Antumalal

 
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Review on Antumalal


Perched high on a hillside above Lago Villarica is the historic Hotel Antumalal. A small hotel with a long and distinguished history, Antumalal is located just outside the town of Pucon in Araucania Region of Chile.  It provides a wonderful combination of superb service and remarkable style and architecture in a lovely and serene location.  Antumalal is set within beautiful gardens that emphasize the natural beauty of its location.  Presidents, kings and queens, and other celebrities have stayed here since its doors opened 60 years ago.  Antumalal is owned and run today by Rony Pollack, whose father founded the hotel in 1950. 


Within walking distance is Pucon, the headquarters for adventure activities of all kinds in the region.  Activities in the area include guided climbs up the volcano, river rafting, skiing, hiking, horseback riding, hot springs, and much more, along with shopping, restaurants, and a casino in town.  Volcan Villarica dominates the area, with beautiful snow covered slopes and a dramatic plume of smoke rising from the peak.

Our visit to Antumalal was scheduled in the first days of spring.  Andrew, one of Rony’s sons, greeted us at the airport.   The drive from Temuco to Pucon was pleasant, with easy conversation with Andrew, who speaks perfect English and Spanish.  Outside the car were views of the ever-changing green fields, brown and black cows pasturing here and there, a few horses playfully running, and many trees in full blossom.  Have your camera ready and be on the look out for magnificent views of Volcán Villarrica on a straight stretch of the road: tall, beautiful and white against the blue sky!


Antumalal lies barely 2 km outside of Pucón, right on the lake and surrounded by lush vegetation and gardens.  It is remarkable to find such a beautiful hotel so close to Pucon.

At the hotel, Paulina greets us warmly.  She tells us that Rony will be with us shortly.  Rony is the only daughter of 4 siblings of the founder of Antumalal, Guillermo Pollak.  Rony manages the hotel to perfection, with a watchful eye for all the details that make Antumalal a first class home away from home. 


The history of the hotel is fascinating: Guillermo Pollak was a Czech photographer young man who came to South America from Prague in 1938; he arrived first in Argentina and then crossed the Andes to visit Chile.  Once he saw Pucón, he fell in love with the area and had his wife and first son join him in this new venture.  On the walls of Antumalal you will see photographs of many well known personalities who have stayed there over the years, such as ex president Eduardo Frei Montalva, Queen Fabiola with her husband, King Baudouin,  and even Niel Armstrong, the first man on the moon.  One of the early visitors to Antumalal in the 1940’s was then president Gabriel González Videla, back when Antumalal was only a well known destination on the lake for tea.  Impressed with Guillermo Pollak and pleased with the service and the food, González Videla assisted in securing the loan that led to the construction of the hotel.

Guillermo Pollack opened the hotel in October, 60 years ago.   The name he chose, “Antumalal”, means “corral of the sun” in Mapudungún.  He could not have chosen a more appropriate name for this boutique hotel; sunsets viewed from the hanging terrace here are astoundingly beautiful, and the sunlight seems to get trapped in Antumalal.


The hotel’s architecture is that of the avant garde style of the 1950’s, featuring dramatic lines and a red and white exterior.  It stands out from the greenery of the 5 hectares park that surrounds it.   The building itself houses just 22 rooms, and is built with a unity of style and architecture that reflects well on its builder.  The building is filled with beautiful walls of natural woods, detailed stonework floors, and windows that artfully highlight the natural beauty just outside.  Throughout the hotel there is a focus on all the details to keep the hotel beautiful and welcoming in every aspect for its guests.


Antumalal is tied to the land and its location, and strives for harmony with the environment.  The hotel generates its own electricity from natural streams on the site, and features local produce in its menu (even some grown on the hotel’s gardens!).  One can have salad from the gardens and sip herb tea from its greenhouse at the right time of the year.  Strolling through the gardens, you can breathe calm and peace at Antumalal.  Everything here contributes to your well being and delight, from softly humming bees, extremely shy green and blue lizards, proud queltehue birds, ever so fast humming birds to the plants and flowers of all shapes and sizes.


In addition to the beautiful gardens, Rony recently fulfilled a long-standing dream of her father’s; the building of the SPA, completed in time to celebrate Antumalal’s 60th birthday.  The SPA features a large heated swimming pool, where half of it lies indoors, whilst the other half awaits warmer temperatures outside to cool off Antumalal’s guests in summer.  It also has a beautiful hot tub bordered by mossy rocks, a large modern sauna; massage rooms, locker rooms, showers and bathrooms.  All of this around a huge inviting fireplace where you can sip the fruit juice or mineral water of your choice.  The big windows open onto the soothing green of the gardens and the view of the lake behind them.

The rooms at Antumalal are spacious, with big windows overlooking the lake, and all of them have a fireplace with fresh wood.  The feeling in the rooms is that you experience the outside from the inside.  Complimentary mineral water and chocolates await you every evening in your room.  Dining at the hotel is a pleasure, with excellent food served in the dining room or on the outside terrace, both with spectacular views of the lake.  The local salmon that Alejandra selected one evening was as good as any she has every been served!

After 2 nights at Antumalal, we found ourselves looking for excuses to stay… although we could find several, family and life in the city called us away.  The calm beauty and warm atmosphere on Antumalal left us with an indelible impression and we hope to be back!

CONTEST DESTINATION OF THE MONTH

OCTOBER 2010


The prize for the DOM in October is a marvelous All Inclusive -Airport Transfer, Full Board & Use os SPA + massages- 3 days/2 nights stay for 2 at Antumalal.


***Contest Destination of the Month - October 2010***

Please answer the following questions:


What does Antumalal mean in Mapudungun?


How old is Antumalal turning in October 2010?


To enter the contest, please send your answers to

info@uniquedestinations.cl

On the Subject line, please indicate:

Contest Destination of the Month - October 2010

NOTE: The winner will be drawn at random among all the qualified entries received

between the 1st and the 31st of October, 2010.

Terms and regulations of the DOM contest:

The winner will be chosen at random

The Prize has a validity of 8 ½ months from November 1st, 2010 to July 15th, 2011.  During the high season which runs from December 15th to March 15th the winner may claim the prize with a surcharge of Ch$30.000 per night.  The prize is subject to availability.

The prize is 2 nights accommodation + full board + use of SPA + massages. 

Excursions can be arranged by the hotel, but are at extra cost.