In my opinion, the further south you go, the better off you are. I started as a product of the south in 1987 in the natural state of Arkansas, and I’ve been trying to make my way even further south ever since. Authenticity is abundant under southern skies, evident through the good-natured people, even better food and local finds. A shining example is the hotel where I was lucky enough to spend three glorious nights while in this huge wonder of the world, The Singular Patagonia.
| THE CONCEPT |
The Singular hotel is unlike any other hotel with which I’ve ever stayed. Why? For starters, it was a cold storage plant in its former life throughout the 1900s. Read: slaughterhouse/meat refrigerator packing complex, a booming industry for the area during the 20th Century. Driving through the gates, it was obvious that the building maintained its history with the farm/factory character from the outside, and I was immediately intrigued at what the restoration held on the inside. The owners felt so strongly about having the hotel reflect Patagonia’s past and future, so sustainability was a major part of the construction. Having been awarded the esteemed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) stamp, this authentic Patagonia luxury hotel also received The Road Les Traveled stamp of approval.
| THE ROOM |
To arrive at one of the 57 rooms and suites of the hotel (which at one point were the freezing rooms of the old complex), the guest must first walk through the public area and hallways which house the original industrial elements. Oooh if these walls could talk (on second thought, I’m glad they don’t.) The aged machinery and rooms filled with historic collections tell the tale of an industrial past.
Walking into room 211, my boyfriend and I were greeted with simplistic luxury including inhabitants of a kind-sized bed, desk, and overstuffed chair to sit and stare out of the floor-to-ceiling window of Patagonia fjords, a reminder that Mother Nature knows her artwork. The materials used in the newly constructed areas of the hotel included cement ceilings and aluminum plating, paying homage to Patagonia’s heritage and industrial past even amidst the southern comforts surrounding every guest.
The bathroom housed my favorite pastime – a stand alone bathtub of which I fell asleep in after a long trek in Torres del Paine National Park. A separate rain shower was available as well, but not as rejuvenating for the soul after a day of adventuring if you ask me.
| Food & Drink |
A plethora of seating arrangements, cozy lounge areas and dining tables await all guests in this massive wing of the complex. Once upon a time during the 20th Century, this space was used as a marketplace where the locals would trade goods. Well, one man’s goods are another woman’s 5 course meals as the Patagonian cuisine is a must-try. Executive chef Laurent Pasqualetto pairs locally grown ingredients with regional specialties and meats. Tip: order the local Punta Arenas Austral Calafate beer or rhubarb sour cocktail near the bar, and indulge in the Guanaco dish during dinner. Of course, you can’t go wrong with cordero, or lamb, as it’s a delicacy down here.
Like many other luxury hotels around the area, The Singular prefers to leave the bills behind. If you so choose to book the full board program, final payment is due before arriving to the hotel, and once at the destination, everything is included – lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, alcohol, transportation and excursions.
| The Singular Excursions |
Home to glaciers, mountains, deserts and rain forests, Patagonia is unlike any other place on Earth and needs patience and a willingness to move slowly. Hasty visitors take note, or you’ll miss everything that matters. With so much to do, those who come with so little time be warned! I spent only three nights here, and it deserves at least a week long stay. The shining stars of the offered 20 excursions are horseback riding and the trek inside Torres del Paine National Park, an hour and a half drive from The Singular. (Waahwaah) The gauchos at the stables are incredibly knowledgeable and responsible with a collection of beautiful horses. After about an hour of riding, I asked if we could gallop, thinking I was some hot shot Equestrian rider since I’ve been living in the land of estancias, or private ranches, for the past year. After testing out my skills, we did in fact gallop, and I was extremely satisfied – riding horses in Patagonia is a tick off the ole’ bucket list.
| The Singular Spa |
A hike or two does the body good, but a spa makes it even better. The various excursions offered at The Singular should be complemented by the spa, where guests can bask in the facilities no matter the booked program. Full boarders, half boarders and bed + breakfasters can ulitlize the pool, steam bath and sauna. Ahhhhhh just what the doctor ordered after a long day of adventuring.
| Weather |
The weather in Patagonia changes faster that my travel itinerary. Last time I checked, I visited during springtime, but mark my words – you’ll experience all four seasons in under an hour. For example, we embarked on our horseback journey through the forest and within minutes, hard rain started pelting my face. Uhm, should we call a rain check, y’all? I realized that the flying water droplets from above weren’t affecting anybody but me, so I kept on with my trusty horse. Another 10 minutes passed, and voila! I could see clearly now that the rain was gone. I could see all obstacles in my way. Gone were the dark clouds that had me blind. It turned into a bright (bright) sunshiny day. Moral of the story is to bring a rain jacket, fleece, windbreaker (preferably something from the early 90s), hat, and gloves to protect yourself from whatever elements may come. While we’re on a packing list, good hiking boots and sunscreen, sunglasses and a camera are necessities.
| When To Visit |
If you didn’t catch my drift throughout this post, it rained and snowed multiple times while we were in Patagonia last week. Weather is always changing no matter the month, but I would advise letting spring get a head start before arriving. Summer months from November – March are ideal when the temperatures on average reach 55 – 68 degrees. Winds in the summer can be extreme reaching 74 mph at times. Ouch. Now in its fourth season, The Singular is open from October – May each year. Please note* that seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere. If you didn’t already know that, God bless your soul.
| Getting There |
A couple different routes present themselves in order to get to The Singular. May I suggest flying from Santiago, Chile to Punta Arenas, Chile via LAN Airlines. The flight is three hours and a driver will be waiting at the airport to take you on the 2 1/2 hour drive to the hotel. A scrumptious Singular snack will be awaiting you in the van – totally worth the drive. An alternate route is flying into El Calafate, Argentina, and driving 4 hours to the hotel. Many people like this route as it’s the starting point to trek the famous Perito Moreno glacier.
Full board programs are $910/day including lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, daily excursions with bilingual guides, airport transfers and use of spa facilities.
Half board programs are $330/day including lodging, breakfast, and lunch OR dinner and use of spa facilities.
Bed and breakfast programs are $270/day including lodging, breakfast and use of spa facilities.