Clichés are unavoidable when describing the Arakur Resort & Spa, Cerro Alarkén 1, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. It is, indeed, perched on a ledge of Mount Alarkén 800 feet above sea level, and nestled in the Reserva Natural Cerro Alarkén with its distinctive forests, flora and fauna. The panoramic view from its walls of windows are nothing short of breathtaking, encompassing the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia’s piece of Argentina and even a bit of Chile to the south.
The hotel has a heated swimming pool, fitness center and free WiFi throughout. The décor is suitably rustic, with walls faced in blocks of stone, furniture that appears to be constructed of wood and animal hide, and lots of wood paneling (some of which is wide and vertical and others horizontal stripes of small rectangular blocks). The artwork is suitably organic and definitely not pictorial.
My second floor room had a comfy bed with duvet, one of those bathrooms with a glass wall between the tub and the bed, and a glorious view over Ushuaia. I never even turned on the 40-inch television.
I checked into the Arakur the night before embarking on a cruise to Antarctica. It was early summer in the Southern Hemisphere (also known as late December), and the temperatures were in the 40s and 50s. Surprisingly, it’s not much colder there in winter (hovering around freezing) — but if you’re a snow sports aficionado, it’s just about perfect. Cerro Castor, a ski resort is about a 20 minute drive — and the hotel offers a seasonal shuttle to the Cerro Castor plus boot and ski cleaning once you’re back.
If I’d been paying attention, I would have planned to spend more than one night there. Not only had I no time to enjoy the swimming pool, but I missed exploring the botanical wonders of the region. The Arakur is located within the Natural Reserve Cerro Alarkén — 247 acres of the flora and fauna typical of Tierra del Fuego. There are several hiking trails, and the resort offers guided trekking through the native forests of lengas, ñires and coihues. The National Park Tierra del Fuego isn’t far, and offers more hiking opportunities.
And I haven’t even mentioned Ushuaia, the town at the “End of the World” (the hotel provides complementary shuttle service hourly). Lupines (such as those I found blooming all across Prince Edward Island in Canada last fall) were in full flower along the roads. From the wall of windows in the Arakur, I could see the city of 70,000 spread out below the mountain and along the Beagle Channel. Touristy shops and cafés awaited me along the main street. My cruise ship departed from its port, which also does a bustling freight business.
You can make a reservation via the hotel’s website or on one of the usual hotel booking sites such as Travelocity or Expedia. My single room, which included the buffet breakfast, was about $260. The Arakur Resort and Spa is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World.
This is one of the works of art in the hotel:
(Photos courtesy of Arakur Resort & Spa and by Susan McKee, who stayed at the hotel as part of her excursion to Antarctica sponsored by Poseidon Expeditions)