You wouldn’t think a place in the shadow of a volcano that emits a constant stream of smoke would be a haven of relaxation, but down an unpaved road, &Beyond Vira Vira exudes a bucolic peace. In a palette of greens and woods in southern Chile’s Lake District, &Beyond’s first lodge in South America is made up of six suites, 12 villas, and a five-bedroom hacienda, all clad in buttery yellow wood to embrace the elevated cabin experience. With large windows to take in the landscapes, each room is bright, comfortable, and imbued with personal touches. “Everything is simple but we try to do things from here,” says commercial manager Mariann Leniz, pointing out knobs made of stone from the river. “It’s not the work of a designer. Everything was handpicked.” That’s likely why the lodge feels so homey—the interiors are thought out without being overly manicured.
Much of the charm of the place comes from its grounds, which are set on a 54-acre park along 822 metres of river frontage. Sheep graze alongside black-faced ibis. The clear Liucura River babbles alongside the cozy villas, each with a fireplace and a private stone outdoor bath. A 200-year-old chestnut tree holds court over an open field dotted with apple trees and a nearby organic vegetable patch. In another building, the master cheesemaker whips up creations for the hotel’s guests. Two wood-fired hot tubs at opposite edges of the property make for secluded riverside relaxation. A small well-curated on-site shop carries beautifully crafted local artisan wares—their sizable sheep sculptures, made with Chilean wool, are particularly popular if you can get one home.
Overlooking a misty lagoon, the hotel’s restaurant, in the main lodge, is a testament to the culinary power of the farm-to-table concept. Sourcing ingredients from the lodge’s gardens and local farmers, the ever-changing menu is always fresh, flavourful, and well-balanced thanks to French-trained chef Damián Fernández.
Days are filled with hikes and boat rides, skiing and heli-biking—or simply enjoying the fresh air and good food. Crafted for countryside relaxation, a stay at &Beyond Vira Vira means a true getaway in a place that feels exempt from the passage of time.
How to get there: LATAM is the largest airline in Latin America and they offer direct flights from New York and Los Angeles to Santiago. From there, LATAM runs multiple flights to Temuco every day. From Temuco, it’s about two hours by car to get to the lodge.
Photos courtesy of andBeyond.