For anybody interested in or moved by Modernist architecture, Antumalal provides and extraordinary experience. The hotel has been lovingly maintained and improved by the Pollak family since they oversaw its construction between 1945-52. Arriving in Chile in the late 30s they had fled Prague as the clouds of war gathered. Pucon was to be their new home and Antumalal (“Corral of the Sun” in the Mapuche language) was the realisation of a vision shared between Guillermo Pollak (the Hispanic version of his Czech name) and the architect Jorge Elton, assisted by Miguel Eyquem. This exceptional collaboration produced a building which combined the vigour of middle European Modernism with an extraordinary sensitivity to materiality and context. The views of Lake Villaricca, the mountains and volcanoes beyond all set within lush, verdant forestation are astonishing. The structure itself pushed at the edges of the technological and engineering limits of the late 1940s. Huge glazed walls used the very maximum sizes of glass available at the time, dramatic cantilevers and concrete pilotis exploit the steeply inclined site. The interiors, particularly the textiles, still bare the evidence of Catalina Pollak’s artistic sensibility. These have been updated with great delicacy by her daughter, Rony Pollak who has also continued to nurture the 5 hectares of landscaped gardens which are a splendid delight. They are particularly to be appreciated from the swimming pools, both outdoor and indoor where there is even a sauna and open fireplace for those cold evenings in the winter.
During our stay the air was constantly suffused with the aromas of burning timber which is the principle source of energy for heating although the electricity is generated by a hydroelectric system which dates back to the 1950s Ecological innovations such as this and the organic kitchen garden pre-date the fashionable status they now enjoy. It is testimony to the Pollak’s predictive abilities that they pioneered these ideas so long ago.
Each of the hardwood lined bedrooms has a working fireplace which evokes a primal response in the visitor. I confess that I have never enjoyed a better night’s rest than after falling asleep to the flickering of the burning logs and languishing in the soft, resonant acoustics of the intimately proportioned interiors. The bathrooms are on the small side but are what one would expect from the attitudes of the time. We should remember that it is only in recent years that expectations of this room has risen beyond that of pure utility. However, they have been updated as much as possible within the constraints of the space and, at least, do have proper bath tubs.
The public areas are almost domestic in their appointment although generous in scale. Again natural materials have been subjected to the Modernist's eye. There is a charming bar, several lounge areas in addition to the dining room, still with the original furniture. An exterior terrace runs the length of the room and offers views of the lake, the far shores of which are too distant to be seen. We took lunches and dinners there and were impressed by their variety, quality and presentation on nearly all occasions. There is a very respectable wine list and the waiting staff were courteous and friendly. The one area that would benefit from a little improvement would be the breakfasts. The choice is rather too limited, both on the buffet and from the menu which is restricted entirely to eggs.
The service levels are exceptional; the staff are almost affectionate in their level of care for the guests. You are given the impression that any request will be dealt with attentively and to the very best of their ability. We spent 6 peaceful nights and 6 perfect days with blue skies and temperatures in the low 30s. Although we ventured out a few times to Pucon town and to the Geometrica hot springs we would have gladly spent our entire time in the hotel as we felt like privileged house guests. Much of this was due to Rony and her wonderful team with special thanks to Sarah White who raises hospitality to a new level.
We are already planning our return.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- More than just a place to sleep, the Antumalal offers an unforgettable experience. Building began in 1945 fusing vanguard architectural forms with functionality and complete integration with the surroundings. To this day the unique character has been preserved, and all areas offer the amenities of a luxurious boutique hotel. Each of the 22 rooms is paneled with local wood and stone and all materials and furnishings are locally made. The panoramic windows look out over the private park and lake instigating a feeling of calm and total rest. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Evoline ltd and Ebookers so you can book your Hotel Antumalal reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Antumalal Hotel Pucon