Puyuhuapi Lodge & Spa

Puyuhuapi, Patagonia, Chile Book from

Reviewed by Gordon Baker
Relax and spoil yourself at one of Chile's best spa hotels, stunningly located on the shore of a fjord amid ancient forests
Treat yourself with a few days at this idyllic natural spa. Set in a tranquil sea inlet in northern Patagonia, the Kossmann family have created a unique hotel, combining beautiful sea, forest and snow-capped mountain views, and a top-notch thalassotherapy centre offering thermal pools, pampering massages and seaweed treatments. Despite its remote location, the lodge offers all that you'd expect from a small luxury hotel: fine cuisine, comfortable accommodation and friendly service.

The emphasis is on relaxation, but there's plenty to keep you occupied, with guided and self-led activities on land and sea. Hike through the temperate rainforest, kayak through island-filled channels, go fly-fishing or book a tour to the hanging glacier of Queulat National Park. It's a fantastic resting place along the visually stunning and little travelled Camino Austral, and it's well worth coming down here for a good 3-4 days: their 3-night all-inclusive packages are deservedly popular.

Highs

  • Soaking in the hotel's many indoor and outdoor thermal pools; or indulging in the superb thermal spa
  • Walking through the lush, dense, atmospheric forest - you can also visit fjords and the Queulat National Park
  • Sympathetic architecture: native woods blend in well with the surroundings, picture windows make the most of the views
  • The packages (generally lasting 3 nights) are an easy way to make the most of Puyuhaupi - and include everything (all meals, kayak tours, thermal baths, transfers from/to Balmaceda airport)

Lows

  • Weekends in high season are busy, and the thermal baths can get quite crowded
  • Out of season, the rain can be persistent - although this won’t worry you if you’re submerged in the spa
  • The décor is cosy rather than hip
  • It is almost impossible to get there under your own steam (at least 6 hours' drive from most places), so we advise booking an all-inclusive package with transfers from Balmaceda airport

Best time to go

The region is characterized by a cool climate with plenty of rain year-round (particularly in winter), but it's possible that you'll experience days of incredible pure skies. The average temperature is 50F; but if often reaches 70F or more from December until March.

The summer (peak) season coincides with the hotter temperatures, from November to March. Christmas until mid-February is the busiest time. Those seeking tranquility should wait until low season, and avoid weekends if possible. The hotel stays open year round and you'll be spoilt in the low season, having the place virtually to yourself. Once you've braved the cold, slipping into the heated outdoor pools with rain or snow tumbling down can be very cathartic...

Our top tips

If you're planning on taking part in water-based activities you may want to bring a wet-suit as the water, even in mid-summer, can be quite chilly.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
Spa
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Spa Hotel
  • 30
  • All inclusive
  • 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
  • Pool Table
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Superior Room

Rooms

The rooms have been carefully crafted from local timber, all with balconies and panoramic views of the bay. Spread among the main buildings of the complex, they're all a short walk from the restaurant, reception, communal rooms and indoor spa area, and within 150m of the outdoor pools. All have ensuite bathrooms with hot water fed by the natural thermal springs (though it may be a little lukewarm at first).

There are 30 rooms, all but one of them Superior Rooms. These are quite large, with space for a desk, a pair of wicker armchairs by the window, a choice of twin or kingsize beds, and space for an additional bed in some rooms. They all have an attached bathroom with either a tub or a shower, and a balcony offering glorious views over the bay. With their colourful abstract artwork, wooden panelling, carpeted floors, fresh flowers and huge soft duvets, they're cosy and comfy rather than stylish.

There's also one much larger suite called Captain Suite, with a rather alarming wooden statue of a full-size stork, and a picture of swirling sealife above the bed.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries

Eating

The restaurant is light and airy, with a number of tables overlooking the bay. Weather permitting, there's a patio where meals can be taken with the waves lapping onto the shore under your table. Mealtimes are fixed and guests are usually offered a 3-course set menu, typically a soup or salad to start, followed by a choice of seafood or meat (we had a good steak), accompanied by a selection of vegetables. There's also an enticing array of fresh shellfish and fish, including home-smoked salmon, and imaginative salads created from whatever is ripe in the garden or greenhouse. Desserts are homemade tarts or pies - we enjoyed a fantastic lemon meringue. Everything we ate was fresh, artistically presented and delicious.

Vegetarian and other diets can be catered for, and special plates can be prepared for children.

The wine list is extensive, and the house wines are carefully chosen and very drinkable. There is also a fully-stocked bar, adjacent to the main lounge with its huge fireplace, small library, comfortable chairs and sofas and enormous window overlooking the bay.

For breakfast there's a European-style buffet (the owners are of German origin after all) with fresh coffee, tea, hot chocolate, juices, cereals, yoghurt, cheese and a range of breads and pastries. Cooked dishes are also on offer for those with hearty appetites.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Join the daily events organised by the hotel: local forest walks, tours to Puyuhuapi village (traditional carpet weaving); trips to Queulat National Park (hanging glacier and mountain views) and others are advertised in the lobby. None are weather affected, as the hotel has waterproof boots and jackets for all shapes and sizes
  • Sea kayak, row or take a zodiac ride in the sheltered waters of the Dorita Bay
  • Pamper yourself rotten in the spa: the unique convergence of sparkling seawater, bubbling thermal waters and pure mountain streams inspires their therapies. Experts are available in thalassotherapy (algae baths, balneo-therapy, algae applications, thalathern, effusion massages and hydro-massage pools), as well as body massages, pressotherapy and cosmetology. You can wallow in the 2 outdoor thermal pools (30-40C) and natural spring (36-42C) or the indoor pool. The spring-waters contain chloride, sulphates, magnesium, nitrates and fluorine (not great to drink, but not too smelly either). These elements are recommended for sufferers from renal, arthritic, rheumatic, pulmonary and cardiovascular afflictions
  • Work-out in the mini gymnasium (with a bay view!). It has a running machine, an exercise bike and a multi-gym, but no free weights
  • Play pool. There's also a TV/video and board games for rainy days

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Pool table
  • Swimming
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

Children are welcome and there's plenty for them to do, including the thermal pools (indoor and out), canoes/kayaks, walks, swimming in the bay (a little icy...), cycling excursions and playing pool. Babysitting and cots are available. However, in our opinion it isn't ideal for kids - there's nowhere to really ‘play’, as the forest is very dense and the seawater very cold. The baths don’t welcome rowdy behaviour and most of the rest of the guests will be older or romantics seeking tranquility.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

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

Kid Friendly:

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