(CNN) — At the new Puro Vik, guests sleep in glass boxes.
When Norwegian-Uruguayan entrepreneur Alex Vik and his American wife, Carrie, opened the 22-room design and art-centric Vik Chile in Millahue Valley, they brought an unprecedented level of luxury and sophistication to Chile.
About a two-hour drive from Santiago, Millahue Valley is Chilean wine country, and the setting is ripe for luxury and relaxation.
Although the country has some five-star hotels, Jack Ezon, the founder of the luxury New York City travel consultancy Embark and an expert in the hotel industry, says that none were in the league of Vik.
People in glass houses
With Puro Vik, the couple have raised the bar again. The property is comprised of a collection of 19 glass houses. Each its own suite for two, the houses hang from the steep hills just below Vik Chile.
The individually decorated houses are spread out in complete seclusion from one another and have three walls made entirely of glass. The aesthetic's aim to immerse guests in the dramatic 11,000 acres of landscape that comprise Vina Vik, the Vik's winery which is globally renowned for its red wines, produces a powerful effect.
Guests who stay are engulfed by panoramas of the surrounding treetops, foliage and hills blanketed in vines. You feel outside on the inside.
Puro Vik's glass houses are a unique accommodation, meant to make guests feel truly at one with their natural surroundings.
Courtesy of Puro Vik
One of Vik Chile's most notable and much-talked about design touches are the floor-to-ceiling windows in every guest room, and Alex Vik says that with Puro Vik, he and Carrie wanted to push the idea of transparency further.
"Guests should feel like they're floating on top of the valley and amid the trees," he says. Privacy seekers needn't worry: All the rooms have black out blinds.
The couple conceived of the idea for Puro Vik several years ago and, like Vik Chile, and their other four hotels — three in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay and their new hotel in Milan, Galleria Vik Milano — designed every element themselves. They hired the Uruguayan architect Marcelo Daglio, who also worked on Vik Chile, to execute their vision.
Design in mind
Alex says that he and Carrie traveled the world to source the furniture and decorative accents for the rooms and that all of the pieces have a purpose.
The Japanese-themed Hiroshige suite, for example, features four works by the eponymous Japanese artist, who was one of the masters of ukiyo-e, which translates to pictures of the floating world. "We've always been drawn to Japanese design," says Alex. The suite also has tatami mats, which are often used in traditional Japanese-style rooms, along with a low platform bed, common in Japan.
In keeping with the Vik's philosophy, forward-thinking art and design are integral to their latest passion project: Each glass house has a theme that the Viks are fans of such as Japan with the prominent 19th century Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige, the art of glass with Dale Chihuly, holographic art, pop art, 18th century France, bohemian design and neon and light.
Each of the 19 glass houses contains three walls made of glass. Black-out blinds come down at night for sleeping.
Courtesy of Puro Vik
The Letras (letters in Spanish) Suite was inspired by fun and play: It has six paintings hanging above the bed inscribed with different words. Three of the six paintings feature words in the color of red wine from the vineyard and were inspired by a Spanish toast — "salud, pesetas y amor" — which translates to "health, money and love." The Letras suite's standout piece may just be the red boxing glove-shaped chair. The Viks found the chair at a village auction in France.
Bathrooms are just as creative: Each has a different kind of marble (many of the marbles are from Italy) and handmade Japanese washi paper suspended between two panes of glass.
The houses share some similarities such as the free-standing glass closet that was designed in Italy, wide-planked hardwood floors and a large terrace with a soaking tub for two.
Life of leisure
"Ideally, guests should two take baths a day. One in the morning and another at sunset with their partners while they're drinking glasses of wine," says Alex.
The Japanese-themed Hiroshige suite has tatami mats, which are often used in traditional Japanese-style rooms, along with a low platform bed, common in Japan.
Courtesy of Puro Vik
Of course, there's nothing to suggest the solo traveler wouldn't derive just as much contentment from this relaxing pastime.
Puro Vik is less than a five-minute walk from Vik Chile, and guests have access to Vik's amenities including the spa, pool and restaurant. A stay also includes all meals (with wine) and myriad activities including horseback riding, hiking, biking, wine tasting, paintball, birdwatching and astronomy evening walks.
Ezon says that the travel industry has been abuzz about Puro Vik ever since the Vik's announced its opening. "The Viks are masters at combining cutting edge design with world class art and food in destinations that are usually uncharted," he says. "Puro Vik is the sexiest of their properties and has incredible views. So many people I know are dying to stay there."
Puro Vik, Millahue s/n, San Vincente de Tagua Tagua, 569-6193-1754, Nightly rates from $1,100