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“A fantastic finish to a fabulous holiday experience”

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explora Patagonia - All Inclusive
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 1, 2013

Salto Chico was the final leg of our Explora experience having enjoyed the delights of Rapa Nui to begin our trip followed by a visit to San Pedro de Atacama. I was travelling with friends who are regular Explora guests and they were concerned that they may have raised my expectations of Salto Chico too high. Not a problem, if anything my expectations were exceeded.
We arrived in early June, 2012 (yes I am very slow at writing this review!) and there were only a small number of other guests. The hotel is spacious but even with such a small number of us it still felt intimate and cosy.
My room was superb. Spacious and comfortable, great bathroom but the best feature was the incredible views across the lake to the mountains. Waking up each morning to such views was inspiring and I could hardly wait to get started with the day's excursion.
The daily excursions were organised the evening before, though at this time of year weather could sometimes cause a change of plans as some were physically challenging. The guides were all well informed and at least bi-lingual which was necessary as my Spanish was limited to a few social phrases. I love trekking and the day walks I did were among the most enjoyable I have experienced. The hotel's location in the centre of the Torres del Paine park is ideal and gives access to a great variety of landscapes with abundant opportunities to observe the local wildlife.
The meals provided were first class. The menus for each meal were limited but included enough variety to provide everyone a choice. The staff in the restaurants were friendly and very efficient. I was anxiously awaiting news of the arrival of a new grandchild and when the happy day arrived a few days before our departure the kitchen produced a nice treat to help me celebrate.
Salto Chico is a great hotel in and unbelievably beautiful location - well worth a visit, but do not make it short as even after our 8 nights I was reluctant to leave and there were attractions I had not seen.

Room Tip: travel in the off-season when the hotel is not full to increase the chance of a room with the best v...
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank John L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia - All Inclusive, responded to this reviewResponded August 4, 2013

Dear traveler,

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

There are many elements of your review that could make my day, but one aspect in particular struck my as very “explora”: “at this time of year weather could sometimes cause a change of [exploration] plans.” You’ve written this so nonchalantly, that I had to highlight it.

The microclimate of the Torres del Paine Park can be unpredictable, at times we have four seasons in one day, and it is always the traveler’s attitude that makes every single day an adventure. Based on your review you obviously love the outdoors, but it’s also your attitude that helps us turn every situation and climate into an experience. Addmittedly, you also need the appropriate outdoor gear, such as boots, layers and a versatile jacket.

In honor of explora Patagonia’s 20th. Anniversary we’ve taken out benefit program up a notch or two, please peruse our web site for increased benefits for return explora guests and more: CESA, a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests. For information, kindly visit our website.

Thank you again for your review.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 25, 2013

The explora Patagonia - Hotel Salto Chico is a special place and we had a great experience there; we much enjoyed the excursions with excellent guides, the heated indoor lap pool by the lower lake, the countryside barbecue, and first-rate service (I was not feeling well on the first day so the chef made a special dinner of chicken soup for me) and, of course, the superb natural setting. Moreover, we had originally booked a room on the Salto Chico side of the lodge. Upon arrival, unbeknownst to us, we were assigned to the Cordillera side with full view of lake and mountains (no extra charge).
An incident on the last day, however, soured our reverie. While waiting in the lobby for the van to take us and others back to Punta Arenas, amidst friends made during our stay, a woman from the reception desk approached my husband asking him to pay a $30 bill for a pair of gloves I had purchased three days prior. My husband explained that he had already paid the bill a day or two earlier at the desk, with cash. The woman fervently insisted he had not done so, because she and a colleague had been “the only two persons who attended that desk” and neither of them recalled his payment or could find record of it. With everyone looking on, my husband feverishly searched through his hand luggage, unsuccessfully, for his receipt. His main bag was already stowed away in the van trailer.
While my husband continued searching, I spoke with Guillermo, the general manager, and told him what was happening. He said he was aware, but that we had to produce the receipt. Finally, because van departure was already delayed for this incident, Guillermo said we could leave, but to send him the receipt if we should find it. When we boarded the van, one of the desk clerks came running up to tell us she had located the lodge’s copy of the receipt. By explanation there had been a third woman who had attended the desk during a mid-day hour when my husband had paid the bill, and she had misfiled the paperwork.
Why do I think the whole incident was mishandled? I can understand for a hotel wanting its clients to pay their bills, but to claim that a guest has not paid a bill at the very last moment at the lobby, with suitcases stowed and other guests being delayed and expectantly observing and waiting, was particularly discomforting.
The Explora is a luxury hotel and the bill in question was a miserly $30. Wouldn’t it have been more gracious to take us at our word, accept our explanation and then ask us to send the receipt when we found it? Furthermore, I believe that a simple “we are sorry” did not compensate for the unpleasant moment we went through. I left feeling that this is not a place that works based on trust in their guests or with confidence that they will do the right thing.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank NidiaMargarita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia - All Inclusive, responded to this reviewResponded June 20, 2013

Dear traveler,

We thank you very much for your review. While not entirely positive, we are grateful for your feedback.

I am sincerely sorry for the discomfort that you are your husband experienced based on a mistake that was entirely ours. The employee in question has been counseled and all front-desk employees have been re-trained to avoid incident like the ones you encountered.

You are unfortunately entirely right to criticize our staff for the way they handled this situation and again, I am deeply sorry.

For all us at explora, it is an absolute priority to carefully listen to the voice of our customers, and decisively act upon their comments, complaints, suggestions and recommendations in order to provide the excellent service explora is known and recognized for. Please rest assured that we have taken all the necessary measures to ensure this does not happen again.

Again, I would like to provide our deepest apologies for falling to meet your expectations and Thank You for taking the time to let us know how we failed.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

Explora Patagonia was lovely. The building is well maintained, the staff is always there to assist you and make you feel welcome. The 5 hour drive from Punta Arenas definitely is worth the beauty of Torres del Paine National Park. There is not much of a selection of food at the hotel which does get tiring after a couple of days, but that is my only criticism.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank JRWalker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia - All Inclusive, responded to this reviewResponded June 13, 2013

Dear traveler,

We thank you very much for your very kind review. We are delighted to read your overall positive feedback about your explora experience.

I am sorry to hear, that you’ve felt that the choices of meals was limited. While I listen to all travelers’ feedback and take them into serious consideration, I would like to explain, that explora offers three meal choices at lunch and dinner. If travelers with special dietary restrictions stay with us, we fulfill their meal wishes and do not list these separately on the daily menus. As much as possible explora draws on local ingredients plus a selection of fusion dishes that are best described as international cuisine.

We hope to welcome you back and if so, please know that after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA, a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests. For information, kindly visit our website.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

To reach Explora there is a four our drive from the airport which is worth every mile when you get there. The views of the Torres del Paine mountains are breath taking. All the rooms have views and the restaurant has an excellent small selection . this is a hotel for the fit. Hiking, riding and walking. All the staff are fit young women, there are various hikes for the very fit and lesser ones for the less fit. A must is to take a boat trip to the glazier, it is awesome. the lunch bbq is a must too. The Explore is really only for the fit and healthy. Wooden stairs to climb to the bedrooms etc. Rossario keeps an eye on everything making sure everyone is being looked after trip and food wise. The bedrooms are pretty basic but fine when you think that you are seriously in the middle of no where.

Room Tip: the rooms are all the same. I think there were six suites there, but all have a terrify view.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank judy011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia - All Inclusive, responded to this reviewResponded June 13, 2013

Dear traveler,

We thank you very much for your very kind review. We are thankful for your feedback!

It sounds as if your travel experience with explora was just right for you and is if you enjoy outdoor activities just as much as we do. Since you’ve emphasized fitness, allow me to take this opportunity to mention that the explora travel philosophy is indeed about exploring the remote outdoors, however, explora does not require more than a basic level of fitness. Every day we facilitate excursions for multiple levels of activity and different small groups. We offer photo safaris and shorter walks as well as full-day excursions for varying levels of fitness. In fact, we’ve just launched a new High Mountain Expedition that offers the opportunity to climb at altitude, including the possibility of reaching the summit of Licancabur Volcano located at the shared border between Chile and Bolivia at the altitude of 5.916 m (19,423 ft.).

We hope to welcome you back and if so, please know that after visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA, a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests. For information, please visit our website.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

I spent 4 nights with my girlfriend in Patagonia. The visit was at the end of our 3 week trip to Chile and it was the highlight. The staff at Explora were excellent and attentive to all our needs. The view from our room was breathtaking.

Soft adventure is an appropriate term. Having a warm tub at the end of a long hike and then a dip in the glacial lake was sublime.The guides were very knowledgeable and are multilingual (even speaking Australian after our visit!)

We didn't want to leave.

Brickbats? The minimum stay should be stretched out to 5 nights and access could be better organised? Charter flights in and out of Puerto Natales instead of the long drive to Punta Arenas.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Tim C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

explora Patagonia is hands down the best hotel I've ever stayed in. The location is second to none in Torres del Paine national park, and the other options don't even come close. It's a destination in itself with the best views of the Towers in the park, amazing guides, fantastic food and seriously comfy beds. The atmosphere is a bit like staying in some else's house - very relaxed but with a level of luxury you don't find anywhere else. It's a must-visit when in Chile/Patagonia!

Room Tip: Go for the views across to the Towers if possible.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank barney789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia - All Inclusive, responded to this reviewResponded June 13, 2013

Dear traveler,

We thank you so much for your exuberant review. We are delighted to read your feedback.

I enjoyed reading your description of how explora made you feel: “The atmosphere is a bit like staying in some else's house - very relaxed but with a level of luxury you don't find anywhere else.” Explora genuinely seeks to offer luxury by focusing on the essential, on providing exactly what we think our travelers need to make every aspect of their journey as enjoyable and fulfilling as possible. We call that the “luxury of the essential”. Its value does not necessarily depend on how much it costs, but on its ability to enrich the travel experience.

Thank you for allowing us to be your “host.”

After visiting one explora lodge, you are entitled to the benefits of our CESA (Club de Exploradores del Sur de América), a recognition program with benefits including rate discounts and room upgrades for repeat guests. For information, please visit our website.

Yours sincerely,

Jesús Parrilla

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2013

We had a wonderful trip to Buenos Aires and Patagonia. Explora was the highlight, and exceeded our expectations in every way.

They called the evening before our arrival to confirm a pickup time. I told the person I spoke to that I was not feeling well, but would be ready by 830 the next morning. At 8 A.M., they called to see whether, because of my illness, I would prefer a later pickup time. Guillermo Farfan, the manager, greeted us on our arrival. He assured us that we could choose items off the menu that would help me with my recovery. I assume that he alerted the kitchen and wait staff, because they made suggestions to me and provided alternatives until I recovered my appetite.

Starting with food, there were always at least two choices of appetizer, entree and dessert for lunch and dinner. And the food was excellent. There was a buffet breakfast that included the best fruit we had on our trip, plus a choice of eggs. The soups were out of this world, the best I have had anywhere. On days when (feeling better) we took full day hikes, the lunches included three half sandwiches, one each of fish, meat and vegetarian. There were plenty of snacks to take along. The guides carried soup, coffee, tea and Bailey's Irish Cream.

The number of excursions were more than one could do in the four or eight night stays that the hotel offers. The hiking ranged from day long challenging hikes to short hikes with excellent views. The hotel gave water bottles to each guest on arrival. It also provided walking sticks. All of the guides were experienced and outstanding. Before, during and even after trips, the guides checked to make sure that our needs were met. I only mention Gino, Sasha, Cami and Lucho, so that Gino can see his name for a second time on Trip Advisor and so that the others can gain some recognition themselves. The hiking groups were limited to eight. For very popular hikes, there was more than one group so that no group exceeded eight. This provided a chance to get to know other hikers. One could see in the bar and dining room that friends made during the day gravitated to each other in the evenings.

I went horse back riding with the gauchos one day; my wife went twice. The rides were set up based on our riding experience and my wife had the opportunity to gallop on the pampas. I missed the chance to drink matte with the gauchos, my only disappointment.

The hotel is situated on Lake Pehoe with a spectacular view of the Horns of Torres del Paine. You can see the Horns from the dining and sitting area and from most rooms. One could easily sleep with the blinds up in order to wake to the view. Oh, and the rooms were beautiful and the beds extraordinarily comfortable.

The one thing that stands out is that no staff member said no to any request. If we did not get an immediate yes, we got a "Let's see what we can do," almost always followed by a yes or an acceptable counter proposal.

Explora is very expensive, but I am happy to say it was worth the cost.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Old_guy_and_wife_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
exploraSA, CEO / Gerente General at explora Patagonia - All Inclusive, responded to this reviewResponded June 13, 2013

Dear traveler,

Thank you so very much for your very kind and detailed review.

In the world of hospitality we always aspire to perfection, which can be elusive and dependent on many variables. When we feel we’ve “got it” it’s simply wonderful and I want to say how much I enjoy reading your kind feedback and hear about your explora experience.

I also want to thank you for kindly mentioning each guide by name. Our team is trained in the explora school of guides, were next to flora, fauna and certification as Wilderness First Responders aspiring guides will be tutored in our Art of Travel, which holds that travel is not about the destination but the journey; that in-depth exploration is the way to truly know the world around us.

Thank you again and look forward to seeing you in the near future.

Yours 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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Additional Information about explora Patagonia - All Inclusive

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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Torres del Paine National Park
#2 Luxury Hotel in Torres del Paine National Park
#3 Romantic Hotel in Torres del Paine National Park
Price Range: $1,338 - $2,087 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — explora Patagonia - All Inclusive 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 - All Inclusive Aisen Region/Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile

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