Aldebaran Hotel and Spa

near Bariloche, The Lake District, Argentina Book from US$230

Intimate lakeside hotel with a spa and superb restaurant, perched on the rocks 23km from Bariloche
At last: a hotel that’s not chalet-style! After a picturesque drive from Swiss-themed Bariloche, skirting the fringes of Nahuel Huapi, you descend the vertiginous shore of the wild Península de San Pedro to find a sleek, modern, Spanish-influenced building with pale grey stone and wide archways, perched right on the rocks.

Traditional wood and stone are transformed here into a strikingly modern reworking of the classic mountain lodge. Alongside wide fireplaces, exposed beams and stone-clad nooks, you get vast white sofas to sink into, and specially commissioned paintings; the magnificent view of mountains across the water is ever-present through huge windows. It's a romantic backdrop to 10 beautifully designed bedrooms, minimalist yet warm and cosy, with gorgeous bathrooms and private decks where water licks the rocks just below you. The food is excellent; the luxurious setting matched by incredibly attentive service. Book a superb massage, then swim out from the spa to gaze up at a thousand stars. This is the way to do Bariloche.

Highs

  • Probably the best setting of any hotel in the Bariloche area: the peninsula is still wild, and rooms have superb views of the lake and mountains
  • Close to Cerros Catedral and Otto for hiking, climbing and skiing
  • Wonderful bilingual staff: nothing is too much trouble
  • Use of the spa is included
  • Delicious food in the superb restaurant, with its well-chosen wine list: there's no need to go into Bariloche for dinner
  • The spa, ingeniously built into the rock, offers excellent massages plus a lovely pool where you can swim from inside to outside

Lows

  • Aldebarán is not in the centre of Bariloche, so you either need to hire a car or take a taxi into town. However, taxis aren’t expensive and, after your first day or so, there’s far more to explore in the mountains close to the hotel than in the town
  • It’s not cheap. There are many more economical places to stay, but few which offer this standard of food and service
  • The cancellation policy is quite strict - you can only transfer any deposits to future stays

Best time to go

Summer (December to March) is Bariloche’s busy period, but Aldebarán, though it’s undeniably popular and fills up quickly, is one of the few places in the area where you won’t feel surrounded. Late summer is particularly good, and autumn (April) is stunning, with the forests putting on their best yellow and scarlet. May is rainy. The ski season runs from June to September and is incredibly busy here, since the hotel is so well situated for Cerro Catedral; book well ahead.

The hotel is normally closed for around 10 days from the start of June.

Our top tips

Spend a day or so in Bariloche at the start of your stay to find out about the various activities on offer in the area. If you want to make the most of your time here, try to organise something before you arrive by contacting one of the reputable tour operators like Huala or Extremo Sur.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 10
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room: Cerro Lopez room

Rooms

While Aldebarán’s public rooms are beautiful and welcoming, the hotel’s real charm lies in its 10 bedrooms. They're spacious and minimalist, without being remotely cool or alienating, and great care has gone into making them deliciously comfortable places to rest and relax.

Finding your room at the end of the darkened stairwell is like being shown into a kind of luxurious sanctuary. Clean lines, good lighting and calming, ochre-washed walls create a sophisticated backdrop that invites relaxation. Sumptuous beds have the crispest white sheets and wine-red duvets. You’ll find a large chaise longue or a comfortable chair with a footrest, and some fine antique furniture. Warmth emanates from polished reddish wood floors, and textures throughout are soft and inviting.

Morning greets you with light flooding in through large picture windows, framing a magnificent view of the lake and mountains. Slide the doors open to your own private deck, where you can sit in privacy and watch the sun go down, or have breakfast in peace.

Bathrooms are equally pleasing: cream stone sits well against polished blonde concrete, creating a big tranquil space for you to pamper yourself with the creamy soaps, high-quality toiletries and luscious towels.

There are 4 standard rooms labelled Bosque de Coihues, 4 deluxe rooms called Cerro López, and 2 suites. All have CD players, phones, bathrobes, safe boxes, hairdryers and WiFi; the main difference between them is size. The suites are truly immense and have their own indoor sitting areas with TVs. Standard rooms are cosy, and the deluxe rooms strike just the right balance.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

One of the great pleasures of staying near Bariloche is the fine local food. As well as the ubiquitous Argentine beef, there’s Patagonian lamb, wild boar, smoked trout, wonderfully aromatic mushrooms, and superb soft fruits of all kinds. The region’s restaurants are now waking up to the creative potential this affords, and Aldebarán’s Sirius restaurant is no exception, forging a new style of sophisticated, elegant cuisine.

The charming dining room is a long, narrow space clad in local stone, with deep red seats and romantic lighting to inspire intimacy. A wide window offers breathtaking lake views during breakfast; for lunch and dinner there's a more theatrical ambiance - the perfect end to a day of mountain adventure or lakeside sunbathing.

The dishes on offer are delicious. Start with trout carpaccio, or an excellent salad of local smoked meats and goat's cheese on a bed of leaves. Brace yourself for the mains, though: the beef cooked in Malbec is superbly succulent, and the Patagonian lamb absolutely delicious. Vegetarians are in for a treat, too: my mushroom pasta was intensely creamy and stood up well to an excellent glass of Patagonian cabernet sauvignon. There’s a short but well-chosen wine list, plus a tempting range of puddings.

Breakfasts are luxurious buffets, including everything you might imagine: freshly squeezed juices, plates of beautifully arranged fruit, cereals, yoghurts, and various kinds of freshly baked breads (made in the traditional clay oven). There are also homemade cakes and tarts, delicious jams made from locally grown fruits, and cheeses and cold meats. Take time to linger over the view of the lake, or order room service and enjoy the same view from the comfort of your bed or private deck.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity: Lake Nahuel Huapi

Activities

  • Have a superb massage in the spa; reiki, aromatherapy and facial treatments are also available. Then simply relax and enjoy the wonderful views

  • Walk around the virgin Valdivian rainforest at Llao Llao, just 3km from the hotel. It has stunning views and wonderful wildlife

  • Take the boat across lovely Lago Nahuel Huapi to the fairytale Bosque de Arrayanes, a rare woodland of arrayanes trees, with their spiralling cinnamon-coloured flaking bark creating a magical light. Then walk back to the quaint tourist town of Villa La Angostura and return to the hotel by road

  • Or take the all-day boat trip to Puerto Blest. Leaving Puerto Pañuelo (close to the hotel) early in the morning, it takes you west to the end of the indigo-blue, fjord-like lake. From there, another boat crosses the peppermint-green Lago Frías. This is the first part of the Three Lakes Crossing to Chile, but you can go for an unforgettable day trip and return to sleep in the hotel. Book ahead as it’s very popular

  • Take the cable car up to the top of Cerro Otto (1,405m) and have tea in the revolving restaurant at the top

  • Ski at Cerro Catedral (July to September), or use it as a base for fabulous hiking in all directions. There are lots of refugios, making it possible for you to stay the night in the wilds and continue hiking the next day

  • A particularly spectacular hike takes you up to Refugio López, starting from the southeastern tip of Lago Moreno. Get advice and maps, or hire a mountain guide (recommended) from Club Andino Bariloche

  • Go white-water rafting along Río Manso, south of Bariloche, with a reputable company such as Extremo Sur. The Manso Clásico is grade 2 or 3, but the Manso a la Frontera is really recommended: raft all the way to the Chilean border through lush forest and some fast rapids (not for the faint-hearted)

  • Reception can also arrange cycling, diving, kayaking, fishing and golf - just ask

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Rafting
  • Scuba diving
  • Skiing
  • Swimming
  • Trekking
  • Well being
  • Wildlife

Kids

Children are welcomed at Aldebarán, though it’s a grown-up kind of place and younger kids might not feel there’s quite enough room to run around. There are lots of steps down to the rooms, and the rocky lakeside setting might give some parents cause for concern. However, staff go out of their way to make families feel welcome: there’s a small area for kids to play in near the bar, with DVDs, games and a games console, and the pool - small as it is - will be immensely appealing.

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms have a sofabed or can accommodate a rollaway bed, and baby cots are available. The suites have a living room which can be made up as a twin bedroom on request.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
8/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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Rates for Aldebaran Hotel and Spa