Hotel Spotlight

Adventure Meets Serenity at the Edge of the World at Tierra Chiloé

by Pavia Rosati
Tierra Relax a little. All photos courtesy of Tierra Chiloé.

Tierra Chiloé
Chiloé Island, Chile
$$$$, Modern 

Chile, not that anyone is arguing otherwise, is a magical place. The narrow country packs quite the geographical punch, starting with the Atacama Desert in the north, down past wine country, lakes, volcanoes, and mountain ski resorts, ending with glaciers and fjords at the end of the world in Patagonia, the gateway to Antarctica.

Skirting the coastline in the center of the country are the 30+ islands of the Chiloé archipelago, a nature's wonderland rich with legend and myth. The main island, also called Chiloé, is home to Tierra Chiloé, the architectural stunner on a hillside by the sea. The latest addition to the Tierra Hotels portfolio (Atacama and Patagonia are the others), it recently underwent a major renovation that doubled its size to two dozen rooms.

Horses graze in the meadows below. The infinity pool just blends into the Pacific. The public spaces and decor encourage conviviality and relaxation. Welcome to an award-winning, intimate adventure retreat in a setting at once striking and serene.

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At a Glance

The Vibe: Nature in all its glory, set on ten hectares of country and beach on a hilltop by the Pacific. This is one of National Georgraphic's Unique Lodges of the World.

Standout Detail: If we can set aside the gorgeous natural setting, along with the clever ways the hotel evokes and encompasses it, what's especially notable here is Tierra's strong commitment to sustainability, non-invasive practices, and social responsibility from the ground up. Literally: As innovative as the architecture looks, the building's exterior wooden shingles and siding we made using traditional, sustainable technique that required local carpenters and supplies. And it almost goes without say that the restaurant serves as much local food as possible. What doesn't go without say is that all Tierra Hotels are 100 percent plastic-free on anything client-facing. The natural and organic bathroom amenities by Austral Organics are dispensed in large, refillable bottles.

This Place Is Perfect For: Affluent travelers who want to go to the ends of the earth for outdoor and cultural adventures, to rejuvenate, and to disconnect from the outside world while reconnecting with Mother Nature.

Uma Spa
Uma Spa
The view from the outdoor pool.

Rooms: All 24 rooms and suites have a sea views and reading areas. Wood is the predominant element. The bathroom amenities are by L'Occitaine.

On Site: The public spaces include a living room with a circular fireplace, a reading room, bar, and several terraces with different views. Uma Spa has two heated pools (one an outdoor infinity pool), sauna and steam rooms, and a full menu of massages and body wraps. Mercado is the marketplace that stocks local produce and products.

Food + Drink: The hotel's restaurant serves local seafood and produce and a variety of breads and pastries. Get used to eating vegetables and fish you've never heard of or seen before: This is the culinary bounty that is Chile. Those cold waters flowing up from Antarctica make for fertile breeding ground.

Tierra Chiloé and the house boat, Williche.

What to Do Nearby

Let's just say you won't be bored. The hotel offers many full- and half-day excursions, including hikes to various island destinations: wetlands filled with migratory birds, dynamic beaches, virgin and sunken forests. Bike rides can be self-guided or combined with a sail on Williche, the hotel's boat, to explore the coastline and the nearby islands. Prefer to be carried along? Jump on horseback to the beaches and nearby Jose village. Prefer a little more adrenaline? Hop into a kayak and hit the water.

The native peoples of Chiloé saw their first colonizers when the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. Attempts to call the island New Galicia flopped, in favor of the name Chiloé, which means "place of seagulls" in the Huilliche language. In all, humans have lived on the archipelago for more than 7,000 years, making it an area as rich in culture and mythology as it is in natural resources. Meeting with locals can be arranged through the hotel, as can visits to capital city Castro, founded in 1567, which has a great crafts market. Sixteen churches around the island, unique for their wooden shingle architecture, are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Other unmissable local attractions are Mechuque island, for its traditional stilt houses on the water, and Bosque Piedra, for its pristeen evergreen forest. Here's one four-day itinerary.

If you're coming to Chile for a larger trip, the hotel can arrange trips to its sister properties, Tierra Atacama and Tierra Patagonia, as well as ski trips to Portillo Ski Resort at certain times of the year.

Keep Exploring Chile

It's Survival of the Luxurious in Patagonia
The Hotelier's Guide to Art and Eating in Valparaíso, Chile
A World of Blue: Trekking Through Patagonia

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