Chile’s new adventure spa resort, Tierra Atacama Spa & Hotel, due to open its doors in January 2008, is as `green’ as can be, having followed stringent conservation policies in its construction and now employing local materials and labour in its running.
Prior to constructing the new hotel and spa, an archeological study ensured that none of the Atacama’s history was lost in the process, some site holds having been retained to show the historical strata of the site.
The original “Corral de Toros”, the cattle enclosure where in former times cattle being driven over the Andes from Argentina were sheltered has been restored and incorporated into the building, as the hotel’s entrance.
The landscaping has preserved all existing vegetation and the dead wood from pruning and clearance has been recycled to make gates and fences. A small orchard, with fruit trees, vegetables and herbs, will supply the restaurant.
Ancient canals, part of the “Ayllœ” system of the community sharing water resources have been rebuilt, a deep well and reverse osmosis plant uses the previous water resources to the full. The purest water is used for the spa, rooms and kitchens, slightly saline water is used to irrigate the gardens and the most dense in mineral and salt content is for washing exteriors and keeping dust levels low.
Throughout the hotel, the throws, blankets and cushions have been hand made by Chilean craftspeople, providing work for locals, while the hotel and spa has a policy of employing from the immediate locality.
In the restaurant, local produce is used wherever possible, such as beans from local villages, potatoes from the Altiplano, locally grown herbs and quinoa, while the spa similarly uses natural herbs, salt and mud for treatments.
Fiona Martin, for Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa, said “We’re as green as green can be, particularly considering the aggressive and hostile surroundings around us. Even our excursions are designed to make as small an impact on the environment as possible, with many excursions by bike or on foot, a policy of small groups and all trips are carefully guided to avoid impacting on the environment negatively.”
Tierra Atacama Hotel and spa receives its first visitors in January 2008. The hotel offers guests an unique combination of rugged adventure and pampering spa facilities, being located in the heart of the Atacama desert amid volcanoes, gorges, salt flats and dramatic landscape.