Nothofagus Hotel and Spa and Montana Magica
Nothofagus Hotel and Spa and Montana Magica, Huilo Huilo, Chile
As you travel through the forest, these hotels will be almost the last thing that you expect to come across. They are pretty hard to describe, but the word 'fantasy' does come to mind.
The original concept of Montana Magica was a great idea - a conical-shaped building housing 20 rooms, with a fountain pouring over the outside from the top into the surrounding moat. The rooms here are of a lower standard than the Nothofagus, and are perfect if you have children with you.
Leading from Montana Magica, there is a corridor across to the spectacular Nothofagus Hotel and Spa. This is a unique hotel built by the Chilean architect Rodrigo Veredugo. A large wooden inverted cone structure houses a spiral set of floors reaching up to the height of the surrounding forest canopy. There are a surprising 50 rooms, although it does not feel like it. Each one has a balcony looking out into the forest and to the surrounding mountains and volcanoes. There is a pool and spa with cold, wet and dry sauna but the best feature has got to be the hollowed out trees that make the hot tubs.
Excursions run from the hotel include treks (from easy to hard), birdwatching and even golf, although you should not expect a serious course. Over winter (June - August) there is a small ski run on a nearby volcano. The food served in the hotel is of a high standard and there is a great wine list. Service levels are great, but please bear in mind that the owners have tried to employ as many local people as possible, meaning that not all staff speak English.