One of the great benefits of working for Llama Travel is that I am able to visit some of the most beautiful places in the world, and in my opinion there is no place more magnificent than the Torres del Paine national park, in the south of Chile.
The park is most famous for the Paine Massif, a towering collection of rocks that rise up to the sky, scraping heights of 2,800m and so creating an incredible sight on the horizon. However, this blog is not about the magnificence of the park itself, if it was it would be a lot longer with a lot more superlatives. It is instead about the Rio Serrano hotel, Llama Travel’s choice of hotel and a personal favourite of mine.
When I first set eyes on the hotel, driving up to it from the rear, I was not instantly drawn to its rather shed-like modernistic design. However my early trepidation was quelled upon entry where I was greeted with the most spectacular view of the Torres del Paine massif. There is method in the madness of the Rio Serrano’s unusual design, as the long sloping buildings allow for an infinite number of enormous windows, facing the park, throughout the public areas. So you can soak up the picture perfect views from almost everywhere.
There are also a number of conveniently placed lounge areas where you can relax while watching the sun setting over the park and enjoy a refreshing glass of Chilean wine. A perfect way to end the day.
The rooms in the hotel are on the two upper floors, half of which face the Paine Massif. All the rooms in the hotel are clean, comfortable and are elegantly decorated with nice large beds. I opted to stay in a room with a view of the Paine which has a small supplement. The true benefit of my room was only realised when morning broke and I was greeted with the most incredible view without even having to leave my bed. This made it very difficult to get up for my morning activity.
I had nothing big scheduled for my first day in Torres Del Paine so I was free to make my own arrangements… and I had plenty of choice! The hotel runs a number of activities you can get involved in, including trekking the famous Las Torres and French Valley walks, taking an excursion to see condors soaring around the cliffs, hiring a bike or exploring the park on houseback. If all this sounds a little too energetic, taking an easy stroll around the grounds surrounding the hotel is also a lovely option.
A particular highlight of my time in Torres Del Paine and the Rio Serrano was the ‘Serrano River Zodiac’ excursion, a thrilling boat ride beginning on the Rio Serrano river – which, as the name implies, runs not too far from the Hotel – and journeys down the river and estuaries, with amazing views of the park and surrounding area, all the way to the spectacular Serrano glacier. After lunch, we changed boats and travelled down the Last Hope Sound to the town of Puerto Natales. This was a great way to exit the park as we saw firsthand how the mighty glaciers of the park have shaped the land and rivers into the awe-inspiring environment it is today.
Torres del Paine deserve all the accolades it receives. It is rugged enough to satisfy the most adventurous of people, yet beautiful and serene enough for those who just want to relax and take in the general splendour of the land… and where better to stay, and experience everything Torres Del Paine has to offer, than at the Rio Serrano hotel.
We at Llama Travel have expert knowledge of the area and have worked hard with our local suppliers and hotels to bring you the Torres del Paine alpine experience you are looking for. If you have been inspired, take a look at our Natural Wonders of Chile and our Best of Argentina and Chile holidays. Both of which include time in the Torres del Paine national park as well as visits to various other Patagonia beauty spots, such as the Puerto Natales and the Perito Moreno glacier. You can find out more information on all our amazing Latin American holidays by visiting our website at www.llamatravel.com, ordering our brochure or giving us a call on 020 7263 3000.