A sin­gu­lar sen­sa­tion


The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SALLY FELD­MAN

A LONG drive through the raw, bleakly beau­ti­ful ex­panse of Chilean Patag­o­nia — flamin­gos mir­rored in a lake, a huaso (gau­cho) shep­herd­ing his flock across the dun-coloured land­scape, the An­des a con­stant, brood­ing back­drop — is a fit­ting in­tro­duc­tion to The Sin­gu­lar.

This lodge-style ho­tel, set on the edge of the Senoret Chan­nel, was orig­i­nally Frig­ori­fico Puerto Borie, a pro­cess­ing and ex­port­ing fa­cil­ity for Patag­o­nia’s sheep in­dus­try. Now, its ar­chi­tec­tural bones have been reimag­ined into a lux­u­ri­ous liv­ing mu­seum.

Not that there’s any­thing ar­chaic about the fa­cil­i­ties. Fifty-four gue­strooms and three suites lead off long, metal-lined, wood-slat­ted cor­ri­dors, each with sweep­ing views across the wa­ter to the snow-capped peaks of Tor­res del Paine Na­tional Park and down to the lights of Puerto Natales.

The gen­er­ously pro­por­tioned rooms are fur­nished with an equal mea­sure of mod­ern sim­plic­ity and tra­di­tional com­fort; there’s a vast, squashy arm­chair per­fectly po­si­tioned to take in the chang­ing light, an An­des-scale bed is cen­tred for op­ti­mum dawn view­ing. Fur­ni­ture is an eclec­tic mix — my bed­side ta­ble is an an­tique escritoire adorned with sepia portraits from the prop­erty’s com­mer­cial hey­day.

Bath­rooms are gor­geous, with glacier-sized free­stand­ing white baths. Or­ganic prod­ucts, by French com­pany Da­mana, are dis­played apothe­carystyle in wooden boxes.

The Sin­gu­lar is an in­ge­nious in­te­gra­tion of amenity and his­tory. A walk­way to the restau­rant and lounge bar passes through at­mo­spher­i­cally lit gal­leries of hulk­ing, Vic­to­rian-era ma­chin­ery, while nar­row win­dows re­veal snap­shots of in­dus­trial out­build­ings among wav­ing grasses. From its en­trance, the restau­rant and bar area — tow­er­ing wooden beams, raw brick walls, mot­ley leather arm­chairs, plump lounges and strands of lights — is a dizzy­ing clut­ter. But, once set­tled at a ta­ble near the open kitchen, it’s all about head chef Lau­rent Pasqualetto’s menu, and its fo­cus on lo­cal and indi- genous pro­duce. A bowl of lus­cious sea urchin is served ce­viche- style with scal­lops and cit­rus; a moun­tain of sweet king crab is paired with green ap­ple. A sim­ply grilled fil­let of gua­naco (na­tive llama) is ten­der and gen­tly gamy and lamb (of course) comes all ways, ev­ery­thing com­ple­mented by a wine list show­cas­ing a spec­trum of re­gional Chilean wines.

The prop­erty’s black­smith’s forge has just been rein­car­nated as El Asado, an on-trend 20-seater spe­cial­is­ing in tra­di­tional bar­be­cued meats, in­clud­ing rab­bit and hare.

Be­fore (or af­ter) din­ner, ease the day’s ex­er­tions with a spa treat­ment us­ing prod­ucts based on lo­cal plants and fruits. But for this guest, noth­ing tops watch­ing a flock of caiquin geese skim­ming the hori­zon from the van­tage of the spa’s in­door/out­door swim­ming pool. Sally Feld­man was a guest of The Sin­gu­lar, ProChile and Qan­tas.

Gue­strooms have sweep­ing views across the Senoret Chan­nel

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