Bariloche: El Casco Art Hotel

August 20, 2015
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With its idyllic setting on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi, El Casco Art Hotel is a favorite Lake District escape for porteños from Buenos Aires looking to fuse adventure with culture. The 33-room hotel’s polished design takes its cue from its natural surroundings — interiors are decorated with more than 365 paintings by Argentine artists. But outside you’ll find an adrenaline junkie’s paradise of rugged forests, snowy peaks and pristine lakes.

A popular year-round destination for porteños, as Buenos Aires’ populace is called, Argentina’s Lake District has a bit of everything — from fresh powder for excellent skiing and snowboarding to whitewater rafting in the area’s gushing rivers and scuba diving in lakes so deep they remain largely unexplored.

Right on the shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi, the subtly designed El Casco Art Hotel takes that natural environment and injects it with a shot of culture straight from the city. The 33-room hotel has an impressive art collection from a Buenos Aires collector and up-to-date amenities.

The on-site restaurant, helmed by chef Fernando Trocca, serves modernized Patagonia favorites. Almost 365 paintings and sculptures by Argentine artists — Benito Quinquela Martín and Florencio Molina Campos among them — grace the guestrooms and public spaces. Aside from the decor, views of the crystal clear water are ubiquitous. Spacious and comfortable, each room is named after an Argentine artist and features a series of works by its namesake.

But the real excitement is outdoors. An adrenaline junkie’s paradise, the area’s forests, peaks and lakes present everything from scuba diving in astonishingly deep lakes to trekking the awe-inspiring crests and valleys. After a day’s adventure, El Casco is the perfect place to unwind with a dip in the heated outdoor pool and a handcrafted cocktail. Half high-end hideaway, half rugged wilderness, a vacation here mixes two sides of Argentine getaway.

While You’re There

  • Ride a Horse. Play gaucho for a day and explore Patagonia’s awesome landscape with a real Argentine cowboy leading the way. Most estancias follow the horseback ride with an asado, a traditional barbecue. Ask the staff at El Casco to make arrangements for you.
  • Quench Your Thirst. Let the hotel’s sommelier help you select the perfect vino from its collection of 1,700 bottles.
  • Tee Up. There are three golf courses just a 15-minute drive away from the hotel. Situated on lakes and mountains, the 18-hole course of Arelauquen is the best choice for more experienced players.
  • Take in the Views. Walk, bike or ride the gondola to the top of Cerro Otto for sweeping views of the Llao Llao Peninsula. At the summit is a revolving restaurant, perfect for a leisurely lunch before the trip back down.
  • Drink It In. Don’t miss a cocktail or two at the on-site bar, overseen by expert bartender Renato Giovanoni.

What We Love

  • Views of crystal clear Lake Nahuel Huapi
  • Impressive collection of Argentine art
  • A short drive from the vibrant city of Bariloche
  • Heated indoor/outdoor swimming pool
  • Dining menu designed by award-winning chef Fernando Trocca

Need to know

  • A car rental is recommended for independent sightseeing
  • The hotel’s spa offers a limited treatment menu
  • Smoking is permitted in second-floor rooms
  • Lake Nahuel Huapi is approximately 48 yards from the property
  • Free WiFi in guestrooms
  • In January, high temperatures are around 70 degrees and lows around 40; in June, highs are 44 and lows are 30
  • Pets are not permitted

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