Patagonia Converts Sheep Factory to Luxury Adventure Hotel
PATAGONIA, CHILE - After nearly a century, the landmarked post-Victorian circa 1915 Bories Cold Storage Plant will breathe new life with the December debut of The Singular Patagonia
Set on nearly 100 acres overlooking the Fjord of Last Hope along the shores of the Señoret Channel in Southern Chile, the 57-room soon to be LEED-certified Singular Patagonia, resurrected by fourth generation relatives of the plant’s founders, pays homage to the once thriving factory’s historic past while delivering all of the conveniences and comforts guests expect today. The new property will also offer guests the singular adventure of exploring a pristine verdant landscape heretofore not accessible to the public and reserved exclusively for their enjoyment.
When pioneer Jose Menendez, the great, great, great, great grandfather of co-owners the Sahli-Lecaros family, descended upon Puerto Natales, Patagonia in the late 1800s he did not envision a future where anything (or anyone) other than the sheep he transported to and from Europe would be "guests" on his land.
Menendez, along with other pioneers and entrepreneurial businessmen, formed the Sociedad Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego, which prompted the rapid growth of a flourishing sheep farming industry. At the center of the burgeoning industry was the Bories Cold Storage plant built by the Sociedad to process the millions of sheep, and their byproducts, which were subsequently distributed to major European markets.
After 70 years in operation, the demise of the industry in the 1980’s brought upon the factory’s disrepair luckily to later be rescued by the Great Grandchildren of one of the factory’s original employees Mr. John MacLean Fraser and subsequently declared a National Monument in 1996. With the hopes of continuing the family’s impact on the area and economy for generations to come, the MacLean family turned to the Sahli-Lecaros family, also descendents of the plant’s original founders, to ready the building in partnership for its next chapter as a luxury hotel.
The Singular Patagonia’s design team, directed by famed Chilean interior designer Enrique Concha and local architect Pedro Kovacic, carefully combined the old industrial structure with a modern, sleek wing allowing for 57 oversized (starting at 500 sq ft) guestrooms with 10 ft floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the fjord and snow covered mountains beyond.
As the area was originally colonized by Europeans, the design scheme reflects classic European style executed through a minimalist lens to make the views of the breathtaking surroundings the main focus throughout the hotel. Respecting the purity of the area, the property has made social and eco-responsibility a priority and is intent on leaving as small a footprint as possible by utilizing modern green technologies and sustainable materials. Indeed, televisions in the rooms will be only offered upon request.
Guests of The Singular will feel like true pioneers as they explore private, pristine reserves (accessible only to them), in addition to other nearby natural wonders including the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park. The Singular’s dedicated and expertly-trained Expedition Team will lead nature-loving guests on a choice of 20 different expeditions, all with varying levels of difficulty. From trekking a private mountainous reserve to sailing or kayaking the fjords, connecting and communing with nature is guaranteed.
After a day of adventure, guests can retreat to The Singular’s Barbara Morrow designed 3,000 sq ft eco-SPA where sustainable tourism is evident by the use of organic plants and fruits for oil extracts and moisturizers woven into an array of pampering pleasures. The holistic-focused SPA features a heated indoor / outdoor swimming pool, sauna and steam room.
The indulgence continues in The Singular’s restaurant where Chef Laurent Pasqualetto will re-imagine traditional, local recipes; fully respecting the region’s culture and its rich byproducts. Most of the elements used in the kitchen will be natural including the strict use of only non-caged / bred animals.
The menu will focus on local products, both grown in the hotel’s garden and sourced locally, including tooth fish, golden eel, Patagonian hare, lamb, white strawberries, rhubarb, algae, seaweed and Patagonian honey. Accompanying the delectable dishes coming out of the kitchen graced with as much beauty as the surroundings will be a wine list based on the local terroir, presenting the best selections (roughly 16) from each grape-growing valley of Chile.
Further connecting guests to the property’s historic importance, The Singular Patagonia will house a museum in the original industrial section illustrating the history of the region and the significance of the factory in the development of the area.
Although the century old building reflects the architecture and style of the early 1900s, nothing is more representative of the era at the hotel than the original British machinery room whose boilers - the same as the ones that powered the Titanic - produced the steam which produced the cold for the freezer and electricity. Also on display will be a restored 1913 train car once used to transport items between the plant and the town of Puerto Natales.
Despite being almost at the end of the earth, The Singular Patagonia is quite accessible still through Santiago, Chile or Buenos Aires, Argentina. From Santiago, guests fly three-and-a-half hours to Punta Arenas and then drive two-and-half hours to the hotel.
From Buenos Aires, it’s a three-and-a half hour flight to El Calafate and then a four-hour drive. Transfers to / from both Punta Arenas and Calafate are complimentary for guests staying at least three nights on a full board plan versus simply bed and breakfast.
Now accepting reservations, The Singular Patagonia is set to open December 1, 2011 with rates starting at $660 per night. For more information and reservations, please visit www.thesingular.com