El Casco Art Hotel, San Carlos de Bariloche $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
There's nothing particularly Patagonian about El Casco Art Hotel, despite its privileged lakefront location near tourist hub Bariloche. This place sits beneath hikers' favorite Cerro Otto and Lake Nahuel Huapi, a lake so deep and unexplored it's reputed to harbor its own Loch Ness–style monster, Nahuelito. Following a decade's neglect, El Casco was renovated and reopened in 2007. New owner Ignacio Gutiérrez Zaldívar, a Buenos Aires art collector, has opted for quiet refinement over Bariloche's all-too-prevalent pseudo-Bavarian shtick, hanging more than 300 works of modern Argentine art throughout this sober, impeccable property. Comfort triumphs over cutting-edge design in the 33 ample rooms—each named after a contemporary Argentine artist and sporting a series of paintings by its namesake—and and all have a view of the lapwings, cormorants, and upland geese that cluster along the Nahuel Huapi shoreline. In the restaurant, exec chef Fernando Trocca (owner of buzzing Buenos Aires eatery Sucre) lifts Patagonian staples by pairing turkey with truffles, trout with ginger, and duck with roasted figs and fresh blackberries. Other standout features include a heated indoor/outdoor pool that billows steam into the chilly evening air and a winter transfer service for skiers to a private lounge at the foot of the Cerro Catedral slopes.
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