A Patagonian Playground

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 12.15.42Heading to Uruguay’s Atlantic beaches or further north to Brazil is an obvious choice for sun-seekers, but sometimes summer in the southern hemisphere is just too steamy. Those in search of cooler climes – think the French Alps with a Latin twist – visit San Carlos de Bariloche, the heart of Argentina’s vast Lake District in Patagonia nestling at the foothills of the Andes. Home to Nahuel Huapi National Park, summer activities include white-water rafting, hiking or simply enjoying high tea – all with a view of the omnipresent lake and white peaks. Come winter, of course, Bariloche turns into a vast ski centre, making full use of Mt Catedral.

Founded by German baron hoteliers Alfred and Ruth von Ellrichshausen in the 1970s, Casco Art underwent a major facelift in 2006 to reinvent itself as an artistic hotel, retaining only the original wood and iron spiral staircase. Comprising 33 rooms, including the vast 110-sq-m Soldi Suite with a wondrous private terrace overlooking the Nahuel Huapi Lake, aesthetes will adore browsing the Zurbarán Collection of 475 works and sculptures by renowned Argentine artists such as Florencio Molina Campos and Benito Quinquela Martín, whose gaucho and port scenes respectively feature around the premises. Bonus tracks include a spa sporting Turkish and Finnish baths and an outdoor Jacuzzi.

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