Located 660 miles south of Santiago, remote Chiloé Island meets the Pacific Ocean in a series of surf-pounded sea cliffs. Many towns have preserved their palafitos, colorful stilt houses built over the water, and 16 wooden colonial churches have been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. Tierra Chiloé opened two years ago. Perched on a hillside overlooking the sea, the sculptural main building has a prism-shaped second floor hovering over a glass-enclosed lounge and restaurant. All 12 accommodations are more or less identical. Paneled entirely in wood, they are well-designed, if not particularly large. A king bed and two armchairs face a picture window with mesmerizing views. Local fabrics give the room a sense of place. There is no air-conditioning, but evenings are quite cool, even at the height of summer. Dinners were invariably delicious. I particularly enjoyed the crab claws with mashed cauliflower and avocado cream, and gnocchi made with local purple potatoes in a tomato-beet sauce topped with a delicate hake fillet. A small spa has a treatment room, sauna and steam room.
Guests are guaranteed at least one excursion on the property’s elegant wooden yacht, Williche. Some couples elected to explore the archipelago by Zodiac, but we chose to kayak. The next day’s hikes proved equally memorable. After a lunch of empanadas stuffed with razor clams and corvina, we trekked along steep coastal sheep pastures to the Muelle de las Almas, where, local legend insists, the souls of the dead come to meet the boatman to the afterlife.
The Uco Valley lies an hour south of Mendoza. A lack of sophisticated lodgings previously relegated the valley to a long day trip, but the recent opening of The Vines Resort & Spa has brought some of the region’s top wineries such as Clos de los Siete and O. Fournier within easy reach. Set amid 1,500 acres of vineyards and gardens, the property has only 22 villas, arranged in an oval around a well-groomed meadow. Our One Bedroom Deluxe Villa offered an impressive 1,975 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. An array of hand-knit woolen fabrics softened the bedroom and gave it a sense of place, enhanced by a cowhide rug. And outside, a wide patio had room for a four-person dining set, two armchairs, two loungers, a fire pit and a hot tub.
We had scheduled a private tour of the on-site winery with sommelier Martin Krawczyk. He explained how the facility produces up to 300 different wines a year for the 150 people who own vineyard acreage on the property. The following day, on a horseback ride through the vineyards, we passed through a construction site destined to become a winemakers’ village. A spa is also under construction and is scheduled to be finished shortly. In the meantime, a converted guest villa offers a limited range of treatments. The resort’s other main amenities include a striking gym in its own building perched above the vineyards, and the restaurant Siete Fuegos, led by Argentine celebrity chef Francis Mallmann.