by Lara Dalrymple
From the moment I arrived at the Alto Atacama I felt like a VIP. They had a fresh juice waiting for me to sip on as I checked in with the friendly front desk staff who all greeted me by name. I was then escorted to my room which I found to be a beautiful luxury rustic style décor. The earthy tones of the hotel and room blending perfectly with the surroundings made me feel very relaxed.
All the rooms also have a private patio with chairs and a day bed where you can sit day or night to enjoy the silence of the desert or enjoy looking up at the stars from the privacy of your own room. Both days I had a siesta on the day bed of my patio between excursions. I found the space so relaxing and climate so perfect that I simply couldn’t keep my eyes open!
After I had time to relax and unpack I decided it was time for dinner. Although it was late I had high expectations of the food so was eager to try the menu. I can tell you I was not disappointed! All the food was absolutely incredible and the meals were something I looked forward to each day. The lunch and dinners are both a la carte with many different options to choose from as well as a chefs special menu which changes daily. They always have a seafood, meat, chicken and vegetarian option and will recommend the best wine to go with each dish. I tried as many options as I could in my short 3 night stay and I can tell you I was not disappointed by a single meal! The breakfast is buffet style with a good selection. I was pleasantly surprised to find they even have a barista who made me a perfect flat white with 1 sugar. He remembered my coffee order and made me the same coffee each morning without me even having to ask!
After dinner I was met by one the staff members who sat down with me at the lovey bar they have at the Alto Atacama and spoke to me about all the different excursions they offer and what options may suite me best. I realised then that the 2 days I had simply wasn’t enough time to do everything I wanted to do but I filled my days with as many excursions as possible. Some of my favourite excursions were the visiting the geysers (which does involve an early start but it well worth it) as well as visiting the petragliphics and the mountains of 7 colours. All the scenery is spectacular and on the longer excursions they will often make a few stops on the way for toilet breaks or to visit interesting places or for photo opportunities. While most of the excursions I did only involved light hiking there are also many options for the fitter and more adventurous traveller to hike to volcanoes and other mountains. You will need to bring proper hiking shoes for these ones as well as have least 3 days to acclimatise first.
After each day of excursions and excellent food and wine, I really enjoyed going up to the night sky viewing point and looking through the telescope or just relaxing in the Jacuzzi and looking up at the clear night sky before going to bed. Unfortunately I didn’t get time to have a Spa treatment unlike some of the other guests who told me that the treatments were some of the best.
In summary I would say that stand out me during my stay at Alto Atacama was the personalised experience and treatment I got. All the staff remembered and addressed me by name and made an effort to remember my orders as well as always checking to make sure I was 100% taken care of and always with a friendly smile. I also really liked the wide and wonderful selection of excursions they had to suite every kind of traveller.
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