If you’re heading to the southernmost city in the world, you’re after an adventure – and these places to stay are there for the ride.
“It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine…” There really are no better words than REM’s to summarize otherworldly Ushuaia at the tail end of Argentina – the world’s southernmost city. Huddling beneath stark peaks on the confetti-like Patagonian archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, nature’s raw power is ever-palpable in this city at the ends of the earth. Lovers of extremes flock here, with this being the jumping-off point for trips around the islands and further south to Antarctica – and choice of hotels is accordingly huge.
Above Ushuaia in the Cerro Alarkén Nature Reserve, a mountain zone of jagged peaks, glaciers and forests, you don’t get much closer to wilderness while retaining creature comforts than at Arakur. At this five-star lodging, rooms are sophisticated but uncomplicated; with each overlooking the Beagle Channel or mountainscapes, panoramas do the talking. Try fabulous Fuegian restaurant fare (Argentinean barbecue, spider crab), work out to delightful vistas in the gym or take a guided hike into the great outdoors immediately beyond. Indoor and outdoor pools, and toasty jacuzzis, take in the city and sea.
The looping road of Luis Fernando Martial ascends from Ushuaia towards the dramatic Martial glacier, and this is one of the first resorts you encounter – and perhaps, the handsomest, with its stately turret peeping over the forest-cloaked lower slopes of the mountains. The rooms have either Beagle Channel or mountain views, and the sumptuous Restaurant Le Martial (Patagonian toothfish, anyone?) looks down over Ushuaia to the sea. The well-equipped spa has a gym, pool, two jacuzzis and steam baths – great for guarding against the fierce Patagonian climate.
Mint-green Los Acebos, occupying a lush rural location amid forested mountainside on the winding road up towards the Martial glacier, does not look quite as impressive as the Las Hayas Ushuaia Resort next door. However, run by the same parent company, Tremun Hoteles, it also offers cheaper rates for the same spectacular combination of Beagle Channel and mountain panoramas. We challenge you to resist a gasp at the gobsmacking views of Ushuaia and its peak-flanked bay from the restaurant.
Ushuaia’s only luxury lodging right on the Beagle Channel seaboard resembles a scene from a fairytale: its pitch-roofed buildings huddling with the sea in front and brooding mountains behind. Inside, it demonstrates that high-end has nothing to do with elevation, boasting a snug dining area exquisitely finished in pinewood and a waterside spa where you can recline on an open-air terrace with the sea directly below you. The unique array of tours feature Beagle Channel cruises and visits to penguin colonies.
A few blocks back from the bayside, with a fittingly nautical exterior of maritime blues and whites, the Alto Andino plumps for reds and chocolate browns inside that make for one of the coziest hotel interiors in Ushuaia. The huge Argentinean-international breakfast is served in Bar Lookout, with its terrace yielding 360-degree city panoramas: free snacks are also laid out come evening.
Just back from the water’s edge, sitting plum on Ushuaia’s main drag, there is no more conveniently located hotel for the city’s amenities than this (don’t miss the curio-laden, museum-like bakery and bar Ramos Generales). Rather than naranjo (orange), the hotel is custard cream, brown and white, but the interior woodwork, from the elaborate beams in the dining room and bedrooms to the wood-paneled lounge, lends this central lodging the overall rustic-sleek feel of a Canadian mountain retreat.
A mouthful to say, but more inviting to stay at, this Wyndham hotel gives you a warm welcome with its striking wood-paneled lobby centered on a roaring fire. It sits on the snaking road up from Ushuaia towards the Martial glacier, with the green-roofed four-floor lodging right under the city’s devastatingly beautiful and dramatic mountains. Ask about hiking and skiing around the glacier, which the hotel can help you organize.
Much thought has gone into the design of centrally located Cilene del Faro, an upmarket offering crowned in a faro (lighthouse) where the smallest size of accommodation available is a suite, complete with a bathtub in the en-suite and a well-appointed kitchen – should these not be roomy enough, there are also eight bigger apartments and two master suites with 100sqm (1,075sqft) of space. Local activities? Choose from a helicopter flight over dazzling nearby mountainscapes, or a husky ride.