Travel

May 6 2007


To categorize the new Indigo Patagonia hotel and spa in Puerto Natales, Chile, as a cool place is to make use of the word cool in both its old and new meaning.

The old cool – as in somewhat coldish, refreshingly chilly – is a fitting description of the six-storey, 28-room block of a building. It is also a perfectly appropriate way for the hotel to be here in the middle of Patagonia’s fresh magnificence.

In the new main hotel building, Chile’s favorite modern architect Sebastian Irarrázaval has managed to encase a balance between understated Northern European luxury and a  straight-forward humility toward the surrounding environment. 



Indigo is not a product of indulgent architecture that attempts to take over the scenery. It is an honest, almost college-dormish building that fits in its place as if it had always been there while also standing out as something one wants to explore. That has also been the appeal of Patagonia to adventurers, mountaineers, kayakers, trekkers and nature-lovers for decades. With its ancient ice fields older than time itself, fjords deeper than anyone can fathom, air and sky clearer than seems natural, and vistas more humbling than you can be prepared for, Patagonia makes you feel a bit like an intruder and yet you are unable to resist its lure.

At Indigo, the new cool is evident both outside and in. The red corrugated-metal facade sports huge white lettering that indicates the various floors and spells out “indigo.” This creates an almost  surreal effect, as if the facade were a fake prop onto which the lettering is being magically projected. All the while, the building looks way more industrial than residential.



Inside, touches of luxury and attention to detail are everywhere. From the natural materials – wood, basketry, cotton and linen – to the neutral color palette and ever-present vast windows, everything helps you ease into the main attraction of Patagonia: the natural world.     

The new Indigo Patagonia hotel is a fusion of the three owner’s ideas. Climber and publicist Hernán Jofré’s brought along his love of nature, chemical engineer Ana Ibañez contributed impeccable taste (we can thank him for the elegance of the interior), and Olivier Potart added vision and fantasy. The Chilean, Spaniard and Frenchman dreamt up the concept of the new hotel and converted the eight-year-old original Concepto Indigo hotel into the new hotel’s restaurant. The two buildings now cozy up to each other spectacularly unmatching yet happily at home as part of the town’s low and semi-vacant skyline.
 
Perhaps it was the owners’ international backgrounds that affected Indigo Patagonia’s particular mix of mountain chalet and safari hut and then balanced it harmoniously and meticulously by the over-arching touch of northern calm. The rooms exude comfort and simplicity and the large windows everywhere let you see where you are.



Nowhere is it more evident that you are in the lap of luxury and rather close to heaven, than in the top-floor spa. The sauna and two massage rooms are great, but soaking in one of the three outdoor Jacuzzis overlooking Fiordo Última Esperanza  (Fjord of Last Hope) when you really know you’ve found bliss.  
 
The town of Puerto Natales (pop. 18,000) in the province of  Última Esperanza is on the mainland but connected to the sea by channels. You can get there, for example, by taking one of the daily flights from Santiago de Chile to Punta Arenas and then driving 250 km to Puerto Natales. The area is best known for the Perito Moreno glacier, Fiordo Última Esperanza, and for  Torres del Paine National Park that is on the UNESCO world heritage site tentative list. By Tuija Seipell





Random Archive

Art
Ads