San Pedro de Atacama´s essence and culture is based on customs of offering hospitality, comfort, peace, and tranquility to its travelers. Terrantai Lodge shares this sentiment, and furthermore our inspiration for construction the lodge is rooted in a desire to honor the spirit of traditional Atacameño customs. Our wish is to offer an authentic experience amongst these sacred, desert soils in a manner that reflects and respects the Atacameño spirit.
Terrantai Lodge is a 19th century historic home. Due to the building's unique history and location, it is in fact recognized as a Chilean National Monument. In 1980, the Chilean government declared the buildings surrounding the church in San Pedro de Atacama as part of “The Historic Sector”. In 1996, the construction of the hotel took place. The conservation of the cultural heritage of this historic house was and is paramount. The reception and living areas, as well as rooms along the original corridor have been preserved in their original state conserving the original Atacameño architecture.
Furthermore, as homage to local culture and environmental consciousness, the materials used in the construction of the rest of the lodge came directly from the Atacama Desert. The hand-chosen, lenticular, river stones and sun-baked, adobe walls invoke the ancient construction methods used by the Atacameños.
Mathias Klotz, Chilean Architect
Mathias Klotz, renowned Chilean architect, partnered with Terrantai for this special preservation and transformation project. He incorporated local materials into the construction of the 70 centimeter thick adobe walls, rock walls, and wooden structures. Lake mud and rocks and wood from the old railroad for example were essential.
Additionally, all the decor found in lodge, from the wool blankets and hand painted lamps to the table with local algarrobo and chañar seed and mosaic flooring were handmade and constructed by local Atacameña artisans.
A Philosophy of Sustainability
At the time of the 1996 construction, the indigenous communities living in the ayllus (the original agricultural and residential areas) had no drinking water. As an act of solidarity, the administration of the time decided that the pool should be modest (6 x 3 x 1.20 m) to symbolize the importance of water conservation and respect for our natural resources in the Atacama Desert. We invite our guests to escape a moment from the heat of sun and take a refreshing dip in our small, open-air pool, while keeping in mind the importance of water conservation.
Terrantai Lodge also uses natural energy to help us preserve the purity of our planet. The Atacama Desert gathers world renown rates of solar radiation (light and heat given off by the sun) which is then converted into energy. The water used in the hotel and pool is heated by solar panels and kept in special heat preservation containers.