It is the first link in the Chilean chain in Argentina. It is no coincidence that they have chosen El Chalténthe national capital of trekking, to take the big step on this side of the Andes. Hiking is an activity completely aligned with the philosophy of the hotel, that pays a style of sustainable luxury, in which the greatest asset is the view from the windows: the magnificent valley of the Eléctrico river, with the Marconi glacier behind. A natural treasure guarded by the Los Huemules reserve, where it is located, 17 km from the town.
the mark of the Ibáñez family is about to turn 30. The first explore opened in Torres del Paine in 1993. Then it was the turn of San Pedro de Atacama, followed by properties in Easter Island, the Sacred Valley (Peru) and Uyuni (Bolivia). In 2019, they began developing conservation reserves with the goal of positively impacting one million hectares over the next 10 years. The reserves provide 95% of their territory exclusively for exploration and conservation and only 5% is earmarked for tourism or real estate or research facilities. “They are committed to a future in which people and nature can prosper due to the legal safeguarding of our unique landscapes and ecosystems in partnership with local cultures and world-class scientific activity,” they maintain.
Already in 2004, when the private reserve was created The Huemules –5,800 hectares on the way to Lago del Desierto–, explore contacted Patagonian Skies to work together in this direction. The El Chaltén hotel only opened in December 2021, after a complex work that had to contemplate not only the requirements of the reserve management plan and the harsh Santa Cruz winter, but also the narrow bridges that trucks had to cross They took the 117 modules of the project conceived by the Chilean architect Pepe Cruz from the factory in Mendoza to the land on the banks of the Eléctrico River. There were 90 millimetrically calculated trips.
The result is very modern, disconcerting for some, but seamless, like the containers black on the outside, and covered in wood on the inside, which receive the traveler. If the splendid view from the windows is added to the warmth of the light tones of the pine, the result is the perfect climate of refuge that those who arrive tired of walking expect to find. There are no excesses. A glorious shower, a soft bed, a very good kitchen – with a menu designed by Pablo Rivero and Guido Tassi from Don Julio and The Favorite of Palermo– and the best Patagonian wines.
For the rest, what is loose is the proportion of employees: there are 65 to serve a maximum of 40 guests. Several make up the kitchen brigade, which prepares from the first bread, scones and jam in the morning, to the last dessert of the night, always guided by the idea of using, as much as possible, raw materials from small local producers, produced with agroecological criteria and, in some cases, harvested.
The spa, for its part, has three outdoor Jacuzzis, well guarded by the granite silhouette of Cerro 30 Aniversario, and several treatment rooms, ideal for treating yourself to a good massage after a long day.
The staff of guides is another fundamental axis of the proposal. Every day, between 6 and 8 pm, with one of the bartender’s creations in hand, it’s time to plan the next day’s activities. The proposal of explore divides the region into three areas: the Los Glaciares NPmore steppe; that of the Los Huemules reserve, greener and with far fewer tourists (because it is paid access and much less known), and finally, the Lago del Desierto sector, with walks of varying degrees of difficulty through the Vespignani glacier and the quiet bay.
Very well thought out, the intention of those responsible for the exploration plan is that passengers know at least one path of each of these parts, to get a full idea of the variety of existing environments.
There are half-day trails, which invite you to have lunch at the hotel before heading out again in the afternoon, and various full-day explorations. In these cases, the guest is invited to choose his lunch the next day with options such as focaccia loin with zucchini and roasted tomatoes, a vegetarian sandwich with romesco sauce, or a vegetarian or pork barley as a protein option.
The professionalism of the guides is immaculate and their enthusiasm contagious. They accompany and motivate those who walk slowly, they urge them to go out the same if the day is cold, drizzled or windy. In any case, for the less active there is also a menu of landing (Departures by vehicle with very short walks). And a conclusion in sight: staying at the hotel is out of the question. The lounge chairs and views may be inviting, but the energy of destiny is out there, and it’s in the air.
For the next season, starting in October 2022, it is planned to add the Hielos Continentales as a crossing for the most trained and that El Chaltén is a possible milestone of the program Explore Connect Patagoniathat combines this property with the two they have in the south of Chile (Torres del Paine NP and Patagonia NP).
Useful data There are three types of programs with special rates for Argentines: Experience, Adventure and Explorer. The first, from $540 (VAT included), includes in-out transfers from El Calafate airport, breakfast and a meal with drinks, with a half-day exploration per stay. The second, from $622 (VAT included), includes all meals and one half-day exploration per night. The program Explorerfrom $682includes transfers + meals and full day or half day explorations. Rates per person based on double. T: (+54-11) 5199-0564. email@example.com www.explora.com