Blending Nature and Humanity in Patagonia
Beautiful Desolation: Remota Hotel in Patagonia, Chile
“The seafoam, endless, thick, so I couldn’t find
the line where the sea dashed its wave at me.
The land I came to doesn’t have spring:
it has its long night, in which I find no mother.
The wind at my house makes its round of laments
and howling; breaks, like a mirror, my shout.
And in the white prairies, the infinite horizon,
I gaze at the dying of immense sorrowful sunsets.”
By Shelley Seale
Nobel Prize-winning poet of Chile, Gabriela Mistral, wrote those words in 1922, in her poem Desolación. She spent many of her early years in the desolate places of Chile, including the wild Patagonia in the south. Through her poetry, Mistral put into words the ugliness of what human beings do to the natural gifts we receive.
Nearly 100 years later the immense, wide-open landscapes of Patagonia remain untamed — from its Ice Age valleys and moraines to the jagged mountain ridges, and the endless prairies that lie in between.
Fjords and glaciers, native forests and an abundance of waterfalls make the human visitor aware, at every moment, of the nature around them. For the nature and wildlife lover, Patagonia is the place to come in South America; whether you are a hard-core adventurer or a traveler more interested in light hiking, fishing or horseback riding.
In the town of Puerto Natales, Remota Hotel was built on the concept of blending nature with human civilization. The property was created with the idea of mixing the architectural design with the natural surroundings, designed by legendary architect German del Sol who won the National Prize for his work on Remota.
The buildings are integrated in harmony with the Patagonian landscape, at times blurring the lines between where nature ends and Remota begins.
Using construction techniques such as earth-and-grass covered rooftops, sustainable local materials and energy-saving implementations was key for Del Sol.
And these are no mere “nod to green concerns” gestures. The entire hotel utilizes a system that recycles the indoor air two to three times a day, using no energy whatsoever.
It’s a place where visitors can feel at one with Patagonia, and be in the present moment. Del Sol believed that beauty was in the imperfections, and embraced those aspects of his natural materials to create a place that offers an experience to guests, not just a hotel stay.
“The loneliness of the vast landscape is perhaps what seduces the wanderer’s soul,” says del Sol. “Everyone can make a discovery if one sees the same old things with new eyes. Maybe, because we only get to know that which puts up some resistance, the place where it is hard to get to is that which we believe, somehow, that we deserve.
Thus, perhaps, the myth of Patagonia is the myth of a remote place, where we feel that the journey has been accomplished, and we are delicately returned to what is ours.”
Details about the Hotel Remota
The guest rooms are an invitation to rest body and soul, the relaxing aroma of the lenga wood together with the light radiating from the heat reflecting windows and the magnificent views to the fjord of Last Hope are the perfect setting for perfect comfort. Remota offers 72 wonderfully appointed, spacious rooms.
The common areas are divided into multi levels, with several comfortable and stylish living rooms built around large fireplaces, leading eventually up to the restaurant and bar.
The amazing food is part of the Remota experience, with skilled chefs creating a variety of inventive dishes from the fresh seafood of Patagonia and local ingredients.
A separate building houses a relaxing indoor heated pool, open-air Jacuzzi and men’s and women’s locker rooms with saunas.
Every stay at Hotel Remota is a program that includes:
• Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, with soft and alcoholic drinks or house wine.
• 8 Daily Excursions offered according to the day’s program, with a bilingual guide. (English-Spanish)
• Excursion hours are pre-established. Consult reception.
• Use of the sauna, open-air Jacuzzi, and heated indoor pool.
• Complementary transfers.
Premium wines, massage services, outdoor equipment, personal goods, gift shop items, fly-fishing gear and tips are not included.
Patagonia Sights and Excursions in Chile
Hotel Remota tour guides are among the best in Chile, specially trained in the hotel’s own guide school. Remota is the only operation that offers certified fly fishing experience, as well as navigations, hiking, horseback riding, bicycle tours and bird watching, with world well-known specialists.
Every evening the guides gather in the bar of the hotel, where they can plan with guests their excursions for the next day out of more than 30 possibilities in Torres del Paine National Park, as well as beyond mountains, glaciers, lakes, rivers and forests, cattle farms and caves of ancestral native cultures. Tours can be done by vehicle (4x4), horseback, bicycle, or walking, sailing the fjords; it all depends on the guests preference and the area they would like to visit.
Tours of the region are divided into 7 sections of interest.
I. Puerto Natales and Sierra Dorotea
Puerto Natales is the geographical center of Chilean Patagonia, and it boasts one of the most picturesque ports in Chile, grandly displaying the ingenuity of the resident locals, who in turn have learned to adapt to this land from the indigenous before them, as well as the first explorers and adventurers, so that they may live a good life in the middle of sometimes brutal climate.
II. Southern FjordsThe first navigators here sailed through the Patagonia’s labyrinth of fjords seeking protected bays, fish, and fresh water, and a more protected path to the Atlantic Sea, much like the Strait that Magellan discovered on November 1, 1520. Before them, the indigenous groups Kawésqar and Yamanes plied these waters, followed by colonists. Yet even today, these fjords are still some of the most unpopulated on the planet.
III. Lake Sofía
This is one of the most important archeological sites in the far south of Chile. The first inhabitants of Patagonia lived here at Lake Sofia together with now-extinct mega fauna such as the prehistoric horse (caballo enano), the milodón (giant sloth), saber tooth tiger, and more.
This area is also attractive for its beautiful geography, its mix of lagoons and lakes such as Sofía, and isolated peaks that are home to condor and eagle nesting sites, and extensive native beech forests that are full of flowers.
IV. Torres Del PaineTorres del Paine National Park, created in 1959, was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. In spite of the fact that the entire region is a natural and cultural reserve, the park itself is one of the best-known attractions in the world. Its beauty is easy to seek out, but hard to forget. No one who has visited Torres del Paine can forget the view of the sun cast upon the park’s tall peaks, coloring the tips of the Cuernos (Horns), the Paine Grande peak, the Espada Peak, or the Shark’s Fin Peak in pink tones.
V. Sierra BagualesLos Baguales is a little-known area where travelers can soak up the pleasure of distancing themselves from the “well-known,” the essence of any good trip. A person’s sense of distance disappears as the vast pampa that is Patagonia appears, creating a sense of mystery of that which one sees but doesn’t understand. The area is home to wild horses, guanacos, rheas and pumas, although the latter is difficult to spot. Los Baguales is known for fascinating, strange geological formations, that the local indigenous groups believed were the fossilized remains of extraterrestrials and the flat plains their landing areas.
VI. Mount Rotundo
A very attractive area for its dense forests, lakes and fjords, Mount Rotundo is rich in flora typically found near channels, such as evergreen beech, canelo, and Guaitecas Cypress, flora that needs a lot of humidity. In the forest shade, we find here a varied amount of mushrooms and lichens. The landscape offers surprises such as the snowy peaks of the Pinto mountain range and the impressive Mount Rotundo.
VII. Fly fishing Remota
The diversity of its landscapes lead us to discover a huge amount of water resources in the province of Ultima Esperanza its lakes, lagoons, rivers and streams reflect unforgettable purity and richness of its waters. Hundreds of seasoned anglers come to Patagonia in search of a unique and indescribable natural paradise to perform this activity. A variety of highly prized fishes such as Fario trout, Coho Salmon, Salmo salar, and Salmo King are among those that can be found in the area.
Contact information: Ruta 9 Norte, km 1.5
Puerto Natales, Chile
56 | 2 | 23871500
All-inclusive programs at Hotel Remota start at $1,950 per person for 3 nights.
Shelley Seale is a professional freelance writer who has written for National Geographic, Andrew Harper Traveler and GoNOMAD.com among others. She fell in love immediately with Wuzhen, considering it the most charming place she visited in China. She can be reached at shelleyseale.com.
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