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“Unbelievable beauty!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of explora Patagonia

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explora Patagonia
4.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Sector Salto Chico S/N, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile   |  
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Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Unbelievable beauty!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2012

By staying at the Explora Hotel Patagonia-Hotel Salto Chico, you will be in the heart of outstanding beauty. The views from the Hotel are of snow-capped mountains and turquoise waters. Sunsets and sunrises can be spectacular. The guides at the hotel are there to cater to all your desires. If you want to hike, go boating, go on a photography walk, horseback ride, enjoy a barbecue, etc., the guides are there to make sure it happens. The food at the hotel is terrific and the wine list is as well. My husband and I hated to leave paradise.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia, responded to this review, June 21, 2012
Dear traveler,

Thank you for your very kind review of your explora Patagonia experience.

“Paradise” is a wonderful compliment – thank you!

Please be aware that after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA - Club Exploradores del Sur de América - a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests.

Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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387 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (98)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Santiago
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2012

Explora Hotel is the ultimate way of travel exploring nature, your own senses and emotions. It is the avant garde of travel, which brings you into a deep connection with the environment, the landscapes and yourself. Don’t expect to have a Dubai style luxuries, but expect to have the essential on its best. Also, not only the landscape and surrounding chosen is out of this planet, also the architecture itself is a masterpiece. Don’t miss horse riding in Patagonia…radical.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia, responded to this review, June 21, 2012
Dear traveler,

Thank you for your kind review of your explora Patagonia experience.

Allow me to paraphrase your review very briefly: “avant-garde travel” a “deep connection to the environment and yourself” and no “Dubai style luxuries”. One of the challenges of the explora concept and philosophy of travel is that we work with a lot of intangibles. How exactly can we ever summarize a “deep connection to the environment and yourself” – it’s something that travelers may feel and experience but it is tricky to include on an amenity list next to Wi-Fi and custom toiletries.

As for luxuries, for us, luxury is about the experience, not appearance. We seek to offer luxury by focusing on the essential, on providing exactly what our travelers need to make every aspect of their journey as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible. For us, luxury is in the simple details, which are never superfluous. Its value does not depend on how much it costs but on its ability to enrich your Rapa Nui, Patagonia or Atacama travel experience.

I thank you for sharing your explora experience. Allow me to remind you that after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA - Club Exploradores del Sur de América - a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests.

With kindest regards,

Jesús Parrilla
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2012

The view of Torres del Paine which you get from everywhere in Explora is breathtaking, one feels like being on the set of Lord of the Rings. And the hikes are very enjoyable too - good workout, educational and spirit cleansing. The park is truly a magical place. But... this is the work of Mother Nature, I give her 5 stars. Unfortunately, Explora, the hotel, the work of men, does not measure up.

We came in from a Punta Arenas hotel, Explora van was supposed to pick us up in the morning. They were 1 hour late. We sat in the lobby with our bags packed, worrying, not a good start.

We arrive, check in the room, ground floor, Cordillera Paine type. Right in front of the room window are the stairs leading from the hotel lobby to the boat dock on the lake. People going up and down these steps all the time means zero privacy for us. So yes, you have a fabulous view of Torres del Paine from the room but people strolling down to the boat dock also have a fabulous view of you, unsettling. Rooms are small and cramped, motel size, the assumption is you will not spend any time there and they are outfitted accordingly.

Lunch, mediocre food with puzzled service. Waiters are locals, some of them with very poor English. Yes, I know it's the end of the world and difficult to bring supplies and they are doing their best but you have to call a spade a spade. Should we give a can of tuna in Antarctica a Michelin star? The food in Explora is average at best. Great view from the restaurant though, one of the best settings in the world. And the wine selection is also quite nice.

Gear, we forgot a windbreaker, the lady in the Explora store says 'oh we don't have the size here but it's in storage, I will bring it first thing tomorrow morning when we open, right before your first hike'. Of course, in the morning she is nowhere to be seen, the store is closed and we head out without windbreaker.

The hike organization in the evenings is truly chaotic and arbitrary. I approach a guide and tell them I want to do hike A, they say 'we are not doing it tomorrow'. An hour later I see hike A posted on the scheduling board. Guide tells me 'we decided to do it but there is no slot left for you, you should do hike B instead'. No explanation provided.

Explora is one of the few hotels where my expectation from reading glowing TA reviews diverged so greatly from my own experience. You look back and think of the magic of the park and the glorious vistas that still linger and you are tempted to write a good review and then you think a little and realize you stayed in a mediocre hotel in a glorious setting. Was it worth taking the trip all the way there? Yes, for the experience. But does it make Explora a good hotel? Nope, just an average one.

Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia, responded to this review, May 28, 2012
Dear traveler,

We are thrilled to hear that you found the view of Torres del Paine you get from everywhere in the lodge breathtaking and a fine wine selection. However, we are very sorry to hear that your explora Patagonia experience got to a bad start with the pickup service arriving late. We are firm believers that first impressions can make for a wonderful overall travel experience, or the other way around.

When we instruct our travelers and travel agents of pickup times at local hotels, we give them a timeframe of 30 minutes in case of any unforeseen traffic/mechanical/weather related matters. We are confident that the delay was due to any issue related to the any of the above rather than to a gross negligence. You should have been given an explanation at any given point for our failure to be on time and it appears that that was not the case. We understand how anxiously frustrating it can be waiting for transportation and we deeply apologize for our staff arriving late at your hotel

We find it very odd and disturbing the fact that you did not get any help at the store in the morning. The reception staff is right there to serve our travelers with any matters related to their lodge experience and it appears that there was a big disconnect here. Venturing off to the great outdoors without a windbreaker can make it for a bad experience. We will review our store procedures to ensure fast service is provided and situations like the ones you had do not occur again.

You noted that your room was small in size. Each room has a small living area, hydro massage bath and beds designed for deep, pleasurable sleep after a day of exploration. The room you stayed in is 28 meters² (300 feet²), smaller than new city or urban hotel construction standards. The original design of the lodge took into consideration a number of variables focused on the travelers being “forced” outside into the great outdoors and where the primary goal of the lodge was to serve a shelter.

For key personnel in our operations, the official languages of the company are Spanish and English. Service staff are required to know some basic English and classes and opportunities to improve their skills are provided by the company. One of the aims at explora since its inception 1989 has been to create a business model based on sustainability, focused in a large scale in building sustainable communities around our destination and supporting our local economies. One of the cornerstones of our sustainability programs has been employing local labor and providing them with the professional training and tools to be able to meet our clients´ expectations and better the lives.

Explorations are reviewed on a day to day basis and are dependent on a number of factors, but often on operational feasibility and weather conditions. We try to match our traveler's expectations with our excursions and ensure that during the 4 to 8 night stay each traveler experiences what he/she came to Patagonia to do. At the time you visited us we were at full capacity with 98 travelers our guides still have to adhere to a basic organizational rule: an expeditions departs with a maximum of 8 travelers.

For your information, we finalized implementing new custom-made computerized explorations assignment system (called Asignador) that will improve the registration process. If during your stay you were preclude to experience a particular activity, we kindly ask you to contact us directly and we will be more than happy to extend a special benefit for your next explora Patagonia trip.

On the language barrier matter that you noted, over time we have found out from travelers that visiting a foreign land without knowing the language of the country can be cerebrally intoxicating; like a space traveler stepping foot onto a new earth only to discover that the atmosphere makes one high. Suddenly every experience is a thousand times more rewarding.

Please rest assured that your comments have been thoroughly analyzed and resources deployed in improving the explora experience.

Again, we are most sorry to learn that you were partially disappointed with your experience and we offer our sincere apologies for failing to meet your expectations.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2012

Location, location, location and 3 trillion WOWS. Amazing place, remarkable hotel, beautiful decor and amazing pool. Outstanding friendly service, magnificent staff and very good food and wine selection. Amazing outdoor experience and atmosphere in the hotel. The activities are well-presented and the guides very enthusiastic. Stayed 4 nights, but wished I stayed for 8 night. So much to do, so much to see and so much to take in. Also, great to see cell phones don't work. Great to disconnect. Hope to return on of this days.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia, responded to this review, July 13, 2012
Dear traveler,

Thank you so much for your very kind review.

“Great to disconnect” was one of your comments that resonated very much with how I feel about explora. Yes, we do have Internet connections, Wi-Fi and phone service, but indeed cell phone service is non-existent. And while that might sound alarming to some, most explora travelers love to be able to leave one of their electronic devices behind.

Allow me to quote from our explora Manifesto: “ Leave home. Disconnect; leave aside for a moment your history and your usual way of looking at things. When we aren't clinging to our own ideas and habits, we can learn about and gain greater enjoyment from everything again.” That is one of our core-explora believes.

Please remember that after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA - Club Exploradores del Sur de América - a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Preston
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2012

Yes, the hotel and surroundings are awesome like many other reviews mention, but a few things prevent this property from receiving 5 stars. The bathrooms are on the smallish side (2 adults at the same time getting ready too cramped). The bedrooms are also standard American motel room size. We were there for 4 nights and consistently every evening, the sign ups for the next day activities were not very organized. We were told we could just do it in the morning or see what was left (why some groups received preference, we could never figure out). Sometimes the places we wanted to go, we were told it was filled already (really, just because you approached other guests first and they took the available slots?) Also, the way different guides presented the same hikes varied greatly. (ie: some guides rated particular hikes as "very easy" and other said the same hike was "moderate to hard"). It would be wise to print out the hikes online and have it with you to be more informed (they don't provide this info at the hotel itself). Gino is an AWESOME guide and our favorite person at Explora. Also, when you check out, if you're going to El Calafate, you're faced with a 4-8 hour transfer. They space out the vans leaving the hotel in the morning, but in the end, you all wait in a middle of nowhere sheep pasture just beyond the border, for the last van to arrive so you can all go onward on a larger van. So make sure you're on the last van leaving Explora (instead of waiting 90 minutes or so in the pasture)!! Also, about 75% of the people on the transfer had a lunch packed--they said it was just handed to them by staff as they got on the vans. Be sure to ask, if no one hands you a lunch. Our family had no lunch to sustain us on the trip that stretched to an insane 8 hours to El Calafate. (btw, there were no delays at the border, just a driver who drove much slower than the posted limits and made countless stops at hotels, gas stations, etc) Almost everyone on the bus was very angry about missed connections/plans. You might want to consider doing a private transfer/car if you have some extra $$$.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia, responded to this review, May 27, 2012
Dear traveler,

Thank you very much for your feedback. Despite of your concerns, we are happy to read that you enjoyed the hotel and its surroundings, as well as the work of some of the explora guides.

You noted some concerns regarding the hotel and the sizes of some of the areas of the lodge. Please allow me to mention that the architecture and design of the lodge takes into consideration a number of variables that are all focused on the travelers being “forced” outside into the great outdoors and where the primary goal of the lodge is to serve a shelter in which all the elements of the experience (linens, bedding, beds, sofas, furniture, etc.) are of the highest quality

Situated on a 3-hectare (7.4-acre) site, the design borrows certain organic forms from the landscape itself, adapting to it with simple elegance. It was designed to create a dialogue with its environment, putting human beings in touch with the sublimity of their surroundings.
For travelers, the lodge provides the welcome surprise of comfort in a remote area; nonetheless, you are not isolated from nature, but placed “within” it (The traveler can simultaneously view both the interior of the lodge and the surrounding landscape).

In reference your concerns regarding transportation, we are extremely sorry to hear that your transfer to El Calafate was delayed. This was a new service operated by a third party (since explora cannot operate its own vehichles in Argentina) that we started in September 2011 and were forced to cancel it in December 2011 due to their inability to provide the quality and compliance standards that explora had expected. During a short 4-month period we tried with 3 different companies and afraid that our reputation would be tarnished after 4 complaints similar to yours, we decided to stop offering for new reservations this transportation service

explora activities are reviewed on a day to day basis and are dependent on a number of factors, but often on operational feasibility and weather conditions. We try to match our traveler's expectations with our excursions and ensure that during the 4 to 8 night stay each traveler experiences what he/she came to Patagonia to do. At full capacity with 98 travelers our guides still have to adhere to a basic organizational rule: an expeditions departs with a maximum of 8 travelers. If during your stay you were preclude to experience a particular activity, we kindly ask you to contact us directly and we will be more than happy to extend a special benefit for your next explora Patagonia trip.

We do take customer feedback very seriously and take action based on comments and suggestions. Again, thank you for your review, I hope to hear back from you and look forward to welcoming you again at explora.

With kindest regards,

Jesús Parrilla
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bridgetown, Barbados
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2012

Long trip to get to this part of the world to find a lodge inserted in the middle of nowhere. In the way in you question why choose to go to Torres del Paine, but them you a arrive at the Explora Hotel to realize that you are in heaven. The views from the main areas and room are out of this world with impressive views to the Paine Massif. We have 3 outstanding days weather wise and the clear and crips views were exceptional. The feeling at the lodge is very homey and the attention and service friendly, polity and extremely helpful. Food was very fresh, well-balanced and nutritious. The wines and beverages of great quality and plentiful. The activities are well-planned and executed and the guides and horsemen very knowledgeable, well-articulated and ever accommodating. Did not have the chance to visit the SPA, but had a massage in a cozy room in the interior of the main building with the background noise of the Salto Chico waterfall. The beds were impressively comfortable and the slept quality something I had never experienced before. The whole experience was unforgettable. Will have to return for more as 4 days was not simply enough. Worth every minute on the road to get there. Kudos to everyone at the Explora for making a memorable journey.

Room Tip: If you like horses, make sure you take every opportunity to ride. The horses are magnificent, the ri...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia, responded to this review, May 27, 2012
Dear traveler,

Thank you very much for your very kind review. We are particularly grateful for mentioning our new Massage Room. Set in the main building next to the guest rooms, the massage room is designed for guests who would rather be treated in the main hotel than stroll to our spa, the Casa de Banos del Ona. When you come back to explora Patagonia we hope that you do walk to the newly renovated spa, which is located about 300 feet from the lodge. The Casa de Banos del Ona offers steam rooms, two saunas, a new Turkish bath, indoor Jacuzzi, and cold-bath for bracing finishes to any of the above. Just outside the spa deck offers four hydro-massage tubs with a relaxing perspective of Lake Pehoé.

Lastly, please remember that after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA - Club Exploradores del Sur de América - a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests.

With kindest regards,

Jesús Parrilla
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2012

Explora's Hotel Salto Chico is not a hotel - it was a life changing experience for me and my wife! The hotel's architecture and interior design are only outdone by the majestic landscape. And every day a new activity connected us with a natural wonder (mountains, glaciers, lakes, wildlife) taking our breath away, literally and figuratively. The whole experience - hotel, staff, food and wine and activities - is an amazing value! My wife and I only wish Explora had a properties all over the world:)

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia, responded to this review, May 29, 2012
Dear traveler,

Thank you so much for reviewing your explora experience.

Allow me to highlight the headline of your review “explora is not a hotel – it’s an experience!” In these few words you’ve captured the essence of our philosophy; the destination is the main draw and explora thrives to enhance the experience of any destination that we call home.

explora’s goal is an all encompassing experience, including healthy gourmet meals, very comfortable rooms and the best guides available, but all this only enhances the main experience and that is the destination itself.

And as for new explora lodges, we can’t promise “all over the world,” but feel that our three lodges in Atacama, Patagonia and Easter Island as well as the explora Travesias - are a pretty good start.

Please know that after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA - Club Exploradores del Sur de América - a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests.

With kindest regards,

Jesús Parrilla
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about explora Patagonia

Address: Sector Salto Chico S/N, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Phone Number:
Location: Chile > Magallanes Region > Torres del Paine National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Torres del Paine National Park
#2 Family Hotel in Torres del Paine National Park
#3 Romantic Hotel in Torres del Paine National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4.5 star — explora Patagonia 4.5*
Number of rooms: 49
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our lodge is located right in the heart of the extraordinary Torres del Paine National Park in southern Patagonia. The diverse and untouched landscapes of this area led UNESCO to declare it a biosphere reserve.Our Patagonia hotel lodge opened in 1993 on the banks of the Salto Chico waterfall. It affords an excellent view of the unique Paine Massif and two of the three impressive torres, or towers, which give the park its name.The lodge has 49 rooms and a variety of inviting spaces. Situated on a 3-hectare (7.4-Acre) site, the design borrows certain organic forms from the landscape itself, adapting to it with simple elegance. It was designed to create a dialogue with its environment, putting human beings in touch with the sublimity of their surroundings.For travellers, the lodge provides the welcome surprise of comfort in a remote area. Nonetheless, you are not isolated from nature, but rather placed "within" it. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Explora Patagonia Hotel Salto Chico
Explora Patagonia Torres Del Paine
Explora Patagonia Aisen Region/Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile

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