March 9-12, 2018
This northern area of the Lakes District, northeast of Temuco, has a more refined feel. There are fewer homesteads and larger acreages of pasture land and grain fields. It’s prettier, more open and less populated. However, it also does not have the mass adventure tourism industry that you have around Pucón. This may be a plus or negative depending on what you are looking for.
This tidy lodge on the road to Lonquimay has a variety of sleeping options including camping, cabins and four ensuite rooms in the main house.
Our ensuite room was spacious with high ceilings and a Swiss flair such as Individual down comforters on the comfortable king size bed. The room and bathroom are in good condition and very clean. Small euro shower. Amenities included a safe and hair dryer although we needed our plug adapter for their hair dryer.
The only real draw back for us was the lack of outlets, only one in the bedroom next to the main light switch and two in the bathroom next to the sink. They do have outlets in the dining room down stairs, but it is three outlets together and not very convenient if very many people need to charge things.
The second week in March business was slow. All four of the rooms in the main building were occupied our first night. The second night we were the only ones and on the third it was us and one other couple. No one was camping.
The breakfast buffet had a nice selection even on the days where there were few guests. Choices included – cereal, yogurt, milk, cheese, cold cuts, whole fruits, tiny muffins, homemade jams, butter, and nice breads. Scrambled eggs are offered and cooked to order. Brewed coffee and hot milk.
While half board is offered in the pricing when they don’t have enough guests to do a set menu dinner is ordered off of the a la carte menu. The wood paneled dining room has a pleasant mountain chalet atmosphere and a selection of wines are available for purchase.
Behind the lodge llamas graze.
All in all a good location for exploring the area and a pleasant place to relax and dine after a day of hiking.
Note on Pricing and Paying the Bill. Sergio, the owner, states on the reservation confirmation that he sends you that his prices include 19% VAT, but that you will not have to pay the VAT if you pay in cash with foreign currency only, i.e., USD, Euro or Swiss Franc. Chilean laws allows for the VAT exemption if paying by credit card as well, but some owners will only give you the tax discount if you pay cash. Since he quotes prices in Chilean pesos you lose more than half the discount in the exchange rate he offers you. It’s still better than paying the Chilean peso price but don’t expect a 19% discount as he keeps 10% of the discount for himself through the exchange rate. This may anger some guests, but he is quite up front with it as his exchanges rates are clearly posted at the front desk. He gave us the same VAT discount for food which is not included in the law. Overall it is not as good a deal as you might expect but his prices are good and the room and board he offers are worth the price he charges.
Overall a tasty and well prepared meal. There were eight guests in the dining room and dinner, one set menu (carpaccio de res, lasagna de vedura, mousse de chocolate), was served between 8 and 9.
The beef carpaccio was of excellent quality and topped with capers, cranberries and dried parmesan cheese. An interesting mix of flavors, not un-pleasant but rather untraditional. My only real complaint is that they serve it fresh out of the fridge. It would have been nicer served closer to room temperature.
The lasagna, layers of cheese and veggies, would delight any vegetarian or cheese lover. I found it well done and tasty.
A generous portion of chocolate mousse with walnut. Although I loved the large chunk of walnuts it was a little too sweet for my tastes.
As we were the only two guests dining tonight there was no set menu available and we had to order off the a la carte menu. As such dining hours were more flexible as well. They have a fairly extensive menu of salads, sandwiches, rosti (a Swiss potato dish something like hash browns) and knöpfli (Swiss noodle something like spätzli) paired with various kinds of meat, steak, pork cutlet, chicken and salmon.
The seasonal salad ordered for two was a disappointment, mostly iceberg lettuce and grated carrot with some Kalamata olives with overly vinegary pickled cauliflower and croutons.
The mains, simple and basic, were cooked to order and well prepared. Don’s port cutlet was nicely cooked and my steak was very rare, rarer than I usually eat, but more a communications error than the fault of the kitchen. The meat was tender flavorful. Our starches, one rosti and one knöpfli, were both well done and tasty.
On our third night at the lodge there was again no set menu as it was only us and one other couple.
We basically had the same thing we ordered the night before except we switched the starches between us – Don had the knöpfli and I the rosti with the pork cutlet and the chicken. It was fine but if this isn’t your go-to meal it could get boring in a hurry. They do have some pasta and sandwich options as well.
To mix it up a bit we started with soup. The tomato soup was made with roasted tomatoes and was good but thick and over seasoned for my tastes, tasting more like pasta sauce than soup. The squash soup was also quite thick and much more mildly seasoned.
Pizza at Nativa Malalcahuello
Located on route 181 between Malalcahuello town and Suizandina this pizzeria serves a wide selection of pizzas and beers as well as other options. The thin crust pizza serves two and was nicely done. We ordered the Nativa with local ingredients including – the nuts from the araucaria tree, venison, arugula and a local cheese. Excellent.