I travel for a living, and I travel extensively on vacations. I have traveled to all 7 continents and have lived on 4 of them. That being said, I can honestly say that this was one of the best hotels I have EVER stayed at - anywhere in the world - and that is saying a lot! (We have stayed in several Relais and Chateaux properties throughout France - we have never been disappointed with them - and the Awasi has to be one of the very best of them.) It's hard to believe that a magical 5-star oasis exists behind the rather drab adobe walls with bamboo/wicker/stick gates which typify the village of San Pedro de Atacama, but an absolute "oasis" is the best description for the Awasi. (We were there from 28 Nov-01 Dec 2012.)
We were lucky to have room #3 - a HUGE round room with an enormous and beautifully appointed bathroom. Lots of bathroom amenities, including natural lava pumice rocks. The body lotion and lip balm were hugely appreciated in that climate, and were put to good use. We received special surprise treats, which were wrapped in scrolls and placed inside our "treasure box" each night. They were thoughtful touches which made the whole experience special - it wasn't just your typical "mint-on-the-pillow" thing with the nightly turn-down service. (Like little kids, we would come back to the room after dinner and excitedly say, "Oooh! - what do we have in the treasure chest tonight?")
Besides the gorgeous rooms and common areas (loved the fire pit at night in the common sitting area), the service throughout the hotel was impeccable. We were greeted upon arrival (after an hour's drive from the Calama airport) with tall glassses of delicious icy lemonade containing Rica Rica (a refreshing herb which helps the stomach), and an herb tea ("Chachacomo" - sp?) which also helps with altitude sickness. (Luckily, we didn't need any altitude remedies, but the lemonade fast became a favorite drink of ours.) In the dining room, beautiful little hand-made dolls were placed on the plates at lunch and dinner, and blankets (for the chilly nights) were placed over the back of the chairs with lots of cushions - everything was thoughtfully provided for comfort and ambiance. We mainly interacted with Son (who was lovely and helpful), but all the staff could not have been nicer to us.
The food was delicious and beautiful - we took pictures of several of the courses, they were so pretty! (BTW - I thought the quinoa risotto with vegetables was outstanding!)
Our guide was the amazing Jorge - and from reading several other reviews here, it is apparent that we were really lucky to get him. Just can't say enough good things about him - it is obvious that he really loves his job, and loves showing people all the sights in his desert. He worked incredibly long hours with us (from early morning to late at night, every day for 4 days), including his special night-time stargazing experience. Pedro is an expert in flora, fauna, geology, and astronomy, among a myriad of other topics. We had a blast with him, and he perfectly tailored our excursions to our wishes and hiking abilities. We could not have had a better guide or been happier with our experience here.
I hope I have covered everything - we had a fabulous time, and will highly recommend the Awasi to anyone going to San Pedro de Atacama.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Luxury lodge located in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Only property in the region to be an affiliate of Relais & Chateaux. With only 10 ample rooms, we provide tailor-made experiences, assigning a private guide and a 4x4 vehicle to each room. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Awasi Hotel San Pedro De Atacama
- Awasi San Pedro De Atacama
- Awasi Atacama - Relais & Chateaux San Pedro De Atacama, Chile