The Singular Patagonia, Puerto Bories
After a journey to what seemed like the end of the earth, including four flights in a 24-hour cycle, there is no question I’m ready for a spa treatment at The Singular – a former sheep-processing plant converted into a luxury eco-friendly boutique hotel. A few nights at this new 57-room hotel will be as far emoved from any hints of a metropolis as I’ve ever been. To reach the hotel, one must fly to Punta Arenas, Chile, through Santiago, Chile, and then drive two hours further south.
Tucked into the lower Patagonia mountain range, the view from my ground-floor room is postcard-worthy, opening up its arms like a new friend, all of it made even more stunning thanks to a floor to ceiling picture window taking up an entire wall. A rustic pier juts out into Last Hope Sound, and the sky is a pretty, flawless blue. If I had to guess based only upon pictures, I might suspect this is really Alaska or Nova Scotia with all the grays and blues muting the landscape that might normally have sharp edges and crisp hues.
Although it’s late April back in the States, here it is well into autumn and there’s a threat of snowfall, making the heated massage bed even more welcoming after I pad down the hall from my room to the spa entrance, conveniently two doors down. Called The Singular Wellness Spa, the experience begins with a stroll down a dimly lit hallway, soon marked by driftwood standing in nooks and crannies along the way within walls constructed from wood planks. Both are a reminder of the adjacent coastline.
Bookended by a day-long hike into nearby Torres del Paine National Park where, although snug in my North Face and Patagonia gear, my body stood up to the region’s 50 mph winds and dinner in the hotel’s lone restaurant. The 3,000-square-foot spa seems like the perfect entree to the evening. While some spas’ treatment rooms offer cliche settings, music that mimics nature or pastel-colored paint on the walls, The Singular – with just four white-walled treatment rooms – only has to open its blinds a few inches from the bottom. That’s precisely what my therapist does. It’s around 6 p.m. and layers of salmon and lavender are curling over the water.
Ingredients for many of the treatments are culled from the local landscape, such as glacier-fed waters, fruits, seaweed (for facials), herbs, vegetables and extracts. The penultimate treatment is the Patagonian Aroma, which envelopes the senses with a lather-immersion bath in local herbs and floral extracts. Even the dry sauna practices a locavore philosophy with Patagonian aromas. I chose the 50-minute anti-stress massage, which uses almond and lemon oils for an invigorating scent. Although I’m extremely relaxed after the massage I make a mental note to return the next day in order to experience the spa’s indoor/outdoor pool, which makes sense in Patagonia due to fluctuating temperatures.
Exiting the treatment room I’m handed another surprise: a demitasse of hot green tea sweetened with local honey. The lights are dim and as I walk, slowly, back to my room, for a quick stop before dinner, it’s all I can do to not click off the bedside lamp and turn in for the night. As a holistic property, it’s not just the spa that lulls you into relaxation. It’s every little detail in the rooms, from the furniture crafted by local artisans to the plant-based lotions and hair products, creatively packaged in little vials with post-consumer-recycled paper labeling.
This same motif carries through to the restaurant, in an adjacent building connected via a walkway that organically cultivates deep thinking as you head to breakfast each morning, ready to drink raspberry juice or bite into indulgent foods like charcuterie and buttery croissants.
For lunch and dinner, only Chilean wines are poured and the space pulls off what every major city tries to do well: an industrial-chic loft with high ceilings and brick walls. Only here those kinds of bones were already in place.
And there it is, one full day tucked away in Patagonia, a day that will never be forgotten in all its nostalgic majesty.