A South America Treasure: Awasi Resorts

Even the butter. Even the butter at Awasi’s Iguazu’s 14 villa resort was a delightful treasure, an enticing surprise that changed with every meal, every day it was served. Detail down to the salt crystals sourced for each butter recipe is just the kind of extraordinary attention to detail that sets resorts like Awasi apart from so many other luxury properties across the globe. Awasi and the rare other resorts in its caliber are proof that accommodations can come close to matching some of the most magical places on Earth.

Awasi has three boutique properties found at the edge of Patagonia, another within Chile’s Atacama striking desert, and the newest by the spectacular Iguazu falls in Argentina. That’s a triple threat of landscapes to try to outdo as a resort offering, but Awasi no doubt does. Through its “treasures,” culinary lineup, and exceptional care of the environment, Awasi is must book for luxury travelers headed to South America.

The visionary of Awasi is Argentinian Matías de Cristóbal, a former banker turned artisan curator who was approached by developers years ago because of his rich attention to detail in the artisan crafts he sourced from nearby villages. Those same artisan crafts decorate the interiors of Awasi properties, from woven baskets to elongated, elegant clay vases. Small little “treasures,” from carved alligators to smiling straw dolls made by local Guarani communities, appear every night in guests’ suites. As Cristóbal explains, surprise and delight bring us back to childhood.This is the essence of Awasi, to bring about joy and wonder with every new found treasure.

Treasure is indeed abundant at Awasi. It’s plump scones already placed in your room for tea time every afternoon. It’s the robe folded on the edge of the tub filled with fresh, exotic bath salts. It’s the gorgeous wild toucan spotted high above the trees, a wonder itself as to how anything that small can fly with a beak the size of its entire body. It’s your guide at the front of the lobby with the car door swept suddenly open, greeting you like a friend who just arrived for the first time to the country. It’s the gracious server remembering you like sparkling water with some limes and a little ice but not too much. It’s the butter.

One of Awasi’s absolute treasures, the maker of this legendary butter, is Head Chef Manuel Agrelo. He started working in restaurants as a teenager, eventually overseeing the culinary program at Awasi’s other property in Patagonia.

Since trading glaciers for rainforest, Agrelo has honed daily menus showcasing the abundance of the onsite garden he tends along with Awasi volunteers. Every meal celebrated gems from the garden including sprouts, gorgeous beets, edible flowers, massive salad leaves and more. I’m still thinking about a purple potato mash appetizer at one dinner that delighted me with its abundant flavors. There’s something special to a meal when you can tell the chef has grown, harvested, or picked every morsel of a dish, and that’s how it feels with each of Agrelo’s. If you’re lucky to be staying at Awasi when Agrelo offers a locals’ seven course or so tasting menu, absolutely go for it.

It’s one thing for a resort group to sprinkle its guests with treasures like an outstanding culinary program, but it’s another thing when a property treasures its environment to the point of carbon neutrality. Most properties aim for a low carbon footprint with sustainability practices such as the removal of all plastics, sourcing food from local farms, or ensuring all products are biodegradable. Awasi does all of these practices and more along with protecting 340 hectares (about 1.3 square miles) of native forests in Iguazu and Patagonia, both areas

guests can visit with their guides. Awasi estimates these protected areas absorb more than 10,000 tonnes of C02 every year, offsetting its emissions including those of its guests’ who travel to its properties. I’d love to see more of this land protection practice in place at luxury properties, especially in places as magnificent as those of Awasi’s properties.

To be clear, the Iguazu falls, just a ten minute drive from Awasi Iguazu, are magnificent in an unbelievable, “this must be magic” kind of way. Like Patagonia and the Atacama desert, the falls draw international tourists year round. But there’s something more to visiting these places when you chose an Awasi property. I found a large guest book propped open in the lobby one evening after a day hiking around the falls. I flipped through it.

Dozens of pages (ever since the property reopened after COVID-19) are filled by guests with notes of appreciation, mini love letters, and even stunning drawings depicting the magic of Awasi. Guests from around the globe universally love the treasure Awasi holds. Beyond the butter, I now love it, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post El Vicenç De La Mar Is Mallorca’s Hottest New Beachfront Hotel
Next post In Andalusia, Spain, A Train Ride Through 19th Century Memory Lane