What We Love
- Guests can choose from fifty guided natural expeditions part of their all-inclusive stay
- The property’s indoor heated pool is equipped for champagne storage thanks to a mini-fridge
- When the weather allows, the hotel restaurant serves spit-roasted lamb—a local specialty
- Hydro-massage bathtubs in each of the guest rooms
What To Know
- The hotel almost exclusively uses indigenous materials and local produce
- You’re five hours from the nearest town
- It’s an uphill, 330-foot climb to the onsite spa
- The lodge hosts optional evening lectures on topics like glaciology and ornithology
Standard-setting ecolodge featuring dramatic Patagonian panoramas and haute seasonal cuisine on the shores of Lake Pehoé
With a backyard that consists of the granite steeples of Torres del Paine National Park, it was crucial that the Explora brand’s most remote outpost didn’t eclipse its spectacular setting. Though guests might be inclined to balk at the absence of typical conveniences like televisions and WiFi, they’ll soon realize that the rugged backdrop makes for the ultimate entertainment—best viewed from the Jacuzzis at the lakeside spa and on more active adventures like hikes or horseback rides led by the hotel’s bilingual guides. Rooms, which include six 450-square-foot Exploradores Suites, are rustic refuges outfitted in slate and blonde beech wood and shimmer with natural light. The glorious landscape continues to play a starring role at the restaurant (be sure to indulge in some full-bodied Chilean wines), where wall-to-wall windows ensure that practically every table is treated to a sweeping lake view. The Explorer’s Bar is a required stop for a Pisco Sour, ideal for sipping as you plot your next day’s pursuits.
In the Area
This far-flung property is about a five-hour drive from Punta Arenas, the capital of Chile’s southernmost region. The lodge can arrange for complimentary transfers between November and March (steering your own four-wheel drive is also always an option). Guests here are undoubtedly lured by the great outdoors, and Explora ensures naturalists of all levels are catered to—offering everything from mellow walks through the neighboring lenga forest and treks to Grey Glacier to horse rides that traverse the pampas. For a hands-on approach to Andean culture, visit the lodge’s own estancia, where Chilean cowboys will give you a crash-course on ranch skills.
How to Get There
Amazing location and great staff and guides. We went with another couple but met other fun groups. The smaller nature of the hotel made it conducive to meeting people and connecting on hikes etc. Food and wine were great.
We usually travel independently, don't like being on someone else's schedule and rarely require a hiking guide. But friends recommended Explora so we gave it a try. What a great surprise! The service at the hotel was impeccable, the guides were enthusiastic and knowledgeable, we had an amazing view of the Paine Massif from our room and the food and drinks were very good. There were a large number of excursions to chose from and most of our excursions had a group size of 4 per guide although groups sizes could be up to 8 people, still a good number. We really enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. Explora is expensive but we thought it was worth every penny. Special thanks to guides Mica, Dani and Desiree!
can't beat the location, the views, the architecture, the rooms, the excellent staff. We visited the hotel through an organized incentive trip so did not make any of the reservations. Not sure if the experience would be much different if we had made our own arrangements. We will definitely try to come back!
The explora is a unique hotel in that it is the only hotel in Torres del Paine National Park. It is also the only hotel I know of that provides guides and hikes. All three branches of the W are covered in all-day hikes, but there are plenty of half-day hikes for the less fit. Everyone was very knowledgable. They even provided an interpreter when i got sick and had to go to an emergency room. I cannot recommend it too highly.
We were the young couple from Canada that was there at the end of November for a week. I am going to review by category. We were there four our honeymoon.
Room: we had a salto chico king (room 28). This is a corner room and probably the best salto chico room as far as view. Room was clean, towels new, no smell, small windows that could open. Bed was comfy. Size was average. No iron in the room though. Kate Moss was in the room accross from us the first few nights and smoked in her room so the hallway outside our room smelled. Seemingly, explora staff were scared to tell her not to do this - the smell was obvious so this was disapointing. They clean in the morning and do turntown service during dinner which was nice. No complaints for room other than the outlets didnt always work to charge devices.
Food: Excellent overall. About two choices for apitizer with lunch and dinner and three or four choices of entree for lunch and dinner. About three choices for each dessert. All were good, there was some overlap of repeating items after a few days but not the whole menu. No complaints about overlap, i had different food every day for a week. Quality was high end for example the centolla soup was full of lots of centolla not just little pieces. You are able to ask for 2nds or to try another one if you want. Pack lunch for full day excursions is basic but good. You can choose a thermos of rice or sandwhiches or both. Note the pack lunch sandwiches are small. Snacks are left out only right before excursions...nuts,banana chips, in house power bars. Maybe they should leave this out all the time? Breakfast is buffet style and was comporable to most hotels and quite good, but not above and beyond as much as the other meals.
The bar: knowledgeable bar tenders, good selection. High effort. One of the two bartenders didnt know english well in my opinion which was frustrating but his drinks were good. My wife got everything she wanted. One major negative for me personally with the bar they ran out of cream of coconut on day two of seven for us. This is something that comes in a can. So i couldnt have my favourite drink, which is coladas. The first day they ran out of it the bar tender told me with a confident tone and face it would be in tomorrow. Long story short they never got cream of coconut in for the next several days despite us seeing a truck come in unloading food items. On my last night i finally asked a waitress (francesca) why there has been no cream of coconut for five days and she gave the spiel about how explora is remote and hard to get items. But honestly for something that is canned and with vans,cars, trucks coming every day from punta arenas and puerto natales i think being out of it for five days at a place of this calibre was out of hand especially with me asking every day. I wasnt asking for fresh italian truffles here...
Excursions: great selection, horse stables are clean, trails are clear of litter. They have guides “help” you choose your next day excursions from 7-8pm each night. They have a map and explain them to you. One thing and other reviewers have said this as well...i think they interally have set lists of the excurisons they want to offer for the days and try to push those ones on guests to be efficent and not have someone choose one that no one else is on. Any one they offer is great, but it did feel like a sale at times. The base torres was not too difficult but it was unfortunate it seemed rushed and at one point we were basically told to stop taking pictures and keep moving on the trail. I would suggest a mix of horse riding and hiking. The gauchos at the horse ranch are pros. Any of the hikes are worthwhile.
The guides: they all semed to have good english. All knowledgable. No real complaints other than the time as mentioned above we felt rushed and told to keep moving.
The grounds: common areas and clean and welcoming, wifi is in common rooms only and in many places of the common areas it is weak. Nice boardwalk around property to walk around. The spa was nice, has four hot tubs outside, one inside and a steam room. Selection of snacks and drinks at the pool was nice. We had massages and they were good but my wife only got 37 minutes of the 45 and i got 40 of the 45 (happened to check the time). Some of the small square tiles were missing in the spa showers. One of the two inside hot tubs was out of order and empty/dry. Yet no one was repairing it and it sat the whole time. It was nice that the spa was never too busy. The lake was way too cold for us to try to jump into although we heard someone else did during our stay.
Service: generally the staff want to do anything you ask to make you happy, extra food selections, bringing an iron to our room. This was our honeymoon so they offered the free massages and on one of the nights they put a bottle of champagne with chocolate stawberries in our room. Vey nice. Other than that not once did anyone mention it was our honeymoon or do anything else special. We booked over a year before our stay and clearly advised it was a honeymoon so it was a bit disapointing not to be given a room upgrade to cordillera paine. “Subject to availabilty” i guess...our room was still nice as mentioned though. One of the mornings i missed my excursion because my alarm did not go off. My alarm did not go off because my phone wasnt charging all night. My phone didnt charge because the outlet in the room was faultly and not always working we found out later and only had a “sweet spot” for plugs to make it work. This same afternoon was the quincho bbq and the original plan was to take me from the morning excursion ddirect to bbq. Was extrememly disapointing when i was told there was no ride available to take me to the bbq because i missed the excursion...it was one of my “must do” things and i missed it...
Overall the food was great, room was nice, excursions are fun and all different. Would definitely recommend.