Chile is a land of extremes: extreme diversity, extreme beauty, and extremely beautiful design. It’s also a country whose dramatic terrain seems ideally suited as a counterpoint to the clean lines of modernist architecture. From the mountains to the islands to the deserts—and Chile has some of the best of all three—new resorts are opening and old ones are bettering themselves.
In the foothills of the Villarrica Volcano on the shores of Lake Villarrica, the 61-year-old Hotel Antumalal is a modernist masterpiece to rival Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. The one-story hotel and spa, which was added to the property last year, has sunken lounges with beechwood- paneled walls, six-foot-tall fireplaces, and massive cantilevered windows that frame Lake Villarrica and the property’s extensive private gardens. But Pucón locals know the hotel for its Restaurant Parque Antumalal. The menu appeals to meat lovers and vegans alike; grass-fed beef and organic vegetables are all raised on or near the property.
Far away, on Easter Island, better known for its monoliths, the Hangaroa Eco Village & Spa opened in March. The all-inclusive resort, formed of interconnected black pod-shaped suites, lounges, and restaurants designed after the ancient Village of Orongo on Easter Island’s Rano Kau volcano, is a perfect launch pad to discover the island. The 75 rooms and suites deserve architectural accolades for their curved walls made of volcanic rock and supported by beautiful cyprus trunks. Each room has a deep black clay tub and generous ocean view terrace. The spa has sand-floor yoga studios and hot and cold plunge pools; the restaurants and bars serve tuna ceviche caught off the coast and a pisco sour that demands applause.
The desert expanse of San Pedro di Atacama wasn’t really up to snuff until 2008, when Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa cropped up in a nearby desert ravine. Since then, the 32-room hotel set the pace for adventure travel in the region by opening a stellar restaurant and a destination spa with an adjoining outdoor lounge area with six square pools and private chill out spots. This June, the hotel will add 10 suites to the property, each with its own private open-air solariums and bigger terraces that take advantage of the silent and spectral desert landscape.