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Tierra Patagonia, Chile - really nice but not a fit

Tierra Patagonia, Chile - really nice but not a fit

Old May 12, 16, 8:25 pm
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Tierra Patagonia, Chile - really nice but not a fit

TIERRA PATAGONIA HOTEL AND SPA

Map| 1 Review | 100% Recommended

TIERRA PATAGONIA HOTEL AND SPA

9 Interseccion Ruta Y156 Sector Lago Sarmiento Cerro G Puerto Natales, CL 00000

Tierra Patagonia - really nice but not a fit (36 Photos)

TIERRA PATAGONIA HOTEL AND SPA

Introduction

Stayed at Tierra Patagonia for four nights in April as part of 3.5 week trip to Argentina and Chile.

Rates are all fully inclusive of all meals, drinks (excluding premium wines), daily group excursions and round trip transfers to Punta Arenas, Porto Natales or El Calafate. 

Location

Tierra Patagonia is located outside the Torres del Paine National Park.  It is approximately a 15-minute ride from the hotel to the entrance to the park, where most of the excursions take place.  This is in contrast to the Explora located inside the park and the Awasi located about 30 minutes from the entrance.

The hotel is located on a bluff overlooking Lake Sarmiento with stunning views out to Torres del Paine. The architecture of the building is very unique and innovative having been designed by Cazú Zegers, one of Chile's foremost architects. The curving building truly blends into the landscape and it all but disappears when viewed from any distance. Curving building blending into landscapeFront Entrance with Torres del Paine in backLodge and Lake SarmientoSunrise in the backyard

View from the backyardCrazy CloudsLodge

Check In

My husband and I and our friends arrived in Punta Arenas via the Stella Australis cruise, and the hotel arranged for us to be picked up at the Port arrivals building.  The four of us shared the van with a new hotel employee who was already on board.  We were each given a small snack bag including a bottle of water, apple, cookie and a muffin.  Our driver spoke very little English, but that was okay since we were all exhausted.  The drive from Punta Arenas to the hotel is about 4 to 4.5 hours.  We stopped midway at a small rustic restaurant for a hearty lunch, included in our rate.Tierra VanLunch stop

We did a virtuoso booking with DavidO’s agency and received an upgrade at check-in to a two level suite.  For our virtuoso amenity we received vouchers for two hour-long treatments at the spa.  Check-in was prompt and professional and we were escorted to our room in no time at all – weary from the long ride.

Room

The rooms are design oriented and seemed to have an emphasis on form over function. We stayed in a suite, which has two levels – a sitting area on the upper floor and the bedroom/bath down a flight of stairs. The suites have a gorgeous 2-story window overlooking the view.   One afternoon a whole herd of guanaco came right up to the window and looked in at us – it was really cool. 

The sitting room had two daybed style couches and a coffee table, which we actually never used.  Most of our lounging was done in the hotel’s common area, which is the only area with WI-FI.   We were given two large bottles of sparkling water and a bottle of wine in our room.

The bedroom seemed quite small with only a king sized bed, two small night tables and a bench.  There is not a lot of space to place luggage as the stairway takes up a lot room.   The bed was very comfortable and the bedding of high quality.  The room was very quiet and it was easy to get a good sleep here.

The bathroom had a large standalone tub, shower room, toilet room and a double vanity.   We found it to be very dimly lit and would have appreciated much brighter lights at the vanity.  The shower was nice with great water pressure.

The walk in closet was quite small with a few drawers and a safe.  There is no bureau in the room so these drawers are the only place to put your things if you want to unpack. 

The room was very clean and well maintained.

I don’t think it would be worth the money to book a suite because the extra space it grants you is not really that useful.  However the large windows were spectacular.

BedStaircaseWalk in ClosetBathroom vanity & tubWindow in room - shades halfway down

Common Areas:

The design of the building with its curving lenga wood ceiling seeks to maximize the gorgeous views to Torres del Paine.  The visually striking main lounge area features a central fireplace surrounded by very modern chairs and a row of armchairs facing the windows to take in the views. Most of the guests are hanging out in this area, since this is the only area in the hotel that has Wi-Fi service.   Unfortunately it can be a bit difficult to gather and converse with more than one other person at a time due to the linear layout of the seating options. It would be far more comfortable and functional if these areas were arranged in smaller groupings.

The seating area is separated from the dining area by an attractive oval shaped bar.  There is also a games area with a large and beautiful hand painted map of the park on the wall, the guides corner where you can meet with the guiding team to consult on your next days activities, a small library with travel books in a loft like area, and a small area under the library with swinging bird cage seats to be quiet and contemplate the view. Finally just outside of the dining area, there is a covered outdoor lounge area with sheepskin armchairs for watching the view.

Hand painted map of Park - games areaGames areaBirdcage LoungeOutdoor lounge with a viewSeating area and central fireplaceSeating area - alternate viewOval shaped barBar looking into dining area - note curved ceilingLibrary Loft

Dining

All meals are served in the dining room area at the hotel, unless you are on an all day excursion in which case lunch is provided off property.

Breakfast is a continental style buffet with two hot choices except for one day when there were no hot choices at all.  Wide selection of the usual offerings, but I missed have eggs prepared to order.

Lunch and dinner are both sit down meals with a set menu of starter, main and desert with two choices for each course (one meat, one fish). The menu changes daily.  I found the menu a bit challenging, as the choices were often game meat or lamb, which I don’t eat. They never offered chicken or pork while I was there and beef was only offered once.   I had to request the server to ask the chef if they would prepare something off menu for me a couple of times.  They agreed but it was a bit awkward. I would recommend being as specific in your food preference form as possible.  I normally don’t think of myself as a picky eater, but when there are only two choices and they are less mainstream it can present problems.

The food was all very well prepared, not amazing but given the remote location quite good. In general, I found Chilean cuisine to be more sweet (think sweet potatoes and corn) than savory, which I prefer.

The service in the dining room was very friendly and efficient. . Drinks and wine (other than premium) are included in the price and the bartending service was very attentive.

Dining AreaDining area - alternate viewDaily menu

Guiding & Excursions

The guiding at Tierra is done on a small group basis.  Upon arrival you meet with the guide manager who provides you with a list of available excursions. During our visit, this list was only a subset of the excursions that are listed on the Tierra website.  In particular it seemed that most of the easier to moderate hikes had been eliminated.  The easy alternatives that remained were car-based journeys for scenery viewing by car – no hiking.   

I found this to be particularly disappointing, as I was looking forward to doing some of these more moderate hikes.  Since I was not able to do the difficult or intermediate hikes,  my only alternative was to do the car journeys.   This made for a much less satisfying experience for me.  By contrast my husband who did the difficult hikes had a great time.  This really highlighted to me the importance of having a private guide that can tailor excursions to your particular needs and interests.  The resort later (after reading my review on trip advisor) let me know that you can arrange private guiding for an additional fee, but this was never offered during my stay but to be fair I never asked.

I believe that the reason the hotel may have reduced the number of options is that this was the end of their season and they had started to reduce the number of guides.  They were probably only at half occupancy during our stay and may modify their offering accordingly.  They do not modify their prices though, so it is the guest that is impacted.

The quality of the guides varied significantly as well.  We had some that were excellent, some average and one in particular was completely disinterested.  I truly feel that the guides have less incentive to build a relationship with the clients when they are only spending a half or full day with them.

Excursion highlights for me included horseback riding and the waterfall hike, for my husband the full day hikes on Mount Ferrier and D’Agostini.  Generally the beauty of the landscape, the views of the Torres del Paine and the wildlife (condors, flamingos and guanacos) are all so beautiful here that it is truly just delightful to be outside and take it all in.

GuanacoCondors in flights

 

Horseback riding with a viewWaterfall hikeremnants from the big fire of 2010The Torres!Moody view

Service

Service at this hotel is generally warm and friendly from the young and motivated team.  Sometimes in the dining room service could get a bit slow, but I think this is a function of the number of employees that were working.  Housekeeping was very efficient and unobtrusive throughout our stay.

Spa

The UMA Indoor pool with viewsLoungers by indoor poolHottub - not that hotspa is small but well maintained, with a few treatment rooms and a men's and women's dressing & spa area. The women's area has a sauna and steam room and showers/toilets and changing area (sorry not sure about the men’s area – assume it is the same?). There is also an indoor pool with lounge chairs and an outdoor hot tub with great views! I had a massage at the spa using my virtuoso voucher and it was very nice.

Overall

In summary, I think the property is beautiful and stylish. It seems to attract a somewhat younger more active and social crowd than I experienced at Awasi Atacama.  If you are a very active person, who loves style driven properties in a natural setting and does not mind group activities this property is perfect for you. However, if you are somewhat less active and prefer a more private tailored guiding experience - this may not be the best fit.  For me the premium (approx. $400) to stay in a smaller resort and get the private guiding would absolutely be worth the price.

Tierra Patagonia - really nice but not a fit

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SanDiego1K likes this.
chelsea2 is offline  
Old May 12, 16, 8:58 pm
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Great review and photos of a distant locale. Patagonia is indeed beautiful. Thanks for posting.
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Old May 12, 16, 9:18 pm
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Wonderful report. Great photos.
Thanks...
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Old May 12, 16, 11:26 pm
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Stunning pictures. You use them well to tell your story. We have been to Torres del Paine, and your pictures are even better than my memories.
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Old May 13, 16, 3:56 pm
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Also very very nice
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Old May 17, 16, 1:24 pm
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Wow, what an in depth review, thanks for your contributions. Read your Awasi Atacama review also and couldn't agree more that they set the standard. I'm curious as to why you stayed at Tierra Patagonia rather than Awasi Patagonia at Torres del Paine? Perhaps it was full?
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Old May 29, 16, 5:05 pm
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Since the OP could not find pork on the menu, I thought I'd point to the Boar entry on the included menu picture. Boar is a wild pig.
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Old May 16, 18, 7:43 am
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Heading there this fall to review the property and so grateful to have your review here to manage expectations!

Just had a client (family of 3) return from Awasi Patagonia and Iguazu and it was just a mixed bag. LOVED Patagonia but HATED Iguazu. The guides were inconsistent and makes or breaks the trip.
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Old May 16, 18, 3:34 pm
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Very interesting to read. We stayed at Awasi Patagonia a few weeks ago and loved it - the private guide and bespoke itinerary is why we chose it. We also stayed at Awasi Atacama. We did the special offer to stay at both properties with a discount and free nights in Santiago. I'm interested to know why you didn't opt for the two Awasi properties and take advantage of this offer.

My reviews of both to come.
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Old May 17, 18, 12:51 am
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A very nice report, Chelsea2. May I ask what you thought about your Stella Australis cruise?
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Old May 17, 18, 3:10 pm
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Originally Posted by SilverSpoon View Post
Very interesting to read. We stayed at Awasi Patagonia a few weeks ago and loved it - the private guide and bespoke itinerary is why we chose it. We also stayed at Awasi Atacama. We did the special offer to stay at both properties with a discount and free nights in Santiago. I'm interested to know why you didn't opt for the two Awasi properties and take advantage of this offer.

My reviews of both to come.
They booked the same promotion, 2 properties (Patagonia and Iguazu) and free nights in Santiago. They were there just before you guys, then. They too loved the Patagonia property for its private guide and how personalized it was, loved it. While I can't speak for my client's full thought process, I think he just wanted to try out Iguazu as it's always fun to try out new properties, and I think we all (here on FT) love when one of our own can share some first hand feedback on a new property as well

Problems began to show during pre-sales/pre-arrival...The management team just isn't as polished as say, Amans, Four Seasons, Ritz C, etc...It took many follow ups at times to chase down a response to any questions and it felt as if we were an inconvenience to them. There was a communication incident that took place pre-arrival and instead of apologizing, the management decided to point fingers. Which the likes of Aman, FS would just never do (even when they aren't at fault, they would have a much more refined approach). Iguazu was where everything fell apart when the guide took my clients on excursions that didn't personalized at all and no private transportation. They took the public bus at one point on the excursion, if I recall correctly. Which isn't a big deal if you didn't pay a premium for private tours with private transfers. The guide ultimately ended up in tears, stating that she didn't want to do the itinerary that management had forced her to lead and she ended up leaving Awasi Iguazu later on.

To be objective, I wasn't there and can only attest to the pre-arrival issues I was dealing with...However, my clients loved the Patagonia property and have been looking forward to this for nearly a year, so I just can't imagine why they would go out of their way to make themselves miserable.
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Old May 17, 18, 6:00 pm
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FYI, our experience with Awasi Iguazu has been the exact opposite. E-mail communication has been prompt, courteous and comprehensive. We're not visiting until later this year, but the experience so far with their reservations and activities teams has been nothing less than delightful.

P.S. - no way I'd pick Explora or Tierra over Awasi. Can you imagine an Aman that required all outings to be non-private?
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Old May 17, 18, 6:12 pm
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great reports!

KI-NRT please let us know what they say re transportation..

Originally Posted by BESVISOR View Post
no private transportation. They took the public bus at one point on the excursion, if I recall correctly. Which isn't a big deal if you didn't pay a premium for private tours with private transfers. The guide ultimately ended up in tears, stating that she didn't want to do the itinerary that management had forced her to lead and she ended up leaving Awasi Iguazu later on.
whereas first two awasi literally have a jeep per room IIRC
(extremely few safaris / safari style include that standard)

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; May 17, 18 at 8:28 pm
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Old May 17, 18, 8:45 pm
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Originally Posted by KI-NRT View Post
FYI, our experience with Awasi Iguazu has been the exact opposite. E-mail communication has been prompt, courteous and comprehensive. We're not visiting until later this year, but the experience so far with their reservations and activities teams has been nothing less than delightful.

P.S. - no way I'd pick Explora or Tierra over Awasi. Can you imagine an Aman that required all outings to be non-private?
Glad to hear you guys had a great experience!!!

Tierra doesn't offer private excursions as a standard feature but you can definitely pay more for private tours as well, probably end up being nearly the same cost as Awasi. Not saying it's apples to apples, but they do offer private excursions as well. At this point, I'm sure many will just end up going with Awasi anyway.
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Old May 17, 18, 11:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post

KI-NRT please let us know what they say re transportation..

whereas first two awasi literally have a jeep per room IIRC
(extremely few safaris / safari style include that standard)
Originally Posted by BESVISOR View Post
Glad to hear you guys had a great experience!!!

Tierra doesn't offer private excursions as a standard feature but you can definitely pay more for private tours as well, probably end up being nearly the same cost as Awasi. Not saying it's apples to apples, but they do offer private excursions as well. At this point, I'm sure many will just end up going with Awasi anyway.
After receiving a PM from the FTer that suffered the epic fail in question (along with the gory details), I am no longer considering a stay at Awasi Iguazu. I guess it's back to going with the property that has long been the default choice in the area.... Belmond? Or is there any place else worth considering?
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