From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:A dusty Patagonian steppe town fronting Lake Argentina, El Calafate survives entirely on visitors to the Perito Moreno glacier, 50 miles to the west. Observing its huge columns of ice makes for a compelling day-trip, and the Esplendor can arrange hikes on the glacier itself. Although the hotel's exterior is unattractively boxy, designer Martín Churba has produced a lavish yet uncluttered interior. Flowing canvas drapes, 15-foot leather sofas, and tables of weathered quebracho hardwood section off the ground-floor public areas, and the 57 chocolate-and-burgundy rooms encircling the soaring atrium are Scandinavian in simplicity. Diners can savor Patagonian king crab, venison, or lamb as they gaze over the glacial waters and the gully-scythed mountains beyond.2006 Hot List
When to go: Avoid the stormy chill of Patagonia's winter (JuneAug.).
Which room to book: Picture windows in each of the three suites form a triptych of Lake Argentina (doubles, $220).
Amenities: Bar/loungeSubscribe now to Condé Nast Traveler for just $1 an issue! ›
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