Award-winning travel journalist & bestselling author, Larry Olmsted, gives his lowdown on the 10 Best Hotels of 2019 in the prestigious Forbes Magazine.
“I am reflecting on wonderful travel experiences and revisiting the 10 best hotel experiences I had”, Olmsted writes. “…too much industry focus is on what’s new, rather than what’s good. I’d much rather stay at a great hotel that’s been exceptionally run for 20 years than a sexy new one still working out the kinks, but almost every other 2019 round up is ‘all new’. My focus is on just the best lodging experiences I had this year that impressed me so much that I heartily recommend them, regardless of price or longevity. Some were properties I visited for the first time, some I’ve stayed at before.”
Among this list of ten, we were delighted to stumble across our very own Awasi Iguazu, our Relais & Chateaux lodge, just 15 minutes from the Iguazu Falls.
“I visited the Awasi location on the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a truly amazing, Bucket List attraction” – Larry Olmsted for Forbes Magazine.
Olmsted opens with a bit of context on South America’s best hotels: “One of the most unique offerings in travel is South America’s home-grown groups of all-inclusive luxury adventure lodges. These typically have a full-time staff of highly trained guides and a large slate of outdoor activities to choose from daily, while including first rate lodging, dining and beverages, even wine and cocktails, in the rates. It is basically the African safari lodge model applied to active travel, rather than wildlife viewing, and there are several top operators I have covered here at Forbes in the past, including Explora and Tierra, both of which have multiple properties and both of which I highly recommend, but I had not tried Awasi, which is the most luxurious of these big three, with all three of its locations (the other two are in Chile’s amazing Atacama Desert and Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, one of the most desirable natural destinations on earth) are members of Relais & Chateaux.
“In the style of the very best safari camps, what Awasi does differently is assign a dedicated private guide and vehicle to each of its sumptuous villas for your entire stay, instead of group activities or changing guides, and then ups the culinary ante with really standout food, sommeliers and shockingly impressive craft cocktail mixologists in a remote setting where this is highly unexpected. The resort has just 14 villas, each large and featuring a private plunge pool and large deck. They call their product “truly all-inclusive” and just about the only extra you can opt for is spa treatments, which are bargains compared to just about any other place, and even normal exclusions such as airport transfers (from either nearby international airport, Argentina or Brazil) are included.”
Olmsted finishes by summing up what sets Awasi apart: “The food and drink are exceptional at any price, the guides and accommodations are first rate, and while in most cases, all-inclusive and top shelf luxury accommodations do not go together, Awasi is a delightful exception.”