Journeys: Above the Noise: Lake District Lodging
The resort town of San Carlos de Bariloche sits on the southeastern shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi, two and a half hours southwest of Buenos Aires by plane. Bariloche’s surroundings, which have been protected as national parkland since the 1930s, include Andes peaks, glacial lakes, ski areas, and small towns with a surprising number of fine lodgings. Clients of adventure travel company Blue Parallel frequently stay at the Estancia Peuma Hue in Cabecera Sur del Lago Gutiérrez, Las Balsas in Villa la Angostura, and the Llao Llao Hotel & Resort.
Estancia Peuma Hue: Former psychiatrist Evelyn Hoter opened this 500-acre ranch property on the southern shore of Lake Gutiérrez in 2003. Built entirely with local materials (even the furniture), the inn consists of 12 suites in two lodges and two cabins, one of which sits several hundred feet up a mountain. In the suites, bathroom tiles feature hand-carved petroglyphs that are modeled after the Paleo-Indian examples found in the surrounding mountains. The master suite in the main lodge provides views of the lake and Mount D’Agostini through massive windows and from a private veranda.
Llao Llao Hotel & Resort: On a hill high above the village of the same name, the Llao Llao Hotel & Resort affords spectacular mountain vistas, rivaling those of Zermatt, Switzerland, but more reminiscent—because the Llao Llao sits between two lakes—of Interlaken’s. The hotel, which dates to 1940, has 147 guest rooms and 11 suites, and a 42-room extension is under construction and set to open this fall. Most of the rooms and each of the hotel’s five restaurants offer views of the volcanic Mount Tronador towering over nearby Lake Moreno. However, the best place to take in the scenery is on the veranda of the Lobby Bar, where a wine tasting of Argentine vintages can be arranged. The hotel also has a spa and an 18-hole golf course on the lake.
Las Balsas: Fifty miles north of Bariloche is Villa la Angostura, a tiny hamlet sandwiched between snowcapped peaks and the northern reaches of Lago Nahuel Huapi. Las Balsas, set at the end of a mile-long dirt road outside of town, is a beautiful 15-room hotel directly on the water. In the El Bayo Suite, a wide window seat resembles a fish eagle’s perch above the lake. The hotel’s restaurant serves excellent native fare, including Patagonian trout with a thyme crust, which sommelier Paolo Abad will pair with a local vintage from the extensive wine cellar. At the spa, an indoor/outdoor lakeside pool is heated to 100 degrees.