Tierra Chiloe

near Castro, Patagonia, Chile Book from Book from £236 per night

Intimate, architect-designed hotel on unique Chiloe island, with thrilling excursions, delicious fare and panoramic bay views
Step away from reality and onto Chiloe, the mystical Chilean island that time forgot. Part of Chilean Patagonia and populated by tiny fishing villages, the residents of this remote outpost remain predominantly self-sufficient, catching their own food and making their own textiles. Amid this artisan community, on a quiet peninsula, an architectural wonder appears to float above the pasture. Built in 2012, with the addition of a stunning new wing in 2017, Tierra Chiloe’s conceptual structure was designed to mimic the island’s landscape and traditional stilted homes. Happily, it also takes every opportunity to frame the expansive views of the surrounding bay.

Indigenous conifer, beech and larch woods were used inside and out, warming the cutting-edge sheet glass windows and industrial steel framework. The islanders’ crafts are put to good use cosying up the 24 sea-view bedrooms, where couples, friends, solos and families are warmly welcomed. Wander down to the private beach, search for penguins and otters on an islet boat tour or horse ride across the rugged countryside. When you reach the wild Pacific Coast, look out for the transcendent Bridge of the Souls jutting into thin air. Legend has it this is where the island’s spirits wait for the boat to their final resting place; heaven knows it must be wonderful there.

Highs

  • Excellent excursions include whale-watching (Dec-May), hiking, horse-riding, kayaking, bird-watching and tours of tiny island communities
  • Perfect for outdoorsy honeymooners, with moody views and a sense of wild, soul-cleansing romance
  • The food is delicious, with seafood bought fresh from local fisherman that day
  • The new indoor pool, spa and fire-lit sitting room are gorgeous places to relax after your excursion
  • Part of the award-winning Tierra family, standard-setters for outstanding architectural hotels

Lows

  • The weather here is wetter than other parts of Chile, but even on a rainy day it's a pleasure to hole up here
  • It’s expensive, but the package rates include all meals, day trips, airport transfers and most drinks
  • Remote and somewhat tricky to reach (an internal flight from Santiago), but that’s part of the reason it remains so special
  • The pools are small; don't expect to do laps

Best time to go

Chiloe's climate is similar to the UK: generally mild but it can be rainy, especially from May to August (when the hotel is generally closed). The main tourist season is from October to April; it would make a wonderful Christmas escape, and January-February are popular for local festivals. Expect daytime temperatures of 10-20C, or a little lower in September (which is the start of spring).

Our top tips

It's worth booking an all-inclusive rate: the food and activities here are top notch and wonderfully varied, and represent very good value when you consider what you're getting (meals, drinks, airport transfers, boat trips, horse riding, fishing, trekking, bird-watching etc). Be sure to pack walking boots and binoculars.

If you love this place, take a look at the sister outposts in Patagonia and Atacama - we love them! And you can book a two- or three-Tierra adventure at favourable rates, with a night at a top Santiago hotel thrown in.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Beach
Family
Foodie
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 24
  • All inclusive
  • Best for older children
  • 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
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

24 cosy, understated rooms gaze out through enormous picture windows to the expansive bay beyond. Modest in size, what they lack in square footage they make up for with heavenly kingsize beds and lots of Chiloe character. Locally-knitted shawls and slippers, hand-carved wooden figures and modern panelling (made from the island's trees) offset stark angles and wild views, creating a calm, romantic oasis for post-adventure relaxation.

The new wing contains a couple of larger suites, as well as 10 double rooms which can interconnect for families, with a dark- and light-blue trim to reflect the sea and sky. Positioned at right angles to the original wing, these rooms face over the bird-rich tidal wetlands.

Compact bathrooms are sleek and modern, with showers over Jacuzzi tubs, piles of fluffy white towels and L'Occitane toiletries. The focus here is very much on the outdoors, so rooms have been kept relatively simple, with no entertainment systems or minibars (though there is WiFi throughout).

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Guests start the day with a tasty buffet breakfast in the airy dining room, where you'll see horses grazing in the meadow outside, through the sheet-glass windows.

Later, delicious 3-course lunches and dinners are also served here. Of course, seafood is the highlight, caught fresh that day by local fishermen. The varied menu may include tangy ceviche or fish and chips (some say the best they’ve ever tasted), and don't miss the curanto, an island specialty of shellfish, smoked pork and potato pancakes. Expect plenty of fresh fruit, veg and herbs from their kitchen garden, as well as a delicious homemade potato breads (Chiloe has 43 species of potato!), rich Chilean wines and Ulmo sours (like Pisco sours but with the addition of local honey) served at a stylish 13m-long bar.

If you’re out on an excursion, staff will put together a decadent picnic. And, if you’re aboard the hotel's boat, Williche, expect to see fresh seafood cooked on-deck; not a soggy sandwich in sight.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Organic produce
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Take a boat tour on Williche, the only commercial vessel operating in the area. You won't see any other tourists but you will see rugged landscapes, local fishermen at work and (hopefully) wildlife such as sea lions, dolphins, penguins and whales (Dec-May)
  • The boat also offers visits to the area's tiny islets where hauntingly beautiful UNESCO-listed churches have cemeteries designed to be exact replicas of their villages
  • Trek Chiloe's near uninhabited west coast, looking out for the Bridge of the Souls. Legend has it that when locals pass away their souls wander the island towards this point. If they have been good in their lives, a boat takes them to their final resting place. If not, they're left to wander...
  • The island can also be explored on horseback or from the water with sea kayaks - just ask
  • Head into Castro, the island's capital, to visit the farmers' market and see the distinctive 'palafitos' (stilted wooden houses built over Castro’s bay)
  • The private beach in front of Tierra Chiloe is a lovely stretch for a leisurely walk; too cold for swimming, but do look out for shorebirds including Hudsonian godwits
  • Back at the hotel, ease tired muscles in the sauna and hot tub, or book a spa treatment. Afterwards, curl up in front of the outdoor lounge's roaring fire with an Ulmo Sour for added insulation

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures
  • Well being
  • Whale watching

Kids

Tierra Chiloe's outdoorsy, laid-back atmosphere is fantastic for older adventurous kids (6+). There are no special facilities for children, and you're 20km from shops etc. Toddlers stay free.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The rooms in the new wing can interconnet to make family rooms, sleeping 4 in 1 double and 1 twin. In the original wing, 2 rooms have space for an extra bed on request.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots and high chairs

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

Children's meals:

A kids' menu

Kids Activities on site:

  • Horse riding
  • Boat trips
  • Sea kayaking
  • Walking and exploring
  • Beach (too cold for swimming)

Kid Friendly:

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