FOR PLEASURE - I recently stayed in the two Explora hotels in Chile - in the Atacama desert in the north and in the Torres del Paine national park in Patagonia, on the shores of Lake Pehoe. The hotels are designed to blend with the landscape, which is staggeringly beautiful. At Atacama, we visited the Altiplano, about 10,000 feet up, where the landscape is almost lunar. We flew from Atacama to the Patagonia Explora, in the south.
It offers activities such as walking and riding, and we went on a boat trip to the glaciers from which the staff cut ice for our drinks. The scenery is unspoilt, and when out walking you can see condors and a variety of trees, plants and shrubs. The food at both hotels is excellent, and the staff welcoming. Everything is restrained and tasteful, including the rooms, which at the Patagonia hotel have stunning views of the lake and Torres del Paine mountains. I'd love to go back. So much of it was remote and unspoilt.
Sir Richard Carew Pole is president of the Royal Horticultural Society.