EPI­CURE LOOK­BOOK

Kachi Lodge

Epicure - - CONTENTS -

Pic­ture this: a sprawl­ing salt flat that stretches far into the hori­zon. It’s lo­cated at the base of a dor­mant vol­cano of which therein lies a cave of mum­mies. It sounds like the per­fect recipe for a bizarre science fic­tion story set on some dis­tant planet, but it is in fact the set­ting for the new Kachi Lodge. Lo­cated in Salar de Uyuni, one of the top tourism des­ti­na­tions in south­west Bo­livia, the fu­tur­is­tic lodge sits atop the breath­tak­ing nat­u­ral land­scape of the Uyuni Salt Flats, mea­sur­ing at an al­ti­tude of 3,600 me­tres at the foot of the Tunupa Vol­cano in south­west Bo­livia.

Opened in Fe­bru­ary, Kachi Lodge is owned by Vin­cent Raisière, who is also the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of be­spoke travel com­pany, Amaz­ing Es­capes, Raisière has built the camp­site to take ad­van­tage of the jaw-drop­ping views of the ‘world’s largest mir­ror’. It’s a stun­ning nat­u­ral phe­nom­e­non when the flat is cov­ered by a layer of water while of­fer­ing guests ex­clu­sive ac­cess to the lower reaches of the area. Each of the six fu­tur­is­tic domes is con­nected to one an­other by wooden walk­ways, which also lead to the restau­rant: a pop-up by Gustu, which ranks 28th on Latin Amer­ica’s World’s 50 Best Restau­rants 2017.

A lit­tle known fact about the domes: they are in­vented in the 1950s by famed Amer­i­can ar­chi­tect, Buck­min­ster Fuller. And are the light­est, strong­est, and most cost-ef­fec­tive struc­ture ever de­vised. It is able to cover more space (with­out in­ter­nal sup­port) than any other en­clo­sure. It be­comes pro­por­tion­ally lighter and stronger the larger it is. And based on this con­cept, Amaz­ing Es­capes thought it would be per­fect to with­stand the harsh weather in the salt flat. The pods are not only aero­dy­namic, it also has a dy­namic cen­ter of grav­ity that stands strong against wind, plus its ge­om­e­try al­lows proper cir­cu­la­tion of the am­bi­ent air with lit­tle en­ergy in­put.

An oth­er­worldly ex­pe­ri­ence

With a series of metal­lic struc­tures fea­tur­ing trans­par­ent pan­els on the front and top, the Dome camp looks like a space sta­tion. When the sun sets and the sky turns dark, it will cer­tainly feel like you are in outer space with the twin­kling stars as the back­drop.

The so­lar pow­ered, igloo-style struc­tures are all el­e­vated on a wooden plat­form above the salty sur­face. The de­sign pro­tects the frag­ile land­scape un­der­neath and en­sures the lodge can re­main open dur­ing the an­nual rainy sea­son, when the Salar’s sur­face turns into a wa­tery mir­ror that re­flects the vast ex­panses of Bo­li­vian sky above.

Yet, within each dome lies the mak­ings of a five-star ho­tel, with private bath­rooms and com­fort­able bed­ding. Each pod is out­fit­ted with wooden de­sign pieces which cel­e­brate the indige­nous in­flu­ences in Bo­livia, a plush dou­ble bed po­si­tioned to pro­vide max­i­mum views out of the dome’s clear-pan­elled ‘win­dows’, cash­mere blan­kets, high-thread count sheets, a wood­burn­ing stove to keep the space warm overnight (tem­per­a­tures can dip as low as zero dgree even dur­ing high sum­mer), and en

suite bath­rooms com­plete with run­ning hot and cold water. The lat­ter is a rare lux­ury that’s out of bounds here. And even oxy­gen, in light of the 12,000 ft al­ti­tude.

A no­madic-chic aes­thetic dom­i­nates the cen­tral dome. Mul­ti­coloured Moroc­can lanterns il­lu­mi­nate it, and large cush­ions are strewed around low ta­bles dec­o­rated with cop­per floor lanterns and prim­i­tive wooden bowls.

The private bath­rooms use so­lar pan­els to re­cy­cle water, but the high­light above and beyond any­thing else has to be the unique and com­pletely undis­turbed views of a sun­rise over the vast ex­panse of the Salar that you wake up to ev­ery morn­ing. It’s some­thing nowhere else can give you,.

Ripe for ex­plo­ration

The vast white plain of­fers nu­mer­ous ac­tiv­i­ties for vis­i­tors to en­joy, de­pend­ing on the sea­sons. Pre­his­tor­i­cally, the salt flats were once a mas­sive lake. As it turned into a salt plain over time, the lakebed has be­come small is­lands that dot the sur­face of the land mass.

Within walk­ing dis­tance of the domes is one such is­land, cov­ered in gi­ant cacti and of­fers an even greater view of the Salar, thanks to its el­e­va­tion. Guests can also visit the more fre­quented is­land of Inca Huasi, which is lo­cated 30 min­utes away, are also pos­si­ble. The area also con­tains nu­mer­ous ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ar­eas, such as Al­caya, the ru­ins of an old, pre-colom­bian city. The cave of mum­mies can be found near the vil­lage of Co­quesa. For the ad­ven­tur­ous, the ru­ral charm of the ac­tual vil­lage is ripe for ex­plo­ration.

Be it an es­capade into the soli­tude of the salt flats or a deep dis­cov­ery of Bo­li­vian pre­his­tory, the Kachi Lodge of­fers are of the

ex­pe­ri­ence.e most un­for­get­table travel

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