Concierge.com's insider take:
Because it's so darn hard to get around this part of the world, airports are a big deal. (After spending hours in the back of a 4X4 or in a violently rocking ship, you'll understand why.) Which is why the city of Punta Arenas is important to travelers: It serves as a midpoint between the northerly Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego farther south. If you're traveling that far down, you'll likely be staying a night or two here, for which we suggest this property. The former residence of a rich family that made its profits on wool in the 1800s, the brick edifice on the central Plaza de Armas was completed in 1890. The family filled it with Europe's finest lamps, curtains, carriage clocks, and other adornments. Declared a national monument in 1982, it opened ten years later as a 22-room hotel, and is still crammed with much of the original furniture. The Old World elegance and comfort contrast nicely with the rough-and-tumble treatment you're likely to get on the rest of your trip. The elegance extends to the Club de la Unión bar and the glass-domed Pérgola restaurant, arrayed around an indoor winter garden. And although it's more about overstuffed furniture than modern amenities, it does have Wi-Fi in the lobby.