On Rapa Nui
Explora Easter Island named best hotel in Latin America
Travel + Leisure magazine ranked the 30-room lodge at number 13 out of 100 hotels in the world, making it the only hotel from the region in the top 15.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
The hotel's free form structure was designed to fit seamlessly into the volcanic environment that surrounds it.
According to the prestigious Travel + Leisure Magazine, Chile is now home to the best hotel in Latin America: Explora Rapa Nui. New to the ‘world’s best’ list this year, Explora Rapa Nui ranked at 13 of the 100 top hotels in the world, the only hotel in Latin America to rank in the top 15.
Opened originally in 2007, the hotel is not only the most luxurious on Easter Island, Chile’s most geographically isolated territory, but also the most environmentally friendly. Huddled low over the ground, the Posada Mike Rapu’s free form structure was designed to fit seamlessly into the volcanic environment that surrounds it. The Explora Rapa Nui was conceived to have the smallest possible impact on its environment, standing on a patch of unarable land free of archaeological remains, with the original topography and plant life of its surroundings fastidiously maintained.
The first hotel in Latin America to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the United States Green Building Council, the Explora Rapa Nui is sustainable and environmentally friendly quite literally down to its foundations. The base upon which the entire hotel structure sits was created with rocks extracted on-site and set in the ground by local builders. The structure above uses the island’s climate and other new technologies to keep energy use low.
Just as central to the hotel’s conservationism is its intense focus on patronizing and supporting local cultural traditions. The hotel’s all-inclusive scheme includes a daily excursion on the island with one of Explora’s guides, all of whom are staffed by the island’s local population. Based here, guests take daily excursions around the island, enjoying fresh seafood by the sea, and hiking around the perimeters of the island’s extinct volcanic craters.
The rest of the Travel + Leisure list was rounded off by ultra-luxurious safari lodges in Africa, refurbished 18th century palaces in India, and some of the world’s most venerable luxury destinations in cities like New York and Bangkok. The Explora Rapa Nui – a small hotel cast out to sea on a tiny island – keeps some impressive company, and continues to lead the pack of eco-friendly, luxury hotels in Latin America.