AWASI PATAGONIA – CHILE
At this lodge in the Patagonian Steppe there’s an elasticity of time where hours crystallise into months of extraordinarily vivid memories, thanks to midsummer golden dusks that linger until midnight. The charismatic guides – one for each of the 12 log villas – have a vast knowledge of the region that unlocks the magic of nearby Torres del Paine national park in a way that would be impossible on your own. The staff are an essential element because, although breathtakingly beautiful, the rugged wilds can be forbidding, and the key to Awasi’s success is the ability of its close-knit team to make this stylish outpost feel welcoming.
Housekeeper Rosa awaits with mate tea and orange-blossom biscuits to hear tales of hiking treacherous peaks or galloping with the gauchos across moody purple plains, and unseen house elves light bedroom hearths and leave bottles of berry liquor while guests dine on king crab and crisp Sauvignon. But the clincher is the complete newness of it all; it’s so far removed from humdrum reality that it’s a recharge for the mind, body and soul. So, as you wallow in the alfresco wooden hot tub, watching horses silhouetted against the magnificent sunset, it’s easy to forget that you’re on a holiday and pretend that this is forever.