Travel blog on one-of-a-kind travel experiences

Stellar Architecture at Refugia Boutique Hotel on Chiloé Island


Design hotel Refugia opened its doors to the public in September 2012 in Southern Chile, in a very unique and mystical spot on this planet – on Chiloé Island, South America’s second largest island situated just South of Puerto Montt.

The hotel is surrounded by more than 10 hectares of land where countryside, beach, green fields, forests and an inlet of the Pacific Ocean meet. A perfect oasis of tranquility and nature…

Check out this architectural gem amidst Chiloé’s rounded hills!

Refugia Hotel on Chiloé Island

Born as a vague idea in a kitchen in Santiago, the architecturally stunning Refugia hotel was eventually built three years later by Mobil Arquitectos based on native wood, glass and concrete and a fair share of sheep wool weavings and basketry, all of which were crafted by local artisans.

Front view of Refugia Hotel

Already the reception is decorated with local colorful fabrics. From there, hospitality manager Maria José will show you into the main hotel area. A cozy living room style lounge with a bar, fireplace, several couches and huge windows offers breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery.

Living room at Refugia Hotel

Also the restaurant is part of the generous ground floor setup. Breakfast and dinner are served here, lunch is usually served during one of the numerous excursions.

Chiloés weather may change quickly in “all directions”. Or, as the guides put it, if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes… But in case the weather indeed was inacceptable you can still enjoy the spa facilities in the first floor or you might as well just enjoy storm watching by the fireplace…

Living room at Refugia Hotel by night

Refugia’s living room and fireplace by night

Hotel rooms

Room at Refugia Hotel Chiloe

Refugia offers 12 rooms, all with a wonderful view of the inland sea which surrounds Chiloé’s Rilan peninsula and neighboring islands. The rooms feature stylish wood furnishing, fabrics and obviously a bottom to ceiling panorama window. The bathroom is elegant, spacious and includes a jacuzzi bathtub!

Room view at Refugia Hotel

Since the hotel concept suggests disconnecting from the world and enjoying the countryside, the rooms don’t have TVs. But they do have broadband internet access which, being travel bloggers, we used intensely in order to compile this review. Actually at some point we also used guide Cyril’s “In the pocket WiFi” while on a cruise :-)

Excursions on Chiloé Island

Manager and co-initiator Andrés (the guy with the inspirational kitchen) positions the hotel in the same luxury niche as comparable top notch Patagonian outlets such as Tierra Patagonia or Explora Patagonia. While Chiloé may not have natural highlights such as the Torres del Paine or Perito Moreno glacier, it offers a rich cultural heritage that even UNESCO recognized as Chiloé’s “Wooden Churches at the End of the World”. There are 86 (!) wooden churches on Chiloé Island of which 16 were declared UNESCO heritage.

Church on Quehui Chiloe

Besides of the picturesque cities such as the regional capital Castro with its amous palafito houses and grocery and artisan markets, a lovely countryside lends itself perfectly for several recreational options.

We opted for a full day excursion with guide Cyril in order to find out more about the history and the construction of the famous wooden churches, former Jesuit and later Franciscan outposts. Even if you are not an architect or historian you will enjoy this trip and learn a lot about Chiloé’s culture. The hotel’s own yacht “Williche” served as island hopping vessel and gourmet lunch base for the day. What a service!

But Refugia also offers a variety of half-day and other full-day excursions. The trips range from cultural excursions, boating, horseback riding, kayaking, biking to hiking or simply looking around.

Williche vessel of Refugia Hotel Chiloe

Restaurant at Hotel Refugia

Sous-chef Ariel at Refugia Hotel Chiloe

Chef Ariel and his king crabs

Staying in a remote luxury hotel like Refugia you probably also expect fine food, and you will not be disappointed! Chef Pancho and sous chef Ariel’s creations not only appeal to the eyes, they are also right out delicious! Our highlight was the king crab on a fine bean purée. Yummy!!!

King crab dinner at Refugia Hotel Chiloe

King crabs on a bean purée

Many thanks to the Refugia Team!

Travelmemo's Katja and hotel manager Andres Bravari Gambino

Hotel manager Andrés and travelmemo’s Katja

Many thanks, un millon de gracias! to our guides Raimundo and Cyril, driver and motor man Juan Carlos, Williche captain Luis, chefs Pancho, Ariel and their team!

And congratulations to Refugia’s initiator and mastermind Andrés and the all attentive guest relation manager Maria José for offering such an inspiring site! Your staff made sure that we not only enjoyed the generous facilities but the whole atmosphere at Refugia! At the day of our departure we felt like family ;-)

And also many thanks to Miranda Stolfo from AzurePR for making this stay possible in the first place. Thanks for coordinating our booking!

Here are some more impressions from our unforgettable stay at Refugia Hotel:

[slickr-flickr search=sets set=”72157632969196698″ type=”gallery”]

Refugia is now Tierra Chiloé

Update (August 2014): The formerly known Refugia Hotel has become a member of the Tierra Hotels Family in August 2014 and is now called Tierra Chiloé.


Mind you, a stay at Refugia comes at a whopping $530 per night – per person… We first thought it must be an error or we miscalculated the exchange rate. But no, that’s the rate throughout the year…

It’s only after you read the fine print that the price get’s explainable. Refugia staff will pick you up and take you back to nearby Castro airport. It’s LAN Chile’s latest new expansion of their destination network out of Santiago.
You enjoy gourmet full board even while out on excursions and delicious Chilean house wine is complimentary.
You get to choose from different excursion options based on weather conditions and interests. They may include Refugia’s fully staffed 23 meter or so yacht Williche and knowledgeable and experienced tour guides fluent in Spanish and English.
And in case of bad weather a generous spa is available.

In hindsight we felt that we received very good value for money and we warmly recommend this remote and romantic hideaway.


About Author

Walter Schaerer’s extensive background in the travel industry, passionate enthusiasm for photography and a firm belief that luxury destinations can also be affordable; were some of the main factors that motivated him to create the travel blog In his day job Walter is an online marketing manager based out of Zurich, Switzerland.

1 Comment

  1. Gioconda Schärer on

    I was very impressed ! Beautiful architecture and very interesting excursions by boat.
    The church ist a really beauty-

Leave A Reply

You're currently offline