From a new luxurious lodge in southern Chile to Panama’s ongoing luxury boom, there have been quite a few announcements of high-end products coming out of Central and South America lately. Travel Agent breaks down the latest luxury news out of this region that agents should keep an eye on.
New Lodge in Chile
Refugia Lodge will open September 1 on Chiloé Island in southern Chile, bringing a touch of luxury and comfort to a region known for its rusticity and strong ties to a bygone era.
Blending with its surroundings, the 12-room Refugia Lodge is an architectural work of art that pays homage to the "Chilote" mastery of wood craftsmanship, providing a warm and cozy base for travelers to explore the cultural and natural riches of Chiloé. Refugia sits atop a rolling hill with beautiful views of the Reloncaví Sound and the snowcapped peaks of the Andes in the distance, just 20 minutes from the capital city Castro. With all-inclusive packages that include deluxe accommodations, a spa, all meals, excursions, and airport transportation, guests arrive and leave everything to Refugia's friendly and welcoming staff.
Named by the New York Times as one of the "45 Places to Go in 2012," the Chiloé Archipelago is culturally and ethnically distinct from mainland Chile due to hundreds of years of relative isolation. It is a region heavily influenced by myths and folklore, a culture shaped by harsh weather and the influence of Spanish conquistadors, Jesuit priests, seafarers and pirates. Chiloé offers dramatic Pacific coastline and quiet forested inlets scattered with tiny islands reached by boat or a vehicle ferry. Chiloé's iconic Jesuit churches, 14 of which are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites, rise majestically in every cove.
On an island known for limited lodging options, Refugia gives clients a chance to immerse themselves in Chiloé tradition while enjoying cozy accommodations, personalized service and delicious cuisine that uses locally sourced products and freshly caught seafood, accompanied by fine Chilean wines. Refugia fuses regional architectural techniques with avant-garde design, occupying wood-shingled exteriors and elevating part of the lodge with cement pillars in a style influenced by the island's famous "palafito" homes on stilts. Local artisans crafted virtually every interior element of Refugia, including the island's distinctive woolen blankets and rugs, custom-designed wood furniture, sheepskin chairs, and arts-and-crafts decor.
Refugia Lodge rates include lodging, excursions, all meals and beverages, and transportation from the airport in Puerto Montt (new direct flights from Santiago to Castro begin in December 2012). The lodge has 12 guest rooms with large picture windows and views of the sound, an excursion and reading room to plan daily activities, and a spa with Jacuzzi, steam bath, sauna and massage. Daily excursions take travelers to remote coves and villages aboard a traditional Chilote boat to learn about and experience the Chilote's singular culture. Excursions also include trekking through rainforest, visits to penguin colonies, bicycling, horseback riding and more. Visit www.refugia.cl.
Panama’s Luxury Boom Continues
TRYP by Wyndham Panama Centro has debuted in the heart of Panama City as the third Wyndham property in Panama's capital, joining Veneto - A Wyndham Grand Hotel and Wyndham Garden Panama City. It will be the first hotel in South America to be managed by Wyndham Hotel Management Inc.
The hotel is located twelve miles from the Tocumen International Airport in the upscale El Cangrejo/Bella Vista area. Restaurants, nightlife and shopping are steps away, and the location is convenient for day trips to the Panama Canal or Casco Viejo, Panama City's historic center.
Rooms are equipped with 32-inch flat screen televisions, complimentary Wi-Fi, coffee makers and scenic city views. There are also family rooms and fitness rooms available with treadmills and complimentary workout gear.
TRYP by Wyndham Panama Centro also has an outdoor pool, onsite dining, free breakfast, health spa and state-of-the-art fitness center. Those traveling on business will find three banquet halls and a VIP room, with space for up to 120 guests. Visit www.tryphotels.com.
Also in Panama, formerly known as The Panamera, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the newly named Waldorf Astoria Panama is located in the heart of the entertainment area, just 20 minutes from the Panama Canal and 25 minutes from Tocumen International Airport (PTY). The hotel has 248 guest rooms and luxury residences suited with fine linens, marble bathrooms and walk-in rain showers. Other amenities include a Life Fitness center, 2,000 square-foot spa and outdoor swimming pool. Level 5 - a multi-event venue - will offer 3,500 square-feet of meeting space including three multi-purpose rooms and a ballroom.
Clients will have ample dining options, with four restaurants and bars onsite including Ginger, a sushi bar and lounge, and Bungalow Terrace & Pool Bar for poolside dining. Brasserie Brillo will also be available for casual all-day dining and local ingredients.
The hotel is scheduled to open this year and is now accepting reservations for 2013. Rates start at $219 per night. Visit www.waldorfastoriapanama.com.
Colombia’s First W Hotel Set to Open in Bogota in 2014
Meanwhile in Colombia, W Hotels Worldwide announced earlier this summer that it has signed an agreement with Terranum Hotels to debut a new W Hotel in Bogota, Colombia.
Slated to open in 2014, W Bogota will be a part of a larger mixed-use development, which will also include premium office space and high-end retail. W Bogota will be located in the heart of the fashionable Usaquen district in the northern part of the city, just steps away from the neighborhood's trendy restaurants, cafes and shopping.
W Bogota will provide an integrated contemporary lifestyle experience, offering 168 guestrooms, including 20 suites and one Extreme Wow Suite (the W brand's interpretation of the Presidential Suite), the signature W Lounge experience (the W take on the traditional hotel lobby), destination restaurant and nightclub, Away spa, and a 3,000-square-foot fitness center. The hotel will also be an ideal venue for meetings with more than 12,000 square feet of function space, including a Great Room and five meeting rooms. Clients will also be treated to the W brand's popular Whatever/Whenever service philosophy, providing clients with whatever they want, whenever they want it.
W Bogota will be located only seven miles from the El Dorado International Airport in one of the premium areas in Colombia's capital city, where many of the most prominent companies are based. Visit www.whotels.com.
And keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all the latest news coming out of Latin America.