VIP’s Top 10 Favorite Hotels for 2015
When we first launched VIP Tour Group 12 years ago, the availability of luxury properties across Latin America was somewhat limited to major tourist destinations and large cities with thriving business communities.
Today, as we prepare to launch our new Central America offerings (coming later this summer), the VIP luxury travel segment is booming across both Central and South America offering unique experiences in breathtaking destinations with distinctive hotels, resorts and private villas beginning to dot the landscape from coast to coast.
Whether a trek through Patagonia, a foodie tour in Colombia or a 5-star beachfront getaway to Uruguay is on your bucket list, there are plenty of authentic, one-of-a-kind accommodations available for your tailor-made journey. But, these new properties are far more than merely home bases for excursions. Each one will inspire you to immerse yourself in the grand experience and reconnect with what it means to be not just a tourist, but a traveler.
Here are our favorite new properties in Central and South America for 2015:
Grand Hyatt | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
OPENING LATE 2015
Nestled in the heart of the prestigious Barra da Tijuca neighborhood, the Grand Hyatt is slated to open later this year on the most scenic beachfront in Rio de Janeiro. Although Barra is known for its premium shopping, luxury condos and international offices, it is this breathtaking stretch of beach, framed on one side by the Atlantic and the Marapendi Lagoon on the other, that draws visitors from across the globe.
The simple modernity and comfortable calm interior of the brand new Grand Hyatt Rio was created by internationally acclaimed interior designer Yabu Pushelberg to provide a casual respite that seamlessly melds stunning design and the beauty of the hotel’s natural surroundings. Here, guests will be inspired by a refined relaxation featuring natural stones, woods and fabrics (and a private balcony) in each of its guest rooms and suites.
The Grand Hyatt will have three signature restaurants, a spa boasting nine treatment rooms and a yoga studio.
Indulge in seaside serenity at the new Grand Hyatt Rio.
Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba | Sacred Valley, Peru
OPENED APRIL 2015
Discover casual opulence in Peru’s Sacred Valley at the new eco-luxury resort Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba. It’s a colonially-inspired contemporary hotel situated in the culturally rich Peruvian Highlands, where ancient traditions and the friendly ease of the Andean people converge to create a distinctive experience you’ll never forget.
The newest Inkaterra property boasts all the sumptuous amenities and authentic decor patrons have come to expect from the chain’s boutique collection, perfectly preserving the rich traditions of the local spirit. Throughout the property’s 12 rooms and 24 stand-alone casitas (opening this summer), guests will find true sustainable luxury surrounded by a 10-acre organic farm and a wide range of in-house excursions.
The Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba is the ideal location to acclimatize before making the trek to Machu Picchu— and you couldn’t dream of a more luxuriously restful accommodation to do so.
Rejuvenate and enjoy Andean hospitality at the Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba.
AltaGracia Boutique Hacienda | San Ignacio, Costa Rica
OPENED JANUARY 2015
Reconnect with your inner self and with the calming effects of nature at Altagracia Boutique Hacienda atop the awe-inspiring mountains of Perez Zeledon in the Southern Region of Costa Rica. This largely undiscovered region enjoys long-standing agricultural traditions and a rural setting that is still very accessible from the San Jose airport.
AltaGracia is the brainchild of a local family featuring 50 cozy yet estate-sized private casitas to suit the needs of even the most discerning of guests. Each bespoke casita comes well stocked with plenty of warm architectural touches and lush amenities, but it is the deep connection to the surrounding landscape and activities that truly sets this unique property apart.
The AltaGracia Boutique Hacienda offers three dining options, natural spring water pools, a private cinema, wine cellar, one of Central America’s most renowned spas and exclusive equestrian activities to its guests.
Revitalize and enjoy an epic setting at AltaGracia.
The Grand Hotel | Punta del Este, Uruguay
OPENED JANUARY 2015
A new addition has come to South America’s Riviera along the pristine shorelines of Punta del Este. Situated on one of the area’s most picturesque beaches, The Grand Hotel has been enticing beach lovers, fashion and art savants and a slew of discerning travelers since opening its doors earlier this year.
Here, guests will find a uniquely blended combination of contemporary architecture, casual seaside living, unrivaled service and sophisticated amenities in the 120 finely appointed guest rooms and suites, including European style decor, private Jacuzzis and sweeping views of the nearby ocean or hotel gardens.
Once only a summer resort town, Punta del Este is now a year-round destination with a wide range of activities, including antiquing, art galleries, theaters, shopping, music festivals and, of course, all manner of water sports from surfing and diving to sports fishing and yachting. In addition, The Grand Hotel features an on-site restaurant, bar and spa.
Experience the newest luxury property in Punta del Este, and find your inner beach bum.
Hacienda Bambusa | Quindio, Colombia
RE-OPENED DECEMBER 2014
Discover the real Colombia in style at a previous Natural Geographic Traveler magazine Top 5 Hotel at the eight-room all-inclusive Hacienda Bambusa. Recently re-opened after a year of renovations, this intimate boutique retreat is a charismatic working hacienda and countryside hideaway surrounded by 500 acres of working farmland.
Long a well-kept secret of experienced travelers to Colombia’s famed coffee region, the re-launch of Hacienda Bambusa is sure to wow guests with its unmatched privacy, casual comfort and distinctive amenities— all now helmed by a new manager with years of previous experience at Relais & Châteaux properties.
Guests will find rest, contemplation and a “delightful rustic life” nestled at the base of a scenic mountain range in the heart of Bambusa— a UNESCO Natural Heritage of Humanity site renowned for its agricultural traditions with crops, including cacao, plantains, tangerines and pineapples, as well as its landscape, including nearby Cocora National Park and numerous rural villages.
Find out for yourself what makes Hacienda Bambusa one of the best kept secrets in Colombia.
Vina Vik | Millahue, Chile
OPENED DECEMBER 2014
Avant-garde, art-filled and majestic, the newest Vik property is a hilltop retreat located in the Andean wilds, but this 22-suite property is anything but untamed. Opened in December 2014, the Vina Vik is situated on a stunning 11,000-acre vineyard and working winery.
The guest suites boast panoramic windows, affording picturesque views of the surrounding vineyards, as well as mountains, valleys, forests and a spectacular lake. Inside, the property offers up abundant central living areas and gardens before opening onto the contemporary art-centric guest quarters. Each suite or master suite features Egyptian cotton linens, complimentary mini bar and includes activities and excursions, such as wine tours and tastings, horseback riding, mountain biking and more.
The Vina Vik also is home to an uncommon cantilevered Absolute Nero granite pool, the tranquil Vik Wine Spa, offering one-of-a-kind wine focused treatments, and a restaurant serving up unique Chilean gastronomic treats to pair with the renowned Vik wines.
Tame the wilds of Chile in lavish splendor at the new Vina Vik.
Hotel Vira Vira | Pucon, Chile
OPENED OCTOBER 2014
An all-inclusive hideaway along the banks of the Liucura River, the Hotel Vira Vira is a true oasis of peace and relaxation guided by the mantra, “The elegance of adventure.” Here, guests will enjoy eco-tourism at its finest with personal hospitality, customized activities and contemporary, spacious, sustainably built accommodations.
Each of the 12 villas suites at Hotel Vira Vira is situated on the shores of the river, affording panoramic vistas of some pretty breathtaking views, including a 23 hectare native park, the Liucura River, the nearby volcano or the private lagoon. Enjoy that spectacular view by the fireplace in your suite or from the outdoor terrace or hot tub included in each room.
All amenities and excursions are included with your stay at Hotel Vira Vira, including transfers, meals and beverages and daily excursions, such as active nature, water and winter activities, food and wine tours, culture tours, volcano tours and more. Gourmet meals are created on-site using fresh ingredients from the Vira Vira farm.
Find your oasis at the hacienda style Hotel Vira Vira.
Bahia Vik | Jose Ignacio, Uruguay
OPENED DECEMBER 2013
Known for their trendsetting uber-luxury retreats, the Vik family has done it again with their third property in Jose Ignacio in only five years. Located near Punta del Este, The Bahia Vik rests among the sandy dunes of one of the world’s most beautiful beaches and boasts Uruguayan seaside aesthetics of whitewashed adobe, titanium or sand.
The 11 bungalows at Bahia Vik offer spacious ocean front hideaways only a short distance from town, while the additional guest rooms situated inside the main building provide smaller, yet still opulent accommodations. Inside all of them, locally crafted modern art is integrated throughout to provide an art-centric style all its own, while unique attention to detail ensures guests will never tire of finding new treats, like a bathtub carved from a boulder or larger than life mural.
There are four pools on the grounds of Bahia Vik, as well as an on-site restaurant, gym, spa and game room.
Experience the serenity of a seaside retreat with the personality and flair of the Vik brand at Bahia Vik.
Awasi Patagonia | Torres del Paine, Chile
OPENED NOVEMBER 2013
Very few travelers ever reach the nearly half million acre expanse at the southern end of South America affectionately known as “the end of the Earth.” And, with its spectacular mountain peaks, windswept grasslands, glacial lakes and VIP luxury resorts, that’s something of a blessing and a shame.
Opened in November 2013, Awasi Patagonia was one of only two luxury properties to open in this area in more than a decade, which is why it still makes our list here in 2015. This Relais & Châteaux hotel offers all-inclusive, tailor-made accommodations and customizable excursions all from its own private nature reserve bordering Torres del Paine National Park and overlooking Lake Sarmiento.
There are only 12 villas at Awasi Patagonia, and each one affords an opulent yet intimate experience guests will find unlike any other. In addition to the finely appointed (and super private) villas, the lodge features common areas, including numerous cozy lounges and an exclusive restaurant only for the use of Awasi Patagonia guests.
Follow the road less traveled to Awasi Patagonia, and let the end of the Earth mesmerize you.
Narbona Wine Lodge | Carmelo, Uruguay
One part winery, one part working farm, one part gourmet restaurant and one part historic lodge, the Narbona Wine Lodge has a renowned past dating back to 1909, but it recently was awarded the prestigious Relais & Châteaux distinction, which is why this utterly charming and storied boutique hotel rounds out this year’s list of the best new accommodations in Central and South America.
Located in Punta del Este, the Narbona has only five exclusive rooms with views of the surrounding winery and vineyards— one of the country’s most famous in fact. Inside, the sun soaked guest rooms are contemporary and sleek and provide all the comforts of home and enticements of the local countryside.
Truly one-of-a-kind, Narbona Wine Lodge is renowned for its highly lauded wines, traditional cheeses and other high quality products, many of which are served at Narbona’s restaurant regularly praised for its authentic peasant cuisine.
Come see for yourself why Narbona Wine Lodge has at long last earned its Relais & Châteaux distinction.
If one of these new properties has ignited your passion for travel, call us today to begin planning your dream vacation!