December 02 2009
Chile’s pioneering boutique-hotel company Explora has always made much of the views from its rooms, but then it’s tended to favour far-flung settings – Patagonia, Easter Island – set amid sensational scenery. The latest addition to its portfolio is Casa Porta (pictured; www.explora.com; doubles from $120), an independent 19th-century wine estate an hour from Santiago that makes a more memorable stopover than a night in a city-centre hotel for those en route to or from, for instance, its Atacama property in San Pedro.
That fine hotel now faces competition from just-opened Casa Atacama (www.casaatacama.com; two nights from $690). Like its neighbour, it’s a development of stylish, sustainably designed rooms run on an all-inclusive basis, with a rate that includes not just meals (the llama paté is optional) and wine, but guided excursions into the desert, including those on horseback.