“Unbeatable welcome and 4 elegant suites with all the comforts of home at this beautiful luxury lakeside retreat”
The 4 large suites, each named after the birds that swoop over the lawn, are immaculately decorated in muted creams and browns with a flash of colour provided by local textiles and fresh fruit, and the occasional piece of artwork. All-natural materials are used throughout, to complement the pine wood and solidified lava used in the construction of the house.
Ours, Picaflor (Hummingbird), was a Junior Suite, with 2 queensize beds, a wicker coffee table and a sofa, a beautiful old leather armchair and a TV with stereo. A large wardrobe housed white towelling robes and slippers (in his and hers sizes), a hot-water bottle for chilly nights and a pair of woollen socks each, which we were encouraged to wear to intensify that home-away-from-home feeling.
The ensuite bathroom was large and light, with a bath, a powerful overhead shower and a bench-top sink with a little vanity basket. Bath salts, fresh petals and a candle provided a pretty decorative touch but can be used more indulgently for a soothing soak after your excursion exertions.
The wood-panelled Chucoa Suite is laid out over 3 rooms, with a small living room and bureau, complete with an antique desk and metallic birds standing guard, and great views to the lake and the Osarno Volcano. For greater seclusion, the Loica Junior Suite offers a private entrance.
The Bandurria (Ibis) Honeymoon Suite is better still, with large windows overlooking the lake, a walk-in wardrobe, a Jacuzzi tub and a huge separate shower.
All rooms have WiFi, a phone, cable TV, a DVD player, a radio, an iPod dock, a CD player, heating and a safe box; fruit and sparkling water are also supplied.
The dining area is cosy and intimate, and guests are seated by turn at the window. Four painted wooden birds flit around the room from one visit to the next, sometimes marking your table, or watching over the breakfast buffet. Pristine table linen and polished cutlery and glasses provide the expected touch of luxury, while a simple cut flower serves as a decoration.
Nowhere is the emphasis on quality more apparent than in the kitchen. Head chef Jordan Barrera has a strong creative streak but knows how to please any audience, using fresh, local ingredients. The dinner menu offers 2 options - usually one meat and one fish - although both are generally served on the same base. The fillet steak is predictably delicious, but for those arriving here from Argentina and suffering from a surfeit of red meat, the fish options - often salmon, hake or conger eel - are beautifully flaky. The base dish might be a bed of pea and asparagus risotto, or a corn mash, balanced with a rich red wine sauce which traditionalists may find a touch too sweet. All breads are homemade.
Dinner is accompanied by a good range of wines from both mainstream and small independent Chilean vineyards. Desserts are fresh and innovative, such as the quirky saballone al murtilla, a fragrant fruity dish finished with a splash of pisco. All diets can be catered for.
The breakfast is impressive, particularly considering the size of the hotel. A selection of fresh juices, generous quantities of cut fruits, hams and cheeses, cakes and cereals are laid out in the dining room, while teas, coffee and eggs are served to order.
Lunch will generally be out and about; guides take a picnic hamper with homemade breads, salads, quiches, wine and soft drinks. Nuts and biscuits are carried for snacking, as are all the key ingredients for those much-needed tea breaks. Later, with pre-dinner drinks of, say, pisco sour or Chilean beer, enjoy a delightfully presented selection of cheeses, smoked salmon and nuts.
The temptations of home are strong, but if you're inclined to head out one night, there are several decent restaurants in nearby Puerto Varas. La Rada, by the lake on Calle Costanera, and Ibis, on Ruta 225, both serve good Chilean and international dishes, and Govinda is also recommended.
All activities can be arranged by Quincho at additional cost. Most people book on a package basis, which will include a full-day or 2 half-day excursions, which can include the following. However, most of these activities can be booked through the hotel as individual excursions; enquire when booking or discuss on arrival.
Children are occasionally allowed, though the management will consider other guests before agreeing to host them, with the preservation of the peaceful and relaxing atmosphere being the top priority. A good arrangement would be for a family to take the 2 upstairs suites, which provide play-space and privacy away from the main living areas. Extra beds can be provided.
Extra Beds Available