Estancia Peuma Hue

near Bariloche, The Lake District, Argentina Book from US$450

A luxurious lakeside country house, steeped in unspoilt nature in the heart of Argentina’s Lake District
It's hard to improve on the splendours of Argentina's lake district, but in creating Peuma Hue, Evelyn Hoter has done just that. First, she chose the spectacular setting, isolated on the shore of the indigo Lake Gutiérrez, with jagged mountains soaring up behind the lodge, thickly forested with virgin beech woods and filled with wildlife. All the major trails of the area lie nearby, but you’ll have Peuma Hue's own 500 acres to yourself: walk up to crystalline waterfalls, take a kayak onto the calm waters of the lake or ride with the resident horse whisperer to secret places no car could reach. It's paradise.

But Evelyn's vision extends further: guests feel so perfectly at home here, in the beautifully comfortable lodge or cabins, with huge windows, roaring fires and lovely quiet spots to sit and contemplate, that they don’t want to leave. Many find themselves transformed by the blissful contact with nature (even the baths have views of the stars) and Evelyn and her staff have special qualities: deeply connected with this place and warmly welcoming. Peuma Hue means ‘place of dreams’ in the native Mapuche language and, whatever brought you here, you know you were meant to come. It’s an utterly magical place.

Highs

  • The location is unparalleled anywhere in the Lake District: it’s steeped in nature, but close enough to the tourist centre of Bariloche for visits
  • Evelyn and her staff offer boundless care for guests, creating a wonderful atmosphere for adventurous families and couples alike
  • The food and wine is superb, and there are excellent activities on offer, including riding, kayaking and hiking
  • The suites are luxurious in a rustic way, very spacious and calming
  • The Mountain Cabin is perfect for blissful isolation or romantic retreats
  • The resident masseur, Ronnie, gave me the best massage I’ve ever had

Lows

  • If you’re after noise and nightlife, this is not the place. But the atmosphere is warm and lively (depending on the other guests), and wine and conversation flow freely in the evenings. And you can be in Bariloche in 35 minutes, if you’re missing the crowds
  • This isn’t a hotel in the conventional sense, so you won’t be anonymous. But you can sit around and do nothing, or eat on your own, if that’s what you feel like

Best time to go

Summer (December to March) is Bariloche’s busy period and brings gorgeous weather. Although Peuma Hue fills up during these months, it’s one of the few places in the area where you won’t feel swamped (though make sure you book well ahead). December and March are generally a little quieter than January and February. Autumn (April) is stunning here, with the lenga trees covering the mountains in yellow and scarlet. May brings rain. The ski season runs from June to September and gets incredibly busy, so book well in advance.

Our top tips

Feel totally pampered with a massage from resident masseur Ronnie Pruden. His top-notch, deeply healing treatments are not to be missed!

Great for...

Eco
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Luxury Lodge
  • 11
  • Meals included or by arrangement
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room: The Poplar House - Master Suite

Rooms

Most rooms are in 4 well-designed houses, all are homely and immensely comfortable. You’re surrounded by wood, since huge tree trunks make up the walls and beams, and massive windows ensure your connection with nature is unbroken. Colours and textiles are natural and harmonious, with lots of slate and local weavings, and there are nice little touches - hand-made tiles and curtain rails or rustic wooden furniture - in some rooms. All have superb beds, excellent baths and showers, sumptuous towels, hairdryers, bathrobes and great toiletries. Thoughtful details abound; everything has been thoroughly considered to make you feel entirely at home.

The Poplar House is the most welcoming and has great views, with 2 spacious Superior Rooms, plus a Junior Suite and the Master Suite. These 2 huge suites are the most luxurious: there are bathrooms with glass roofs, and a double Jacuzzi in the Master Suite. The open-plan living and dining room downstairs has open fires and huge windows, with lovely nooks where you can sit and gaze at the view.

The Radal House, 250 yards away across a hanging bridge, is slightly simpler in design. Furnishings are all hand-chosen to complement nature and the white walls in its 4 rooms (3 Superior Rooms and a Junior Suite) feel lighter than in the main house. The upper rooms are particularly airy and spacious. There’s another dining room here, and a living room where you can sit around a log fire.

The Creek Cabin makes an ideal hideaway for a couple or a compact family. It has a double bedroom, 2 beds in the living room and a bathroom with a shower but no bath. It also has a huge fireplace and great views; simply delightful.

The most recent addition to the collection is the Coihue Villa, which sits in front of the organic orchard, beside a small creek. We haven’t seen this new instruction, but it sits 65 yards from the main house, with 2 ensuite bedrooms, a cosy living room with fireplace and wood-burner, a well-equipped kitchen and lake views.

Most magical of all, though, is the Mountain Cabin, perched a mile away up the mountainside in a forest, and with stunning views from its open deck. Billed as the ultimate honeymoon retreat, it would also suit a family or a group of friends, as it has 2 double bedrooms and 3 extra beds in the loft bedroom. Staff will run you up there in the pick-up, but you can stroll back across for meals if you like.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

There’s nothing rushed about Peuma Hue and breakfast (8.30-10am) is a delightfully relaxed affair. Take your time over the fresh juices (we had raspberry juice!), fruit salads, freshly baked pastries, homemade jams and honey, yoghurt, and eggs too if you'd like.

Lunch might be a picnic if you’re out on a ride, and extravagant lunchboxes are made up in advance if you’re planning to hike. Full lunches are on offer too at the main house - we ate little tarts of caramelised onion with roquefort and timbales of quinoa, then tucked into delicate pastry parcels stuffed with spinach and ricotta. There’s often a traditional Patagonian asado (barbecue) on Sundays.

Dinner has a special feel, starting with a drink and nibbles (the typical Argentine picadas) around the fire. We drank champagne cocktails with raspberry juice and loved the canapés: a generous selection of ceviche of salmon, smoked trout, little stuffed cherry tomatoes, crispbreads laden with aubergine, tiny glasses filled with shrimp, and hot pastry parcels of corn. This is a chance to chat to hosts Evelyn and Marcelo, and your fellow guests too, if you want to. But it’s also fine if you want to sprawl out on the sofa with a glass of malbec and a book.

Guests usually sit together at the long table for meals, though you can request to eat separately. Chef Manuela Luna produces splendidly imaginative food which changes with the seasons, and most of the fruit and vegetables are grown in Peuma Hue’s organic vegetable garden. Care is taken to make imaginative meals for vegetarians, though meat eaters will be thrilled by the local lamb and beef. Dinners feature 3 courses: soup or salad to start, then maybe salmon with a tian of vegetables or delicately cooked trout on a bed of beetroot mash with home-grown courgettes. Puddings are exquisite, often making good use of local chocolate, though you can ask for fresh fruit if you’d rather. Tables are delightfully laid with Evelyn’s family silver and china, adding a touch of Argentina’s elegant past, and the carefully chosen house wines are all superb.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Communal dining
  • Cooking classes
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Fabulous private trails within Puema Hue’s 500 acres lead through virgin forest to impressive waterfalls and stunning views. Evelyn or Marcelo will guide you if you like - both are experts on local flora and fauna - or give you a map

  • The area’s most famous hiking trails and refugios (mountain huts) can be reached directly from the lodge thanks to its unique position in the Nahuel Huapi National Park. You can enjoy some truly rugged multi-day hikes before returning to a warm bath and superb food!

  • Horse riding is special here, with excellent horses under the loving care of Cris the resident horse whisperer. Superb rides take you into little-reached parts of the park, towards Pampa Linda and Mount Tronador

  • Bird watching in the forests around the house is a delight - you don’t need to be an expert to spot a vast array of species

  • Kayak from the front door out into the lake, with a guide if you prefer. Or you can hike down from the mountain and have a boat meet you halfway along the lakeside

  • Adrenaline-junkies will enjoy mountain ropes, Tyrolean crossing and rappelling. Peuma Hue is also a member of a local group of high-quality activity providers and can arrange rafting, ice climbing and many more adventures further afield

  • If you want a more gentle pursuit, yoga, Tai Chi, cooking classes and tango lessons are available on request (sign up for activities the evening before)

  • The fly fishing here is renowned

  • Play golf at either the Arelauquen Resort (20 minutes away) or the Llao Llao Resort (50 minutes away)

  • Go skiing in winter (June to September) at Bariloche’s world-class resort at Cerro Catedral

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Boat trips
    • Cooking classes
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Horse-riding
    • Kayaking
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Rafting
    • Skiing
    • Trekking
    • Wildlife
    • Yoga
  • Kids

    Children will find Peuma Hue enchanting. There are so many places where they can run wild, the horse riding is totally safe and well supervised, and there are child-friendly ‘duckies’ (inflatable kayaks ) for splashing around on the lake. Food can be tailored to kids' tastes and, if you book a room in the main house, children can sleep safely while you're at dinner, knowing you’re just downstairs.

    We should warn you that the hotel has been such a hit with its younger visitors that they have cried on leaving and forced their parents to return the following year.

    Children are charged at a percentage of the adult rate: see Rates.

    Best for:

    Teens (over 12)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    For small families you can add up to 2 extra beds to the Poplar House Junior Suite, so it sleeps up to 2 adults and 2 children. If you prefer the privacy of a cabin we'd recommend booking the Creek Cabin and adding 1-2 single beds to the living room. The Coihue Villa has 2 bedrooms and space for an extra bed in the living room, it can sleep a maximum of 5 people. The Mountain Villa is great for larger families, with accommodations for up to seven people in two double rooms and a loft with three extra beds.

    All but the Creek Cabin bathrooms have a bathtub, and they can provide a baby tub if needed.

    Babysitting:

    English-speaking babysitting can be arranged in advance. See Rates.

    Baby equipment:

    • 2 cots
    • High chair
    • Baby backpack
    • Baby bathtub
    • Bottle warming

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    Food is available all day; there are early mealtimes for children, special menus and tailored menus can be prepared on request. A blender and a microwave are available for guest use in both the Mountain and Coihue Villas.

    Kids Activities on site:

    • Horse riding
    • Kayaking
    • Cycling
    • Outdoor playground and Wendy house
    • Some toys and books
    • Farm animals nearby
    • Golden retrievers to befriend

    Kids Activities nearby:

    • Trekking in the forest and general exploring
    • For younger children: drawing, pirate quest, trekking along dwarf's trail
    • For older children: boating on the lake to a trailhead, high beams and more

    Families Should Know:

    There is a mobile phone signal everywhere. It's 15km to the closest shop for nappies and baby gear, although there is a convenience shop 10km away. There are steep mountain drops and the Mountain Cabin has a fenced drop from its deck.

    Distances:

    • Airport: 35 minutes
    • Hospital: 25 minutes
    • Shops: 25 minutes
    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    6/
    Rooms
    5/
    Food
    7/
    Service
    5/
    Value
    6/
    Overall

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    Rates for Estancia Peuma Hue