By Ellen Girardeau Kempler
For decades, the small town of Puerto Natales, Chile, has been known among backpackers as the gateway to the challenging trails, glacial lakes and granite spires of Torres del Paine National Park. But as less-adventurous tourists have discovered this paradise at the end of the world, this region of Chilehas reinvented itself as ecolodge heaven. Among the best ecolodges in Puerto Natales is Bories House, a ranch-style, “boutique country inn” on a country road a few miles outside town.Bories House is an affordable contrast to Singular Patagonia, Puerto Natales’ LEED-certified, 5-star resort; or Remota, its architectural-prize-winning, luxury retreat. Bories House offers “rural chic” comfort in an authentic setting: the former cattle-raising hamlet of Puerto Bories. The main house and two hotel buildings are set on the shore of Good Hope Sound, in a 25-acre parkland facing the mountains and the Chilean fjords. From the dock, only a two-minute walk from the house, boat rides to see the Serrano and Balmaceda glaciers depart daily.
Through large picture windows, guests can enjoy the panorama while lounging fireside in the inn’s living room, enjoying Chilean wine at the bar; eating breakfast in the cozy dining room; or relaxing in bed before a day of horseback riding, a fishing or kayaking excursion, or a trekking adventure to Torres del Paine (all available as part of your stay). Opening the door of my room with its 1910-vintage key, I was pleased to discover period furnishings (even an old sewing machine) and an en suite bathroom with a claw-footed tub (plenty of hot water). Through the windows I watched the sun set over the fields and stable, wishing I could settle in and extend my stay indefinitely.