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Hotel Highlights

  • Patagonian postcard perfection
  • City-standard cuisine with the best local produce
  • A great base for trekking, cycling, horseriding, skiing, flyfishing and hunting

Overview

Located just outside San Martin de los Andes, the luxury lodge Rio Hermoso hotel offers interiors of richly-hued local stones and timber, tribal artefacts, and empire-size beds and furnishings. All set in a Patagonian playground – a trout-filled river, fir-covered mountains and bright blue lakes teeming with wildlife – that’s equally as impressive.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Río Hermoso with us:

A bottle of Patagonian red

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Río Hermoso

5% off three-night stays 10% off five-night stays Early booking offer: 20% off

Facilities

View Gallery
Rio Hermoso - San Martin de los Andes - Argentina

Need To Know

Rooms

Seven, including six suites.

Check–out

11am, but flexible for 25 per cent of the daily rate. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $289.26, excluding tax at 21 per cent.

More details

Rates include breakfast and tax.

Also

The beautiful river is the star of the show. Swim in its piercingly clear waters in summer, listen to its deafening roar in snow-swollen winter, and watch the trout literally jump upstream at spawning time in spring. The long, low, bleached-wood benches and outdoor sofas of the wide veranda provide the perfect spot for water worship.

At the hotel

Library of DVDs and books, gardens and free WiFi. In rooms, Organ & Co bath products.

Our favourite rooms

All rooms feature white-linened, empire-sized beds big enough to catch a fish in. We liked the three upstairs rooms off the library-like landing full of old Spanish medical and legal textbooks: No.3’s daffodil yellow armchair commands the best river view in a cosy eaves setting, and lime-lightened No.1’s terrace proffers the perfect spot for a warming or cooling glass of wine, depending on the season.

Packing tips

A hip flask, a pocket-warmer and your favourite beanie if coming to ski.

Also

The common areas are subtly perfumed with mood-enhancing eucalypt and sandlewood scents; the property also stocks local merino wool designers, Von and Dungen.

Children

This hotel is better suited to couples - leave the children at home!

Eco‐friendly

Rio Hermoso sources most food from the nearby Melquina township and outlying region, and recycles almost obsessively, even sending unused produce to a local orphanage.

Food & Drink

View Gallery
Rio Hermoso - San Martin de los Andes - Argentina

Hotel Restaurant

Buenos Aires-trained chef Julian brings a touch of French flair to the menu. Meals are taken in one half of the expansive, glass-walled living room, the white linen tablecloths and red- and orange-striped cushioned chairs dappled by the light off the water. Afternoon tea involves test tubes full of loose leaf teas – go traditional with ceylons and darjeelings or off the map with black toffee, puer or lemon flower. Breakfast is a feast of brownies, breads and cereals, with eggs on demand; make sure you try the dangerously creamy huevos revueltos.

Hotel Bar

The housegirls whip up a potent caipirinha behind the little elevated bar in the middle of the big entertaining room downstairs. Bar stools encourage languid, pidgin-Spanish conversations; or choose one of the boardgames and settle in for thrashing.

Last orders

Everyone is rosy-cheeked and reflective by 10pm, so don’t expect to eat too late.

Room service

Apart from the dead-of-night munchies, most things can be brought to the room at any time.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Designer fleece in winter; plaid shirts and comfy Merrells all year round.

Top table

When it’s warm enough, ask for a table and umbrella out in the garden by the river.

Local Guide

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Rio Hermoso - San Martin de los Andes - Argentina
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

On the mountain, El Balcon is handily mid-piste with panaromic Patagonian views. It serves the best parilla grub at Cerro Chapelco, with what might be the worst service. If you don’t feel like skiing after their triple-portion, protein-packed asado, served over hot coals at the table, just trust to gravity.

Local bars

Argentines are famously vain, so the après-ski scene is wall-to-wall reflector glasswear and Prada ski jackets. Come down to base camp a little early to snag one of the white leather-look sofas dragged out onto the snow at the bar at the far end of the lift area. It mixes the best tracks and avoids some of the attitude of the more crowded, watched-and-be-watched joints closer to the end of the slopes.

+ Enlarge
Waterfront wilderness

Río Hermoso

Ruta 63 km 67, Pje. Río Hermoso, Parque Nacional Lanín, San Martin de los Andes, Neuquén, 8370

Rio Hermoso is about 30 minutes south of lakeside town, San Martin de Los Andes.

Planes

Flights in to San Martin with Aerolineas Argentinas (www.aerolineas.com.ar) are infrequent but the most convenient. For daily options with other local carriers, including LAN Chile (www.lan.com), Bariloche is the best alternative, but it's a two- to three-hour transfer, depending if the national park shortcut is snowed in or not.

Automobiles

Most of the big-brand car rental agencies are available at Bariloche; the range is more restricted at San Martin de los Andes. This is rugged territory; don’t attempt any offroad driving without a good car. Horses, cows and the odd stag are common fellow road-users.

Reviews

View Gallery
Rio Hermoso - San Martin de los Andes - Argentina

Anonymous review

by Lucinda Paxton , Envy-inducing nomad

I had just completed my cowgirl dream of riding horseback across the Andes, and it was time to move along to my next Argentinian adventure: a stay at Rio Hermoso hotel, a relaxed riverside lodge outside of San Martin de los Andes. I managed to grab a lift with three handsome guides from my middle-of-nowhere horse ranch, and we happily cruised off soaking up big-sky vistas and the hipp…
Read more

Río Hermoso

Anonymous review by Lucinda Paxton, Envy-inducing nomad

I had just completed my cowgirl dream of riding horseback across the Andes, and it was time to move along to my next Argentinian adventure: a stay at Rio Hermoso hotel, a relaxed riverside lodge outside of San Martin de los Andes.

I managed to grab a lift with three handsome guides from my middle-of-nowhere horse ranch, and we happily cruised off soaking up big-sky vistas and the hippy road-tripping tunes of Bob Marley. Things were looking up. That was until the giggling group (I smelled the rat just before we neared a police station and all the windows were quickly rolled down) dropped me – not at my destination – but in the nearby town.

It’s true that Rio Hermoso is so far from civilization that few can be bothered to drive the off-road track to get to this chilled-out hideaway. Oh, but they should – this is unplugged luxury at its best.

Rio Hermoso is the kind of place that demands you drop out from your everyday life and slip into sensible (yet stylish) hiking shoes. Evenings have nothing more on the agenda than hours spent curled up under blankets with a super-sized glass of wine in hand beneath a sky of stars. It’s a Patagonian playground – circled with mountains, flanked by a river and glossy grassy flower-filled meadows – and essentially Narnia for grown ups.

I eventually arrived (in my usual unruly state) to be warmly greeted by women elegantly dressed in the local gaucho trousers tied with red sashes and snow-white Superga sneakers (it worked).

I was then whisked away to my room, a superbly snug wood cabin styled in a mix of Japanese Zen with natural accents. It was simple, yet elegant, with smooth wood walls, iridescent chandeliers suspended above suck-you-in couches and whopping day beds on the porch.

While not a spa hotel (there’s a swimmable river, think: natural spa), they do excel at above-and-beyond service. I’d mentioned in an email about my bum-numbing horse ride over the Andes, and at check-in they thoughtfully asked ‘Que quieres masaje?’  

Quicker than my horse had bolted through what must have been the only construction zone in Patagonia, a masseuse appeared in my room and set up her super-slick massage table. I must admit, I was a tad scared ­– she looked fearsomely strong and terribly efficient. But oh my days, was she good…  she certainly knew a thing or two about reflexology and deep tissue massage, and I completely wilted in her hands.

I am the sort of person who needs a coffee immediately in the morning. I rolled over the next morning  (five times – I counted– in that oversized bed before reaching the phone on the nightstand)­ to ring up room service. In less than five minutes, a most excellent café cortado arrived.

The lightning-quick delivery did force me out of my princess-in-a-pea bed and into my fluffy white robe, but it was totally worth the effort. Before hopping back into bed with my morning java, I flung back the curtains and opened the glass doors onto the private balcony so I could take in the eye-popping panoramic view of the green-clad mountains in Lanin National Park.

The only thing to distract me from the great outdoors was the simple, sexy desk in room. I have a desk fetish, which sounds weirder than it is (maybe). My own desk is a masterpiece of chaotic clutter. I call the mess ‘artistic’, but deep down I know it hampers productivity, as I spend more time writing lists about clearing it than actually working at it.

So when I step into a room with a desk like this –sleek, clean, entirely Instagrammable – I melt a little. I lovingly placed my computer onto the polished wood and photographed it. ‘I will write today,’ I tell myself, but then I Skype Mr Smith instead.

Don’t judge me. Yes, I had flown halfway across the world to the wilds of Patagonia get away from blinking screens, but I was in unplugged cabin heaven with an ironic need to share it.

I had to tell him about my secluded balcony where I could sunbathe naked because, well, who would see me? There was also the triple-chocolate cheesecake so indulgent that I had to return to the room with it and finish it off as I lazed in my massive bed. Of course, there was also the surrounding landscape – the stuff of my wildest fantasies, and the sparkling river where I could hop right into in-between reading and lounging on the perfect crescent-shaped beach, the list was endless…

Although hard to justify even to myself that this trip was not entirely a holiday, I did manage to take the odd picture and scribble the occasional thought down. Of course Rio Hermoso pretty much instructs one not to work (making it my dream mobile work space).

Which, in the end, is far more fun than hiding behind a screen to edit millions of photographs of a landscape that is so insanely epic that you have no choice but to use the word epic.

Instead, Rio Hermoso says, ‘Switch off and take selfies on your balcony so it looks as if you’re floating on the Rio Hermoso river, flying in the sky or at one with a tree (if you squint a bit).’ I’m so very glad that I listened…

The Guestbook

Reviews of Río Hermoso from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

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