Summer Gone? Maybe Not…

Brrr – I returned home from hot Oman, East Africa and Dubai – Old Man Winter greeted me on arrival. This is the perfect time to think about extending summer in another hemisphere! Think Chile or Uruguay.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThink Vina Vik in Chile. November to March, its officially summer in Chile; mark you calendar, let’s reserve and continue the summer season.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACombine warm sunshine and hiking, biking, a striking location including world class art, sculpture and fine dining – oh, and sipping Vino Vik…

Henry David Thoreau said it best:

“Always maintain a kind of summer even in the middle of winter.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASay Yes to Summer! Say Yes to Vina Vik, Chile!

Vina Vik, Chile

Story Two –  Viña Vik is an art filled 22-suite avant-garde retreat and wine spa located in Millahue, Chile on the VIK vineyard. The vineyard retreat is perched on a pinnacle above a blue lake with panoramic 360-degree views of the vines, rolling verdant valleys, conical shaped mountains and in the distance, the grand Andes Mountains.

Rising above the grape vines, you might gasp in awe of the structure perched above the linear vines. Although public photos of the custom designed titanium dome roof aren’t allowed to be posted yet, imagine a curvy, wavering sculptural Frank Gehry-esque soaring roof line. First impression is awe-inspiring and all that follows at Vina Vik will continue to excite and astonish.

Hospitality, charm and elegance envelop you from the moment you alight from the car. Friendly wait staff  present a chilled cocktail as you are welcomed into the large living room, refresh and relax – you have arrived!

The living room is actually composed of several hip, chic and colorful seating areas. Each unique and distinctive space is filled with a diverse selection of art: on the walls, imbedded in the glass tabletops, camouflaged as avant-garde lighting, a curated collection.Hard to take your eyes off the art, but a courtyard Asian influenced garden beckons, just through the floor to ceiling glass walls. The 22 suites are built around the edges of a Zen garden. Massive windows and sliding doors flood each room with the awe-inspiring countryside vistas. Similar to their Uruguayan VIK retreats, a drop-dead infinity pool cantilevered over the valley is a tempting oasis. Spend a late hot afternoon in a chaise or one of the cozy cabana type nesting chairs or saunter back late afternoon for a sunset yoga class on the pool deck, hovering above the valley and the lake.

Leisure or active – you choose from the long list of pursuits: guided tours through the VIK winery, horseback excursions through the vineyard and surrounding mountain trails or tours on mountain bicycles. Cooking classes in the original 4-room cabin near the winery, or savor a breakfast in the vineyards, eggs collected that morning from the apparently free-range chickens! Camp breakfast served in the absolute pinnacle of al fresco standards.

Dining options, glassed walled dining room, a table for two in the vineyards, massive barbeques served Chilean style with every cut of meat imaginable, traditional barbecue is an art form in Chile. Food focus is on fresh, local and seasonal and mostly organic produce; the menu can include house made smoked salmon, bacon and duck prosciutto, and ice cream and sorbet. The superb chefs easily accomplish dietary restrictions. Following adventurous excursions, guests may savor delicious gastronomic treats from exceptional four course high culinary experiences to barbeques set amidst the vineyard hacienda enjoying Chilean inspired cuisine paired with exquisite VIK wine.

Indulge in the tranquil spa, where the wine theme continues; several grape-themed treatments, such as the VIK Experience, which includes an in house designed scrub of grape seeds and pieces of grape; a wrap in grape seed extract, and a massage with grape seed lemongrass oil. The after massage room is decorated with bright yellow chaise providing views of the spa garden; warm winds gently waft through the open doors, the only sound is the gently ruffling of the grassy garden. Soothing art with barely discernible moving images complete the tranquil experience. Elements which will guarantee a peaceful nap.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Rooms

My Scrumptious Suite – Azulejo

With remote control-operated panoramic windows overlooking mountain and vineyard vistas, each individual suite showcases a different artist and theme, with over half the works created by Chileans in an effort to introduce talented local artisans to an international stage.

Highlights include a bathroom covered entirely in pennies; a wall mural of hand crafted Portuguese blue-tiles depicting the surrounding wine estate (look closely and you’ll recognize Alexander and Carrie Vik in the scene); a master suite with natural rock floors; and a permanent James Turrell LED light installation within the owner’s suite. Each room is an homage to a different theme and artist – I loved the room incorporating the iconic bright orange Hermes boxes in a nod to a Donald Judd sculpture. Certainly if your taste runs from Japanese Zen Master, to absolute whimsy or over the top old world France, you would be happy here. Visuals rule in the rooms and the outdoor settings – one couldn’t have found a more impressive physical location for Vina Vik Retreat.

Magical combination of art, fine dining, delicious wine, and gorgeous countryside make for a Very Very Sensational VIK Retreat.Fornasetti Suite-0311Living Room-0627Minimalist Suite-0390Retro Suite-0413