Your luxury holiday in Chile will begin in vibrant Santiago, an eclectic mix of colonial architecture and museums. One of the best ways to get to know the city is through your stomach and a culinary Santiago food tour will have you experiencing its lively market culture, visiting a chic wine store and dining at a gourmet restaurant in the evening. Your wine shop stop is just an entrée to Chile’s excellent viticulture, so we’ll take you on an Emiliana wine tour – an established winery in Casablanca Valley, which is home to some of the country’s finest sauvignon blancs. In the afternoon, you’ll wander the jumble of crayon-coloured Valparaíso’s hillsides, a city that has long drawn admiration from writers, poets and painters.
Then it’s time to slow down and take an even deeper dive into Chile’s world-class winemaking with a couple of days at a working winery in the emerald contours of the Millahue Valley. Here, you won’t just imbibe the vintages but also get hands-on with the winemaking process, whether it’s helping to harvest the grapes or joining in with the fermentation. Make sure you set aside some time to hike, bike and explore the valley’s sun-soaked surrounds on horseback, safe in the knowledge a fresh glass of vino will be waiting on your return.
Now well-versed in Chilean wine, you’ll fly north. You might only have just managed to catch your breath back but Chile’s relentlessly beautiful vistas mean it will be taken away again, this time courtesy of the Atacama Desert. Your base is the adobe streets of San Pedro de Atacama village, where you’ll be perfectly positioned to explore this wilderness. Atacama Desert hiking is Chile at its wild best: its pearl-white salt pans, spluttering geysers, snow-dusted mountains and flamingo-filled lagoons don’t look of this Earth. Do as you please during two days in this epic landscape, whether it’s overlanding through the lunar-like vistas, trekking through the terracotta terrain or craning your neck to witness its otherworldly star-filled skies.
It’s a pair of life-affirming days you won’t think can be matched but Chile has one more trick up its sleeve. Spend your last three nights in Puerto Varas, a city known for its Germanic architecture thanks to its immigrant founders. But the proximity of Lake Llanquihue and the sentinel Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes are the real reason you’re here – to enjoy countless adventures among Chile’s Lake District in northern Patagonia. Treat it as your own natural playground as you paddle the Petrohué River, spot the world’s smallest deer (the pudu) in Alerce Andino National Park and enjoy a farm-to-table cooking experience. That’s just the tip of the Patagonian iceberg – the limit to the activities you can enjoy are as wide as the landscapes themselves.
A grand nineteenth-century mansion, the Gallic grandeur of Le Rêve Boutique Hotel fits very snugly among the leafy boulevards and other grand houses of Santiago’s Providencia neighbourhood. Its ivy-covered exterior hides a homely feel inside where the understated elegance is matched by a tranquil atmosphere – invaluable for a city hotel. Handily, it’s close to all of Santiago’s must-see landmarks, as well as many museums and gourmet restaurants.
Lording over eleven thousand acres of sun-soaked vineyards in the Millahue Valley, VIK Chile is a titanium-topped retreat with one hell of a view. Of course, wine permeates every aspect of a stay here, whether it’s premium tastings or soaking in a wine bath in VIK’s spa but it’s far more than that. There are so many opportunities to explore the surrounding countryside, from hiking to horseback adventures and everything in between. Millahue means ‘place of gold’ in indigenous Mapuche – VIK certainly feels that.
Blending in seamlessly with the raw beauty of the Atacama Desert, this luxury oasis is surrounded by a divine chocolate box of natural wonders, including salt flats, volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and sand dunes. Its adobe-style desert retreats pay homage to the indigenous architecture that’s befitting of the area, while Explora Atacama is far enough away from San Pedro de Atacama to benefit from the dark skies that make this wilderness one of the world’s premier stargazing spots.
Fronting the serene shores of Lake Llanquihue, AWA Hotel in Puerto Varas delivers gasp-worthy views of Osorno volcano from every single room. Its ambitious stone and glass design is striking enough to draw you in but not so much as to take away from the epic landscapes it looks out onto. It’s more than just a handy base for exploring the Lake District’s great outdoors; its restaurants deliciously taps into the local seafood scene with its tasty roster of fish dishes.
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