“The Best of Patagonia” refers to a group of hotels that collectively market themselves as “a selection of the most exclusive properties in Argentina and Chile”. These ten properties are some of the most luxurious hotels in South America. Very few people, travel agencies included, realise that by booking a number of these hotels in conjunction entitles you to various upgrades and gimmicks. I am a South America luxury travel specialist, and I’ll explain….
Both Argentina and Chile are highly cultured, relatively safe countries, and are very much “on the gringo trail / beaten track” in terms of luxury tours to South America. Many people who seek such luxury tours often stay at this grouping of hotels in Argentina and Chile, unaware that if they had booked them correctly, they would be entitled to various free upgrades and gimmicks. Basically, you need to stay in three of the “Best of Patagonia” hotels, and you’ll be entitled to upgrades. Details of each of these luxury hotels in South America follow - I’ll mention the hotels as we travel in a loop southwards from Buenos Aires, through Patagonia to Tierra del Fuego, across the border into Southern Chile, and then travel north through Chile to the Atacama desert. Book each of these hotels over a one month tailormade holiday to South America, and you genuinely couldn’t find a more luxurious trip anywhere.
Alvear Palace, Buenos Aires (Argentina): one of South America’ best hotels, this is the place to stay in Buenos Aires for those seeking a traditional luxury hotel. The service is exquisite and the decor preposterously grand, many people finding the luxury a little over the top. The Alvear Palace is a truely majestic hotel (even institution) in Buenos Aires. Beware the toffs.
Esquina Carlos Gardel, Buenos Aires (Argentina): a dazzling elegant hotel, the Esquina Carlos Gardel is all about tango. There’s regular tango shows performed at this luxury hotel, one tango’s most famous sites. Ozzing in history, this is a new addition to the “Best of Patagonia” group.
Llao Llao, Bariloche (Argentina): to give it it’s full name does give an idea of what this luxury hotel in Argentina’s Lake District is all about - the Llao Llao Hotel & Resort Golf Spa. It is a resort, and a large one, but it does have the most scenic lakeside location of all hotels in Bariloche. The hotel’s 18 hole golf course is top notch, as is the spa. As Patagonia is all about outdoor activities and nature, I’d personally be loath to spend my time here with quite so many others (you can see the end of this post for interesting luxury alternatives).
Estancia Cristina, El Calafate (Argentina): surrounded by forests, mountains and glaciers, Estancia Cristina is as wonderful small hotel near El Calafate. A visit is all about outdoor activities, and tours to crashing glaciers in particular.
Los Notros, El Calafate (Argentina): A different experience to Estancia Cristina, Los Notros hotel is an exquisite luxury hotel overlooking a moving, crashing glacier. A great option for those short on time seeking a quick luxury tour to experience the Perito Moreno Glacier of El Calafate.
Los Cerros, El Chalten (Argentina): El Chalten is Argentina’s most dramatic trekking region, a few hours north of El Calafate, and Los Cerros is by far the best hotel there. The granite peaks of the Fitzroy Mountains are quite spectacular.
Las Hayas Hotel, Ushuaia (Argentina): this is Ushuaia’s luxury resort, surrounded by beautiful woodland, and the only 5 star hotel in town. There’s stunning views over Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel, and the hotel often caters towards those looking for a luxury cruise (either to Antarctica, or to Chile…..)
Cruceros Australis (between Argentina and Chile): this is a luxury 3/4 night cruise operating between Ushuaia in Argentina and Punta Arenas in Chile. You’ll visit glaciers, forests and the Cape Horn National Park on this luxury cruise.
Explora en Patagonia, Torres de Paine (Chile): this is the pick of the bunch and undoubtedly one of the best luxury hotels in South America. The boy scout-esque staff may a little to keen to get you out of the hotel, but you’re rewarded with some of South America’s most amazingly beautiful scenery, ideal for a host of outdoor activities. There’s dozens of excursions that are organized by Explora en Patagonia, and if you happen come across any other groups exploring Torres del Paine National Park, you’ll be thoroughly smug at the luxury treatment you’re getting, and they’re not. In a word - excellent.
Explora en Atacama, Atacama Desert (Chile): It’s a long long way up to the North of Chile, but Explora en Atacama is well worth the journey. Very similar in nature and standard to the Explora en Patagonia, but the Explora en Atacama is all about luxury tours to desert landscapes. Again, it’s excellent.
There you have it - the “Best of Patagonia” selection of luxury hotels in Argentina and Chile. Book any three on your trip, and you’re entitled to various free room upgrades, spa treatments, free champagnes and other perks and gimmicks that do ultimately add up to big amounts of money.
How do you get these free travel perks? You could start by contacting the hotel group directly - see www.thebestofpatagonia.com , or you could book the hotels through a South America tailormade holiday specialist.
The “Best of Patagonia” hotel group does offer serious luxury tours to Chile and Argentina, and it won’t come cheap. A couple staying at each for a three or four night stay over a 1 month travel itinerary, would cost in excess of $30,000 per person when you take into account travel arrangements between each of the hotels in addition. But you will have the ultimate 5 star luxury tour of Argentina and Chile. By no means does is the “Best of Patagonia” group the “be all and end all” of luxury hotels in Argentina and Chile - it is of course somewhat political in nature, and now I’ll suggest a few alternative luxury hotels in the region. Google them if you want more information (or browse this South America travel guide of course):
Buenos Aires: it’s not all about the Alvear Palace! The Palacio Duhua Park Hyatt is another great luxury hotel in Buenos Aires - this is where I booked for my mother when she visited Argentina, as I thought the Alvear Palace would be a little over the top for her. The Four Seasons hotel is another great luxury option that receives excellent hotel reviews. Top of the class for chic hotels in Buenos Aire is the ultra trendy Faena hotel, though it is extortionately expensive (and they up prices year by year). Other chic and trendy options include the Bobo or the Home hotel.
Bariloche: the Llao Llao hotel is a big golf resort. It may suit perfectly, but if you want something a little more intimate, try Las Balsas hotel in nearby Villa de Angostura. Alternatively, and a notch down in price, and you may find the Aldebaran a little more affordable.
El Calafate: Los Notros is the standard luxury hotel, but check out the more Argentinially authentic Estancia Helsingfors and Kau Yatun as alternatives. In El Chalten, there’s nothing that matches Los Cerros.
Ushuaia: You might prefer the more intimate Cumbres de Martial or Tierra de Leyendas hotels to the 5 star Las Hayas - both are small but luxurious.
Torres del Paine: nothing matches the Explora hotel, but if it’s not affordable, try Hosteria Lago Grey or Hosteria Las Torres.
Atacama: nothing beats the Explora, by far the best luxury hotel in Chile’s Atacama desert.
On a final note, there’s other travel destinations in Argentina that offer genuinely luxurious hotels. Iguassu Falls is on many people’s itinerary for a vacation to Argentina, and the sheraton hotel is by far the best option (it pains me to say it as I hate promoting chain hotels.) For those seeking a luxury hotel in Argentina’s wine growing region, Las Cavas Wine Lodge will not disappoint. There’s also various luxury estancias in the Pampas just outside od Buenos Aires, but each has their distinct faults. In Chile, if you do choose to visit the Lake District region (note that Argentina’s Lake District is considered by most to be more beautiful), the Villaricca Park Lake in Villarica and the Antumalal Hotel in Pucon are both luxury hotels.
If you’ve any further luxury travel tips for tours to Argentina, Patagonia or Chile, do share them….