Though it is just an hour or so away from Tierra Patagonia, the thriving town of Puerto Natales is another world. A bustling port of 20,000 people, it is home to a large fishing fleet. Just short of the town, our driver pulled off the main road, mistakenly, I thought, as it looked as though we were headed to an old industrial area. The Singular Patagonia is surrounded by early 20th-century buildings that once comprised a giant meatpacking and refrigeration plant, from which lamb was shipped all over the world. Once of critical importance to Chile’s economy, the site was named a National Historic Landmark in 1996.
Carefully using the viable structures — most notably a huge brick warehouse — the new hotel also saved much of the industrial equipment. Fifty-seven guest quarters were added in a historically appropriate style. The property is constructed on a hillside, so on arrival, we were escorted to a small funicular that took us down to reception. The lobby retains the original brick walls, but a new floor has been suspended above the old. The Singular offers a fascinating glimpse of Patagonia’s history, and we would not have wanted to miss it.