Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Magic Mountain Lodge of Chile’s Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve

A hotel perched high up on a mountain makes for a lovely getaway, but how about a hotel in a mountain? Although the Magic Mountain Lodge (La Montaña Mágica Lodge) might be more of a hill than a mountain in size, there is no disputing the fact that it is one of a kind. Located in the Huilo-Hiulo Biological Reserve of Southern Chile, the Magic Mountain Lodge is cleverly concealed within a mountain of stone, plants, and running water that reflect the natural surroundings and the reserve’s dedication to wildlife conservation.

The Huilo-Huilo nature reserve includes 232 square-miles of forest owned by the businessman Victor Petermann. The reserve was purchased in 1999 with the intention of creating an ecotourist destination of a four-star caliber. Though the hotel may be far off the beaten path, once you arrive you’ll find that nothing is lacking: even the internet awaits you at this remote hotel.
 Seeing as the hotel’s design is based on the shape of a mountain, this is what dictates the interior layout. The size of the nine rooms, each named after a local bird, gradually decrease in size as you move toward the top, or peak, of the hotel. Guests access their rooms via a spiraling central staircase built with local stone and wood, while the main access to the hotel is a suspended wood and cable bridge. The interior of the rooms are in keeping with the hotel’s blend of elegance and ecotourism, and feature rough-hewn planks along the walls, as well as other finely crafted wooden furniture.

As pleasant as the rooms are, it is what you can enjoy from the comfort of these rooms that makes this hotel so unique. From the top of the Magic Mountain Lodge, a waterfall streams down past the bedroom windows. Not only do guests get the experience of living inside of a mountain, they also get to peer out from behind a waterfall. This is how the hotel rightfully earns its title as a Magic Mountain. While some hotels strive to produce a calming effect with recordings of running water, here you just listen to the water running along the exterior of your room. This lodge, rather than only position guests to look out on the surrounding natural beauty, places them within it and encourages a deep connection with the reserve.
The small hotel has its own restaurant featuring local dishes and some of Chile’s finest wines. After mealtime, you might want to soak in one of the hot tubs carved out of tree trunks and perched on a deck overlooking the forest. Beyond the hotel, the Huilo-Huilo reserve is home to a number of unique attractions, including year-round skiing, the longest zip-line in South America, the Huilo-Huilo falls, and the world’s smallest deer, the Pudú.

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