The Hotel Rio Serrano is a very nice hotel -- rooms are big, clean, and well decorated; the hotel lobby areas are very large and well decorated; it's got a very nice view of the mountains; and it's well-situated near the Serrano River just outside of the official Torres del Paine border, with good access to all of the major park tours and hikes. While not a five-star hotel, the overall feel of the hotel borders on the luxurious.
The Hotel Rio Serrano is also far better than similarly-priced hotels nearby. While staying in Torres del Paine, we went into or walked by several of the other hotels in the area in a similar price range (e.g. Hosteria Lago Grey, Hotel Lago Tyndall, Cabanas del Paine, etc.), and it seemed to us that the Hotel Rio Serrano was far nicer (or at least far fancier from the looks of the hotel exterior/interior). Unless you are willing to pay triple the price to stay at Explora, the Hotel Rio Serrano is therefore a great option.
Tours run through the hotel are very good. We especially recommend the glacier hike ("Caminata en Hielo", actually run through a local travel outfit) which is an amazingly cool experience -- we're still talking about it months later, and the photos are fantastic. Definitely cooler than taking a "regular" hike, even to see Torres del Paine. Not technical at all, and doesn't require any particular experience, but not for kids or seniors. Also recommended is the tour of the Serrano River by zodiac boat -- very fun day trip, and a good way to see the local area in a more intimate way than a van ride. That one's fine for kids or seniors (our parents and great aunt, all in their early 70s, managed OK). Finally, the van ride around the park is not nearly as "fun" as the other two trips, but is a great way to see some spectacular views around the park.
The only reason I didn't rate the Hotel Rio Serrano five stars? First, the tour booking office was only intermittently helpful. Desired tours are frequently either sold out or not running on particular days, and the tour booking office seemingly doesn't have information on that until the last minute. If you're willing to forego "playing it by ear" and are willing to lock in a reservation, it's better to contact the hotel ahead of time to make a reservation. Second, the hotel restaurant, while reasonably good, is extremely expensive -- $50 set price for a buffet dinner. Luckily, if you want less expensive options, there's a restaurant a five-minute walk down the street (decent but not fantastic food), and the other local hotels (e.g. Lago Tyndall), also a short walk away, will generally let you eat at their less expensive buffets.
(FYI, when we booked our reservation, we were somewhat wary of some of the older reviews on TripAdvisor that complained about noise or poor service. I think this was several years ago, before they went through a major renovation and change in management -- we didn't have any problem with either of those issues. I therefore recommend that you base your assessment on the newer reviews only).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rio Serrano Hotel is located in Torres del Paine and offers standard rates and rates all inclusive with full board and additional programs. It features a restaurant and a garden overlooking the Paine mountain range. There is free WiFi in public areas . Rooms at the Rio Serrano are decorated with carpeted floors and large windows with panoramic views of the mountains and have heating , fan and private bathroom. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Rio Serrano Hotel Aisen Region/Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile