than me getting tea so we stayed with the alcohol. Later on Rafael came by and invited us to stay for dinner although we planned to leave to Puerto Natales for the Superbowl. You know I would have stayed if there wouldn’t have been the event of the year, BUT once I return to Patagonia, Patagonia Camp will be my first choice. Needless to say that this place is totally worth the splurge.
Disclaimer: We were guests of the Patagonia Camp, however all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced.