The Singular Patagonia And Singular Santiago: Chile's Two One-Of-A-Kind Hotels
If ever a name perfectly fit a hotel, it is that of the Singular Patagonia. As it approaches its first decade, the property that serves as a gateway to the wild lands of southern Chile remains unlike any other in the world.
What a surprise it can be then to discover that there are actually now in recent years two hotels going under the Singular name. With Santiago’s newer Singular Santiago making for a prime locale for exploring Chile's capital city, that's a paradox you can happily live with.
Found deep inside a series of fjords, sounds and channels, the aptly-named Singular Patagonia stands utterly alone a few miles outside of the town of Puerto Natales. Its precise location of Puerto Bories amounts to not much more than a pier that belonged to this early-20th-century former sheep processing plant.
Abandoned just 30 years ago, the factory became a national monument in 1996, a museum in 2004 and finally a hotel in 2011. All the glorious and massive post-Victorian turbines and machines that made this frigorífico, or cold-storage plant, hum are still in place, with museum-style labels explaining their function.
Shiny pistons that look like they could be fired up right away again are mounted on a steel frame embossed with the lettering of the Haslam Foundry and Engineering Co of Derby, England. All that heavy equipment sent from Britain a few years before the outbreak of WWI allowed this plant to supply armies across the continent with the meat of some 3,600 sheep that were processed here daily. The extent of the whole operation in the middle of nowhere boggles the mind.
Today's hotel garage and glass-box concierge room were once the meat drying area. From there, a funicular glides down a slope to the reception, which is also glass-covered to allow for views of all that historic machinery in the old engine room.