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6 of Chiles finest lodges and hotels

Chile is one of those countries that cannot be identified with a single touristic icon. Its geography is so diverse, and its culture so rich, that the images passing through the traveler's mind are like those of a movie sequence ranging from the mysterious Moai statues of Easter Island and the imposing glaciers of Patagonia, to the arid Atacama Desert and cosmopolitan Santiago.

Chile offers you the possibility to experience this Latin American nation while enjoying compelling landscapes and the most delicious cuisine (accompanied by exquisite wines), along with the maximum comfort that the country has to offer in terms of hotel services. Indeed, Chile is an extraordinary experience for every visitor, as evidenced by the six boutique hotels highlighted below.

Explora Rapa Nui, Easter Island

Seen from the air, this resort's whimsical architecture of circular lines and earth-tone colors seem to merge with the natural enclave of Easter Island. Once your feet touch solid ground, you will discover that same sensation at Explora Rapa Nui Hotel's selected as the "Best in Latin America" by Travel + Leisure magazine in 2011.

The architecture of the hotel, built with sea views and surrounded by impressive moai statues, was designed to fit harmoniously in the surroundings, using unevenness, circular lines, open spaces, semi-covered, shadows and native materials such as volcanic stone and wood.

Yet, the hotel's architecture is only one expression of the basic concept of Explora Rapa Nui: Life in Easter Island. In such an idea, the word "luxury" is not associated with ostentation, but with respect for the environment, proximity to nature, and of course a unique experience for the visitor in this remote South American destination.

A carefully designed excursion program is another source of pride for the hotel. On foot, by bicycle or by boat, you have several options for exploring the mysterious and entrancing Easter Island. The word "contemplation," in short, is what you will experience in all of the more than 20 excursions that can take you to some corners of the island that even locals seldom reach. Always in the company of an expert guide, you will be introduced to the history and culture of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), which are palpable in the island's landscapes and archaeological ruins.

Snorkelers benefit from some of the world's most crystal clear waters. The rustic yet elegant guest rooms possess stunning ocean views. Gourmet cuisine is prepared with local products. The resort's spa features a Spanish colonial style. The unforgettable landscapes of Easter Island abound. Indeed, space is short to speak of everything this boutique hotel has to offer. But better than reading about it, come and experience Explora Rapa Nui for yourself. We invite you to join the few adventurers who have visited this remote and secluded gem!

Hotel Remota, Puerto Natales

Transparency: this could be the first image that comes to the mind of whoever initially sets foot in Hotel Remota, in the city of Puerto Natales. Why hide beauty with partitions or walls? Especially if you are surrounded by the spectacular beauty of the Chilean Patagonia.

Conceived as an open space, with an intimate homey touch, Hotel Remota puts the fullness of the Patagonian landscape at your feet through large windows that substitute for walls. Another of the hotel's advantages is its strategic location on the route to one of the most important sites in South America: Torres del Paine National Park, with its fjords, glaciers, rivers, forests and steppes.

And, as you might imagine, the hotel's program of excursions is a second great plus of this fantastic hotel. Fly fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, birdwatching, star-gazing and sailing are just a few of the activities that hotel guests can enjoy. Added to this is this is Hotel Remota's excellent service and friendly staff who are available 24/7 to make your trip a memorable one.

Awasi Atacama, Atacama

In the middle of the most arid desert on Earth, the Atacama Desert, a beautiful oasis combines discreet and rustic elegance along with the comforts and the exciting possibilities for exploring one of the most striking regions in the world.

Behind a 100-year-old wall stands Awasi Atacama, constructed with river stones and adobe bricks in line with techniques and the ancient style of this region's first settlers. The small lodge has only 10 rooms for its guests, whose occupants are provided with a private guide and the use of a 4×4 vehicle. Plus, guests enjoy their own private patio, an outdoor shower, large armchairs and alpaca blankets. But there's also the lodge's restaurant, whose goal is "the best of the desert, served on our guests' plates." This is not a simple challenge, but one whose result is a unique menu, prepared essentially with local products that you can enjoy while admiring one of the starriest skies in the world.

If this sounds like the perfect place to rest after daily excursions to geysers, canyons, valleys, petroglyphs, archaeological sites and giant cacti -it's because it is. With your favorite drink in hand by the pool, the fireplace or in your cozy pre-Inca style circular room, you can relax while thinking of all the beauty seen throughout the day.

Le Reve Boutique, Santiago

Called "the most charming hotel in Santiago," this is not an exaggerated slogan. From its ivy-clad facade and wooden shutters, to its sophisticated homely style that's reminiscent of Paris' small hotels, every inch of the Le Reve Boutique has been carefully designed down to the last detail.

Located in the historic La Providencia neighborhood, and strategically situated near the city's civic center, the hotel breaks with the traditional molds of rigid hours or standoffish service. For example: Le Reve's charming little kitchen is open at night for serving snacks, coffee and juices to guests. Similarly, in the "Honesty Bar," guests can serve themselves the drinks or snacks they want, enjoying the tranquility of the lobby or the terrace. There's even a button-stitching and sewing service with daytime and evening hours!

The hotel fulfills its promise to make its guests feel at home, even though it has four floors, 31 rooms, a souvenir shop and several other service areas. Moreover, its personalized service is in no contradiction to its excellent service. The combination of both, plus the experience of a trip to the cosmopolitan and cultured city of Santiago de Chile, will make your stay at Le Reve Boutique Hotel a unique experience.

Explora Patagonia Lodge, Patagonia

The image of a boat anchored on the shores of Lake Pehos one that's retained by most guests who have stayed at the Explore Patagonia Lodge. Its location within the famous Torres del Paine National Park, between mountains, glaciers and lakes, makes the hotel a showcase of the exotic and immense beauty of Patagonia.

The hotel offers you the best ways to take advantage of this setting. Its 50 "exploration routes," with differing levels of difficulty, can be taken on foot or by horseback to take you deep into this remote region of the world. And speaking of the hotel itself, it was built and designed to achieve the greatest harmony and proximity of the human being to the natural environment.

Panoramic views of the Cordillera Paine mountain range and the granite "Towers of Paine" (three spectacular summits) are the backdrop of this hotel that combines luxury with what is essential and minimalist. And the food, being exquisite, doesn't break with that concept; the uniquely flavored dishes , accompanied by a good selection of wines , are designed to make the traveler feel agile and light for exploration excursions. A very complete spa, a 100 meter swimming pool, a souvenir shop, horse stables and the Explorers' Bar are several other features that can be enjoyed at the hotel.

Gervasoni Hotel Boutique Patrimonial, Valparaiso

Long and meticulous restoration work turned one of Valparaiso's imposing heritage homes, built by European immigrants in 1870, into a charming boutique hotel that fuses tradition with modernity and revives the lifestyle of the nineteenth century.

The hotel is located on the famous pedestrian walkway of Gervasoni, one of the main viewpoints of Valparaiso, and offers privileged views of this city, one of the most beautiful and touristic in all of Chile. In an area declared a UNESCO "World Cultural Heritage Site," Gervasoni Hotel Boutique is only five minutes from the commercial area; close to cafes, shops, tourist attractions and museums; while just 15 minutes from the "Garden City" of Vina del Mar.

The hotel has 15 rooms, four of them with their own hydro-massage tub, while the views of the hills of Valparaiso and the sea unify these guest quarters, though each one has a unique personality and different decor. If breakfast is for you, as it is for many travelers, the favorite of your stay might be the "breakfast room," whose large terrace will be your favorite corner for enjoying the morning buffet or a snack later on. In short, this is a traditional hotel, but at the same time an intimate one that will give you the feeling of being in a Valparaiso mansion of a earlier epoch.

Alfonso Tandazo is President and CEO at Surtrek Tour Operator.

If you would like to be a guest blogger onA Luxury Travel Blogin order to raise your profile, pleasecontact us.

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The Great Escape Month 59 Roundup

Oh, my monthly roundups. They are so ridiculously out of sync with real time now (this post is basically one year late, ha ha) that I recently considered axing the series, but I decided to play catch up instead — so brace yourself for a couple of these coming up! However, now that I’m writing on multiple timelines they do serve as a nice roadmap of my archives for those who want to follow my travels chronologically.

Apologies for the delay, but I suppose better is late than never… right? 😛

Oh, how hard it was to leave my island life! This was my final month in Thailand before jetting off to Brazil and a stateside summer, and it was a struggle to say goodbye. Aside from one hellish visa run and one giggle-filled girl's weekend in Samui, I stuck close to Koh Tao and enjoyed my last bit of stillness.

This is a simple post for a simple month!

Where I've Been

• One night in overnight transit

• Five nights on Koh Tao

• Two nights on Koh Samui

• Twenty-one days on Koh Tao


• Breaking my Diet Coke addiction! Long time readers know that I've long considered the stuff to be carbonated gold, and I spent years jolting out of bed and immediately heading out on a mission to source a can if I happened to find myself without it. I was well and truly addicted.

When I started thinking about doing a DIY health retreat, I knew I wanted to kick my ridiculous Diet Coke habit. But it took me months to psych myself up for it! I knew that there was nowhere better than Thailand to do it, since I don't actually love the Thai formula for Coke Light. And you know what? It was raging success , so much so that I extended my initial four weeks to six! I took a million notes and learned SO MUCH from the process. Literally one of the greatest gifts I've ever given myself. It's basically not travel related at all, but give me a shout if you'd be interested in a post about getting un-addicted from diet soda!

• Crushing my 5K time. Well, perhaps crushing is a bit of an exaggeration. But I did semi-train for a run for the first time ever, and I saw the results! I set a new best pace for myself, and had a blast crossing the finish line. It wasn't just that final moment of euphoria though , I also cherished my sunset jogs with my running buddy Amy leading up to it.

• Easter Brunch. Our whole Samui girl's trip was divine , not because we did anything super special (apart from the race, of course) or ate or drank anywhere especially noteworthy. But we were together, and it was our last big hurrah before my summer departure, and I just loved it. The highlight was our Sunday brunch complete with DIY mimosas and endless toasts to friends and upcoming farewells.

• Not one but two diving courses! A sidemount speciality and an enriched air certification were the perfect courses to take side-by-side. I learned so much, I got excited about diving on Koh Tao again, and I got to cap it all off with a group trip to Sail Rock surrounded by friends. I couldn't have asked for better days in the ocean.

• Celebrating Sonkgran! My first Songkran years ago was just days into a heart-wrenching breakup with my boyfriend of three years, so suffice it to say that was pretty bittersweet. And I've been just missing the big day ever since in my comings and goings from Thailand. Finally, in 2016, I got to have a big wet and wild, happiness-fueled do-ver. Travel BFF Heather even flew in from Bali! Honestly, it was the best day I could have asked for. It's one of the greatest holidays I've had the privilege of celebrating!

• Calling quits on Photo of the Week. It had to happen! I didn't regret it for a second and I've really enjoyed focused more on my Instagram and Facebook since. (My newsletter has been far less successful, unfortunately.) It just took so much pressure off!

• Getting enough sleep. It says something funny about our society that I write here every day about my travels around the world but I’m almost embarrassed to say that I get 7-8 hours of sleep a night when I'm on Koh Tao because I know what a luxury that is.

I’ve spent years with various degrees of sleep deprivation due to anxiety and extreme scheduling. Not that both those didn’t flare up occasionally over my time in Koh Tao , and not that I didn't have the worst mattress on the planet , but overall it was the most well-rested half a year I’ve had.

Lowlights and Lessons

• Another hellish visa run to the Burmese border. Paying to spend twenty-four hours being motion sick and be bored to tears by a bureaucratic puppet show? I vowed then and there to never do another one , and so far I've stuck to it! (I take mini-vacations instead.)

• Our Samui hotel was pretty disappointing. After all the fabulous places we've stayed over the years, it was kind of a letdown to land somewhere so meh for such an epic trip , I really wanted to treat my girls to something special! Ah well, that's what we get for booking last minute! We still had a blast.

• My Brazilian visa photo. Lol? I know it sounds like a funny thing to complain about, but I was legit horrified to learn that the awful passport photo I'd submitted with my Brazilian visa application was PRINTED ON THE VISA AND PASTED INTO MY PASSPORT. Of all the passport photos I've had to submit over the years, none but the original have actually ended up in my passport! Lesson learned: I'll never settle for anything less than frame-worthy again. Tears were shed, guys. My vanity knows no bounds.

• The Boat Party... ugh. Honestly, this was so traumatizing of an event that this is the first time I'm mentioning it anywhere in public. And frankly, I'm still going to be super vague, because I'm always on edge writing negatively about anything pertaining to the Thai Government or authorities, considering the country's track record of warmth towards free speech and criticism.

But basically, what happened was this: a yacht was hired for a private party of mostly long-term expats. We boarded the boat with much elation and enjoyed our fun at sea for about an hour before being approached by a police vessel which boarded the boat and forced it back to a pier other than the one we'd departed from. When docked, we headed for the end of the long pier , only to realize the police had locked it from the other side. We spent two hours in the hot sun with no water or access to bathrooms, portions of it on our knees with our hands over our head, while the police tossed the boat and tried to figure out what charges we could be held on. When we were released, we had to write down names, passport numbers, addresses, and more. It was incredibly traumatizing and I actually cried when we were finally freed. Anyway, that's the short version , for the longer one, you'll have to wait for an incredibly juicy chapter of the book I've finally accepted I'll try to write someday.

• Leaving Koh Tao. Seriously, it never gets any easier. This was one of the best seasons I ever spent on the island, and leaving literally felt heart-wrenching. That said, a travel writer stranding herself on an island that is the isolation equivalent of being a 4-5 hour drive from the closest, most expensive airport and a 7-8 hour drive from the more reasonably priced one is not a sustainable business plan and I recognize that my time off the island is necessary for both my business and my mental health! Still, there are always things I long for when I'm away.

Best and Worst Beds of the Month

Best: Well I didn't really travel much this month but I did soak up my last beautiful weeks of sleeping in my own apartment! Kind of a shame that I loathed, ya know, my actual bed.

Worst: Easy , my evening on the night boat with broken AC followed by a miserable motion-sickness inducing car ride to the edge on Thailand on my visa run. (Though frankly, the hotel in Samui was nothing much exciting either.)

Best and Worst Meals of the Month

Best: Our post-Songkran brunch at my friend Janine's house! I made banana cinnamon pancakes and mango mimosas , hangover food in the tropics.

Worst: Sorry to be a broken record, but I'll have to go with "whatever shitty snacks I compiled from a five-minute stop at 7-11 just over the Burmese border." Yeah, I really hate those visa runs.


I had another nice and low-key month of expenditures (much needed before the spend-storm that was Brazil!). While Songkran and our trip to Samui were mild splurges, my day-to-day lifestyle on Koh Tao is so affordable it can definitely absorb the blow of a few fun activities thrown in per month. In Samui I also used some built up hotel credit I had , nothing special for being a blogger, just normal loyalty programs anyone can use! , to cover the majority of the cost of the rooms.

Unusually for me, two of my biggest splurges were clothes and accessories , new bikinis from local Koh Tao designer Flip Flop and Treacle, and some new jewelry from local island jeweler Amy Jennifer Jewellery. Had to send myself off in style!


Hallelujah! I doubled my income from the previous month thanks to a few big campaigns coming in with my regular blog partners, as well as a successful month for affiliate income. Again , right before Brazil, I seriously needed it.

Health and Fitness

Between my 5K, the training for it, and trying to use up all my gym and yoga passes before heading off to Brazil, I basically crushed it. Admittedly, Songkran was quite debaucherous, but overall

What Was Next

Six weeks in BRAZIL!

I simply couldn't ask for better travel companions than all of you!

Since I left home for my Great Escape, I’ve been doing monthly roundups of my adventures filled with anecdotes, private little moments, and thoughts that are found nowhere else on this blog. As this site is not just a resource for other travelers but also my own personal travel diary, I like to take some time to reflect on not just what I did, but how I felt. You can read my previous roundups here.