You’ll catch glimpses of the Osorno volcano on the lakeside approach to this wonderful new hotel, but its snow-capped majesty is best appreciated from one of the 16 bedrooms.
They all face the same direction, and floor-to-ceiling windows, uncluttered space and deftly located beds combine to point you towards the still-active peak, its colours changing with the Andean weather. But the hotel is no mere frame for a pretty picture. From its asymmetrical steel-and-glass façade and volcanic-rock interior walls to the open fires and rough-hewn Mapuche fabrics, this is the ultimate hybrid of cosy and cool, urban and wild – created by architect Mauricio Fuentes, whose summer home is next door. During the day, it’s a short hop to the volcano or churning Petrohué waterfalls; the hotel can arrange hikes, bike rides and bird-watching guides, and has kayaks for those who want to paddle out on Lake Llanquihue.
For lunch, head to the nearest town, pretty Puerto Varas, a half-an-hour drive away; for dinner, stay put for roast Patagonian lamb or great seafood, plus a vast selection of Chilean wines. Like Explora in the Atacama and The Singular in southern Patagonia, Awa is a game-changer for the Chilean Lake District.
FLASH POINT Set aside an hour or two for the spa, where it’s possible to see the lake and volcano from the two-lane, Olympic-size pool, sauna, hammam and massage cabin. Treatments are based on the five elements: water, earth, wood, metal and fire.