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Explora Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Staying at the Explora is a complete experience. Justifiably renowned for its pioneering architecture and unashamed luxury, the Explora Patagonia is up there with the very best hotels in Chile. The sensational views of Lake Pehoe, epic Torres Massif mountains and the Salto Chico waterfall can be enjoyed from the lounge, the restaurant, many of the bedrooms and even the open air Jacuzzis. Despite the hotel’s distinctly designer interior and exterior, it is well known for its environmental awareness and sympathy with its surroundings.

The 49 rooms and suites are Scandinavian in style and combine rustic charm with unlimited comfort. You will sleep in Spanish bed linen, eat from English chinaware and admire tapestries flown over from New York. They fall into three categories: at the entry level there are the seven Salto Chico rooms, which, as the name suggests, have views over the small Salto Chico waterfall to the west of the hotel; the 36 Cordillera Paine rooms are the same size but offer views of the central Torres Massif; and the six Exploradores suites have the same view but are around twice the size of the other rooms. They are all furnished to the same standards (although the suites do have a larger seating area and extra picture windows), with spacious bathrooms cleverly designed to give you a view from the Jacuzzi bath.

Unlike other accommodation in the park, Explora has full communication facilities; including international television and video (although not in the rooms), telephone, radio and fax, as Wi-Fi in the main bar area. In a separate building a five minute walk from the main hotel you will find an indoor heated swimming pool and spa. There is an open bar policy including some great Chilean wines (and a premium wine list for anyone wanting to splash out on a bottle). Given the location and the sheer logistical issues in getting supplies to the property, the food is amazingly good both in the hotel and while you are out and about in the park.

As the name suggests, the Explora concept is based around exploration and the hotel’s exclusive guides and excursion routes will ensure you get the very most out of Patagonia and Torres del Paine. You will meet the lodge’s guides every evening and they will then tailor-make the next day’s activities for you, dependent on the weather and what you would most like to do. These excursions range from gentle walks and vehicle based trips to full day hikes and long horse treks. Explora has a large fleet of vehicles (which are maintained onsite) to ensure that all guests can get out and about at the same time, and they also have a boat on Lake Pehoe which gives them quick and direct access to areas such as the start of the trek to Glacier Grey.

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    Alternative places to stay nearby

    Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favorite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.

    Experiences while staying here

    The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.