The Hotel


New as of late 2014, Viña Vik hotel quite literally reigns over the Millahue Valley. Designed to resemble a gold ring (Millahue translates as "place of gold" in the native Mapuche language), the hotel's titanium roof glows forth from its privileged position overlooking rolling hills lined with green vines and a large lagoon.


The 11,000–acre plot of land was bought by Norwegian–Uruguayan entrepreneur, Alexander Vik. With a clear aim of creating one of the world's best wines, Mr. Vik spent a year testing the soil before committing to the plot — 6,000 soil testers later and he was convinced that this was the place to sew his vines.


Communal areas include a wonderful granite infinity pool (a Vik trademark also seen at Playa Vik in Uruguay) with a map of the southern hemisphere stars in LEDs on the bottom. Positioned so that it looks like it's overhanging the lagoon below, the sun lounger deck backs on to a gym, yoga room and games room. The lower floor is home to the spa with its five massage rooms and sauna. As well as massages and facials using grape–derived products, hair care treatments are also on the menu.


The Rooms


Whichever room you happen to have, it is well worth asking for a tour of some the others. There's the patriotic Chile room with its cactus wood furniture and adobe bathroom; the modern Redondo room where bedside tables take the form of women down on hands–and–knees; and the historic Louis Louis with its Napoleonic paintings of destruction–ravaged Europe in winter. It has dead horses and soldiers scattered among burned–down farm buildings, off set with classical French furniture.


The bathrooms are fascinating in their own right. From Norge, which is entirely covered in slate, including the sinks and the bath; to Vik with its hanging fiberglass bath and titanium walls with a gold tinge; and Hermes where the walls are lined with magazine shots of models, as well as a large photo of Mr and Mrs Vik themselves. The Viks like to make an appearance, and in Azulejo there's a blue–and–white scene painted on ceramic tiles and depicting the wine harvest. At first it looks like a reproduction of some Bacchic revelry, but look closer and you may recognize head wine maker, Patrick Valette, alongside Alexander and Carrie Vik.


The Cuisine


Viña Vik has a "zero kms" policy meaning that produce comes from local providers in the surrounding region. There are no menus and every meal is different. It may be, for example, mushroom soup with blue cheese and cured ham made on the estancia, followed by waghu beef with risotto, courgettes and bacon, then red berries in créme ingles for dessert.


Chef Rodrigo Acuña Bravo, a Chilean who has worked in Canada and most recently held court at Lapostolle just down the road, collects flowers and herbs from the surrounding hills, sources seafood from Pichelemu on the coast (just 60km away) and gets much of the meat from the estancia, including rabbit. No less than 70 percent of ingredients come from the Vik organic kitchen garden.


The Activities


Days are spent wine tasting and exploring the vineyard on foot, bicycle, or horseback with the wonderful huaso (horseman), Nano. One thousand of the 11,000 acres are sewn with vines — demanding a workforce of 400 people since almost everything is done by hand — and the grapes take the form of five varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc.


Hotel VIK


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