Hotel Las Torres - Torres Del Paine
I can summarize this place in three letters - wow. You can stop reading here, but if you must continue. The moment we walked into the lobby we knew we were in for a treat. This was no check-yourself-in hotel and here’s your room key. They had someone outside that grabbed our bags and took everything to our room; his name was Felipe interesting enough, so kind and helpful. The beds were huge and comfortable. Our window looked out the front of the hotel, onto a beautiful grassy field and mountains on the horizon. We were so tired from hiking and camping for three straight nights. However, the excitement of being in such a beautiful place sent inspiring energy into each one of us. Even with the lack of sleep, it was easy to get up.
For sunrise we went to the east side of the park, I didn’t mention it earlier, but the hotel is inside the park, yes INSIDE. Instead of having to drive a couple of hours to make our way to the park, we woke up were in there. Just that alone itself makes it worth staying there - I must say. The weather, on the other hand, was not so lovely. The weather in Patagonia is hugely unpredictable, and you might get rained on, snowed on, or blown away by the strong gusts of wind anytime, its a landscape photographers dream (LOL).
The hotel was so comfortable that it was easy spending the rainy mornings and afternoons inside, and staying indoors is a tough thing for me to do. Many of the excursions went on rain or shine. It was merely a deal breaker because our gear simply cannot get soaked. We were also getting ready for our 3:00 am hike the next morning. The hotel provided us with am excursion guide, not a tour guide - this was no tour, it was a mission! At first, I wondered who would be crazy enough to want to go up with some photographers that early in the morning, and I also wondered how grumpy this person was going to be, poor guy. Once again I was shocked. Our tour guide Pablo was incredibly prepared and eager to take us to the summit. He had gloves, hiking sticks, he even had our to-go breakfasts ready for us, they thought of everything!
Our hike up took 2:21:04 in a 3.64 miles trek with 3,041 feet of elevation. I burned over 1,100 calories on the way up, and my average heart rate was 150BPM over the 2 hours. This is to say, this was no easy walk in the park. I would not recommend this if you are not in good shape, at least not at 3 in the morning when its dark and below freezing temperatures. However, we had to make it up there for this…
My friend Neill proposed to his girlfriend Tiffani on the summit, during sunrise, totally landscape photographer cheesy stuff. Check out my proposal to Cassi, another cheese job.
However, yes, she said yes, thankfully.
Another experience was how knowledgeable the excursion guides were, throughout our hike up and while at the top, Pablo taught us all so much about Chile, Patagonia, local climate and geology, It was like attending a live geography course in the field.
I honestly cannot say how amazing it was staying there. The staff was so amazing and accommodating; we literally had a conversation about how their answer is “Let me figure out a way” instead of “I don’t know” or “no,” they FOUND a way to make everything that we asked for work. One example of how different they were than any other services we have had (even in the US), they remembered the menus that we liked, we did not have to ask for a Vegetarian menu, or a dessert menu, or Water vs. soda, they remembered our preferences from the first night and we had to ask for anything hardly. We rain or shine, convenient or inconvenient. Ah, and the food, the best food I ate on this entire trip to Argentina/Chile. The following night we talked about how much we had missed the food.
Thank you for reading, I really appreciate everyone following me along this photography journey.