The bold monolith of Arakur Resort & Spa resolutely surveys from its mountaintop perch the whole of the town known as "the end of the world," Ushuaia. Some people have likened its unadorned shape to that of a bunker squatting in its own eyrie 250 metres above sea level.
Built five years ago, Arakur Resort & Spa is a privately owned venture. From an industrial business to tourism, the founding family wanted to give something back to the locals of Ushuaia. The hotel frequently hosts musical concerts and has become the place to go for a dose of culture.
A morphing of architectural inspiration and the owners' love of design, Arakur Ushuaia is actually within the Cerro Alarkén Natural Reserve. It's mere minutes from downtown Ushuaia, 14km from the famous Tierra del Fuego National Park, and only 10km from the international airport.
Snuggled into a native forest with panoramic views over the town, the bay, and Beagle Channel, the construction is based on sustainable architecture with attributes of elegant decor. The interior stone columns have been constructed from stone carved out of the mountain when the winding road up to its naturally landscaped balcony was constructed. Every element, from the wooden tables to the leather adornments have a local or Argentinian flavor and origin.
Arakur Resort & Spa is striking and majestic with interior warmth that defies its exterior design. High ceilings create spaciousness in its open-plan layout, where plush and cozy nooks have been created. The hallways are dimly lit, and the eyes are always drawn to the view outside the massive glass windows.
When I was a guest at Arakur Resort & Spa, it was snowing, coating the surrounds in a blanket of white.
Number of Nights Stayed - 2 nights in a double superior sea room
The Guest Room
A boutique hotel with only 66 stunning and uncluttered guest rooms, Arakur Resort & Spa offers the chance to unwind in luxurious surrounds with views to die for. It offers everything you could possibly want, from a large comfy bed wrapped in sumptuous linen to bathrobes for that after-shower cozy vibe.
Contemporary and sleek, the guest rooms feature comfort technology, from turning the lights on or off to opening the curtains. If you want to splash out, there are senior suites that have two rooms—a living/sitting room and a bedroom. You don't have to panic if you need to do some work, as there is a desk area to work from.
The ensuite bathrooms are bright and airy, complete with bidet and rainshower, where the lemon soap infuses the air under the hot water.
Hotel Restaurants, Bars & Facilities
Even if it's snowing outside, and you don't want to play in the snow, you can indulge in decadent spa treatments. Chill-out and wallow in the indoor swimming pool of 38 degrees, or check out the hot tubs clinging to the cliff face in the crisp air. You can enjoy the massaging of the water jets and keep the kids happy in their own pool area.
There's an indoor poolside cafe/bar to grab a freshly squeezed juice, an extra shot of caffeine, or simply sit and gaze at the world beyond through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The well-equipped gym overflowing with Technogym exercise machines is the place to head to if you want a workout.
Reception can help you out with organizing tours such as a boat ride on the Beagle Channel to watch the wildlife or a 4 x 4 excursion into the incredible Patagonian landscape. For independent souls, you can walk out the front doors of the resort to trek one of the paths through the Cerro Alarkén nature reserve. Trekking guides can be arranged for the adventurous ones who wish to undertake a challenging trek. There is a shuttle bus in and out of town on an hourly basis.
The Lobby Bar is the gathering point for guests, whether it's for a light lunch of a Fuegian platter or a drink or two before dinner. In the late afternoons, a pianist tickling the ivories will entertain you, and the panoramic view will become a magnet for your eyes. It's like being in a theatre with plush chairs in front of a real-life show of perhaps fluffy snowflakes falling or sparkling city lights competing with a diamante studded skyline.
Arakur's La Cravia restaurant is a sublime setting where traditional Tierra del Fuego flavors will tantalize your tastebuds. Think spider crab, black hake, and local lamb. The breakfast buffet is served in the restaurant where fresh juice will wake you up, and you can order your eggs to be cooked exactly how you like them.
The staff members at Arakur Resort & Spa are super friendly, welcoming, and willing to go the extra length to ensure that your stay is stress-free and comfortable. From the moment you arrive, and your luggage is looked after, to walking into the expansive foyer, you will be graciously attended to with care and consideration.
If you don't speak Spanish, don't worry, as many staff are bilingual.
Arakur Resort & Spa is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. An outstanding property in a beautiful and remote location, it's where many people spend a few nights before jumping on a cruise to the Antarctic. Unparalleled views and exceptional service will have you believe you are up in the clouds at the end of the world.
Wise Traveller Approval Rating: 10 / 10
Gail Palethorpe, a self proclaimed Australian gypsy, is a freelance writer, photographer and eternal traveller. Check out her website Gail Palethorpe Photography and her Shutterstock profile.