Besides being the gateway to Northern Patagonia, Chile is widely recognized as a land of contrasts, ranging from colorful deserts to impressive mountains, from arid environments to areas that shelter stunning water bodies and a profusion of animal/plant species. Such mesmerizing diversity along with the love for these amazing landscapes were the inspiration that gave birth to home-grown Chilean Hotel Awa. Driven by those magnetic features, REMOTE has spoken this month with Milagros Scavarda, the hotel’s commercial manager, to learn more about all the activities and opportunities emerging from this plentiful land.
What is the story behind this independent design hotel?
It is a very romantic story! Despite having cherished this region for some time, it was only after spending their honeymoon here that the Fuentes family decided to come back, grow roots, and build the hotel. To materialize their dream, they traveled all over Chile so Mauricio’s passion for architecture and design could thrive into buildings that bring together contemporary concepts and references from contrasting parts of the country, such as its melting pot of cultures, especially the Mapuche’s and other local ancient tribes’ heritage.
Why is the hotel particularly known for its privileged location in Patagonia?
The hotel is at the gateway to the Route of Parks, where you can access the main national parks in Northern Patagonia. It is also a 20-minute drive from downtown Puerto Varas, which is quite convenient. For anyone driving from Santiago to Torres del Paine, we are right in the middle of the route. If you zoom into our region, we are the only hotel close to the lakes, where people can enjoy different water activities and adventures, including standup paddling, rafting, kayaking, and fly-fishing. Another highlight is that we are in the same latitude as Bariloche, which broadens your choices by encompassing Argentinian wonders as well.
Disconnection is one of REMOTE’s pillars, especially in our annual flag events. That is something you promote as well. Can you tell us how you do it?
All our excursions can be fully tailored to meet our guests needs and wishes. That means we assign one guide per room since we believe our guests should decide how to spend their time and strive for the best and most memorable experiences during their stay with us. By allowing them to move at their own pace—no matter if laid back or highly active—, with no fixed schedules, we set out to help them disconnect from the outside, technology-bound and frantic world for an exquisite tasting of refreshing detachment and relaxation.
Wellness tourism is booming, especially in post-pandemic times. How do you take advantage of the water bodies that surround you to offer reinvigorating experiences?
The name of the hotel sounds like the word agua (“water”) in Spanish. We have an amazing spa with a comprehensive range of treatments and facilities that include a swimming pool, a hot tub, a sauna, and a steam bath, among others, most of which have a strong connection with water. We take advantage of the water supply to offer a continuous experience with nature in our spa, putting our clients in contact with this natural element. On top of this, the freshwater we drink in our hotel comes from a local fountain. All is carefully thought out to be a stretch of the breathtaking nature that embraces and provides us with gleaming, untainted water bodies. The combination of all these elements has been designed so guests can recharge by feeling the water in their own bodies connect with the water streaming free in the natural world. Also, because we believe we are what we eat, we have an herb garden and grow in our own land over 70% of the healthy food that nourishes our guests and fosters wellness.
Sustainability is a shared concern within our community. Our members experiment in their own ways with various initiatives and means to look after our planet. As a Certified B Corporation Hotel, what protocols has Awa developed and followed so far?
A good example was during the pandemic, when we took the time to rethink and restructure our pillars. It became clear to us that sustainability is our main one.
Every crisis poses opportunities. By looking at the pandemic from such an angle, we realized that the people and the planet must always be our top priorities and guide all our decisions. Hence, we are proud to announce that in 2021 we became the first Chilean hotel to get the B Corporation Certification. This certification establishes steadfast protocols for equality and diversity as well as against discrimination. These rules of conduct now are present in all our actions and initiatives.
As a result, our solar panels nowadays generate 50% of the power we use, and 70% of the food we eat is grown locally in our own land. Our staff is given the opportunity to develop their careers within the company as we encourage the team to learn continuously and help the local community. Also, from an unbiased perspective, I can say that the hotel owners are fully committed to engaging the staff, community, and suppliers to support local producers.
This positive change created deep roots in our team’s heart leading to many initiatives. For example, we have recently added electrical bikes as an option in our experience menu to minimize the pollution from petrol engines as much as possible. We hope this eco-friendly mindset urges everyone to act and take part in making our region and planet more sustainable.