The Most Amazing Luxury Hotels to Book in South America

Splash some cash and treat yourself to a one-of-a-kind getaway in South America
Splash some cash and treat yourself to a one-of-a-kind getaway in South America | Courtesy of Casa de Uco Vineyards and Wine Hotel / Expedia
Mandi Keighran

South America is home to some of the most incredible destinations in the world. If you’ve got money to spend, you can design the trip of a lifetime. Discover and book the best hotels in South America right here on Culture Trip.

South America is a continent of extreme diversity, with dramatic landscapes encompassing everything from the Amazon, the world’s longest river, to the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth. So, it’s no surprise that it’s also home to some of the most amazing experiences money can buy. From private vineyards set at the foothills of the Andes Mountains and a volcanic archipelago off the coast of Brazil, to a hotel on the shores of the majestic Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia built entirely from salt, this is our pick of the most amazing places to visit in South America if you don’t need to budget.

1. Teju-Açu Eco Pousada

Boutique Hotel

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Courtesy of Teju-Açu Eco Pousada / Expedia

If you’re in search of unspoiled wilderness, book a trip to Fernando de Noronha, a volcanic archipelago 350km (217mi) off the northeast coast of Brazil. Named after the largest island, the area is renowned for its pristine beaches, and warm, clear waters that are home to sea turtles, dolphins, reef sharks and rays – making it a paradise for scuba divers and snorkelers. Teju-Açu Eco Pousada is the perfect base from which to explore the wild beauty of the area, with a collection of 12 bungalows immersed in a lush jungle by the beach in Floresta Velha near Conceição Beach. A highlight is the open-air restaurant, which is set high among the treetops.

2. Casa de Uco Vineyards & Wine Hotel

Hotel

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Courtesy of Casa de Uco Vineyards and Wine Hotel / Expedia

Always dreamed of owning your own vineyard? This wine hotel in the Uco Valley in Mendoza, Argentina – one of the country’s top wine regions – can help bring those dreams to life. Set in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, the hotel gives guests the opportunity to invest in a private vineyard that will be managed by an agronomist team according to your farming plan. You can then pick your own grapes, participate in the grape selection at the winery and create your own blend. Or, you can simply sit back and enjoy the vineyard’s own wine with a traditional Argentinian barbecue cooked over open flames in the vineyard.

3. Hotel Palacio de Sal

Hotel

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Courtesy of Hotel Palacio de Sal / Expedia

Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flat, known for its sculptural rock formations, white salt plains and cacti-studded islands. Sitting on the shores of this strange landscape is an equally magical hotel, built entirely by salt. The Hotel Palacio de Sal was the dream of Don Juan Quesada Valda, who realized his vision in 1998. Since then, the hotel has expanded to encompass 4,500sqm (48,438sqft) built in the shape of an Andean cross. Immerse yourself even further in the landscape with a trip to the spa. The Juyu (salt) experience involves a bath in water from the eyes of the salt flat, followed by a salt scrub and wrap using mud from the nearby Tunupa volcano.

4. Mashpi Lodge

Eco-Lodge, Boutique Hotel, Spa Hotel

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Courtesy of Mashpi Lodge / Expedia

Immerse yourself in the Ecuadorian rainforest at Mashpi Lodge, a luxurious resort set on a scenic plateau that offers a similar experience to the Amazon – yet is conveniently located just an hour’s drive from the Ecuadorian capital of Quito. The lodge is in a former lumber mill and features floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows that allow guests to fully engage with the surrounding forest, which is home to towering trees, spectacular waterfalls and more than 400 species of birds. Join one of the guided hikes through the rainforest, or fly through the treetops in the hotel’s Dragonfly canopy gondola.

5. Tierra Atacama Hotel And Spa

Boutique Hotel, Spa Hotel

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Courtesy of Tierra Atacama Hotel And Spa / Expedia

The world’s driest desert, Atacama, is located high in northern Chile, and is a popular destination thanks to its dark night skies and moon-like landscapes that have been used as Mars expedition simulations. Designed by some of Chile’s most famous architects, this luxurious hotel and spa on the edge of San Pedro de Atacama features locally crafted design details, cozy fire pits and al fresco bathrooms for showering under the stars. The spa offers a deeper connection with the landscape with treatments incorporating natural ingredients from the region, such as sheep’s milk, honey and clay.

6. Country Club Lima Hotel

Boutique Hotel

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Courtesy of Country Club Lima Hotel / Expedia

Stay in a slice of Peruvian history at the Country Club Lima Hotel. The landmark hotel was constructed in the 1920s, and has had a rich and varied history – with celebrity guests ranging from American billionaire Nelson Rockefeller in the 1940s, to film star John Wayne, who met his Peruvian wife Pilar Pallete while staying at the hotel in the 1950s. In 2015, the hotel underwent a complete renovation led by renowned Argentinian architect Francisco Lopez Bustos, who transformed the historic hotel into a contemporary retreat for the most discerning guests. Don’t miss dinner at the flagship restaurant El Perroquet, where you’ll discover traditional Peruvian dishes, such as ceviche and charcoal grilled octopus.

7. Bastión Luxury Hotel

Boutique Hotel

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Courtesy of Bastión Luxury Hotel / Expedia

Located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, in Colombia’s Bolívar region, Cartagena des Indias is a magical city. It has charming colonial-style architecture and narrow stone lanes – which inspired author Gabriel García Márquez – and several beautiful islands and archipelagos to explore in the surrounding waters. This hotel in the city’s old town is built on the site of a 16th-century colonial house and has been designed to celebrate the spirit of the city. Think plush, European-style furnishings, romantic four-poster beds and a restaurant serving traditional dishes such as leche de tigre ceviche with seaweed salad, crunchy corn and fish crackling.

8. L'Auberge

Independent Hotel, Suite Hotel, Garden Hotel

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Courtesy of L'Auberge / Expedia

Punta del Este is known as one of the most exclusive resort towns in Uruguay, and is often referred to as the Monaco of South America thanks to its beaches, surfing and vibrant nightlife. L’Auberge is a five-star hotel in the prestigious Parque del Golf neighbourhood, near Brava Beach. It’s been welcoming well-heeled guests for 70 years. Make sure to book a table in the recently renovated Tea Room, which has long been known for its wide menu of delicious Belgian waffles. The home-made treats are served with toppings such as honey, chocolate, strawberries and savory options including melted cheese.

9. Gran Melia Caracas

Hotel

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Courtesy of Gran Melia Caracas / Booking.com

Venezuela’s vibrant capital Caracas is popular with tourists and business travelers alike, and both are well catered to at this five-star hotel in the center of town. Looking for a totally exclusive experience? Book into the Level at Meliá Caracas, a boutique hotel within the hotel that offers a range of personalized luxury experiences, such as the Level Lounge where you can enjoy sunset cocktails, and the best rooms in the hotel. The Piano Bar is also worth a visit – inspired by Hollywood’s Golden Age, it features marble statues, crystal chandeliers and live piano performances.

10. Aldebarán Hotel & Spa

Hotel

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Courtesy of Aldebaran Hotel and Spa / Expedia

The region of Patagonia in the southernmost part of South America is known for dramatic mountain peaks, glaciers and unique wildlife, such as pumas, kodkods and Darwin’s foxes, making it a popular destination for adventure-seekers. The Aldebarán Hotel & Spa features just 10 exclusive rooms overlooking the Nahuel Huapi lake and the Campanario and López hills, and is an ideal base for exploring the region. Just ask the hotel staff to help organize trekking, kayaking, fishing and horse-riding adventures. It’s also just 25km (15mi) from Cerro Catedral, the most impressive ski resort in Argentina, which has over 600ha (1,480 acres) of skiable slopes.

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