2019 Platinum List Focus: Vik Chile
Stunning design, natural splendor and exquisite wine create a transformative experience in Chile’s golden Millahue Valley.
Two hours south of Santiago in the fertile Millahue Valley, I arrive at Vik Chile’s hilltop hotel to find a landscape lost in chilly winter fog. But as the morning progresses, soft golden light slowly unveils a narrow valley of colorful wetlands and glassy lagoons hemmed in by rolling, wooded hills, with vineyards patterning the lower slopes. Brilliant sunshine soon transforms the grey surroundings into a vibrant painting. The native Mapuche meaning of Millahue—“place of gold”—is immediately clear. And that golden light is responsible for much more than picturesque vistas: It’s also a key component in creating the world-class silky red wines of Viña Vik, Vik Chile’s accompanying 11,000-acre holistic vineyard, featuring a futuristic, eco-conscious winery.
The master suite
“This terroir is very special for red wine,” enologist Alejandra Vera explains during a tour and tasting of Vik’s three signature blends, in which varying percentages of the vineyard’s five grape varietals—cabernet sauvignon, syrah, merlot, cabernet franc and the quintessentially Chilean carmenére—are combined to utterly distinct but equally intriguing effect. “We don’t make light wines here.”
The first Chilean outpost of Vik Retreats—a collection of boutique resorts created by Norwegian billionaire Alexander Vik and his wife, Carrie—Vik Chile originated as a vineyard in 2006 before expanding in 2014 to include the Marcelo Daglio-designed hotel, notable for its crown of gleaming, rippled titanium gold. Each of the hotel’s 22 rooms highlights a contemporary Chilean or international artist; my room, an homage to Chilean realist painter Alvaro Gabler, is a delight of trompe-l’oeil trickery. With so many different artists and styles featured, each room promises a singular experience.
The Viña Vik winery
Earlier this year, Vik Chile also launched Puro Vik: 19 glass-walled bungalows enclosed by trees for privacy and featuring cohesive aesthetic themes, terrace bathtubs and valley views. “The idea is to feel surrounded by nature on all sides,” says Vik staff member Camila Matta.
While I could have been perfectly content to pass my stay soaking up the views with wine glass in hand, Vik provides plenty of diversions for fun and wellness, from hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding to taking a dip in the infinity pool or luxuriating in oenophile-oriented treatments at the deluxe Wine Spa. At the guest-exclusive Milla Milla restaurant, inventive menus of seasonal, locally grown fare are presented alongside generous pours of the three blends: Milla Cala, Vik and La Piu Belle.
Just as winemaking is an art, so is crafting the perfect vineyard retreat: It takes the right terra firma, the right weather, the right people and a passion for providing transformative experiences. I leave Vik Chile restored and eager to return. And despite the abundance of decadent wine provided, I didn’t experience a single hangover—that’s how good it is.
To discover the 2019 Platinum List Awards for Best Vineyard Experience, click here