“Intimate lakeside hotel with a spa and superb restaurant, perched on the rocks 23km from Bariloche”
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.
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.
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.
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 is available by arrangement.