OF ALL the rewards of a trek in Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile — glaciers and dazzling blue lakes included — a glimpse of the three giant granite towers is surely one of the biggest.
And come next year, luxury will meet nature with the opening of a 12-villa lodge next to the national park in Patagonia.
Guests will wake in one of the 12 villas (one with a plunge pool) to views of the monoliths that English adventurer Lady Florence Dixie dubbed "Cleopatra's Needles" during her visit in the 1800s.
The lodge will accommodate a maximum of 26 guests, and common areas will include a restaurant and living room.
Rio Las Chinas separates the property from the national park, which is a 10-minute drive away for day walks.
A private reserve is being created around the villas to protect the flora and fauna, with native woodland also a buffer from the area's keen winds.
It's not the first time the Spanish owner, Ana Sainz de Vicunahas, has designed luxury in a remote place. She is also the owner of Awasi in northern Chile at San Pedro de Atacama, on the edge of the Atacama Desert.
There, each guest room is assigned a four-wheel-drive and guide to explore the Altiplano lagoons, archaeological sites and thermal pools.
The Awasi costs from $US770 ($750) a person a night including transfers, all meals, alcohol and daily excursions.
Perth's house of heritage
OVER in boom country the Terrace Hotel, with jarrah staircases and crystal chandeliers, has opened in Perth's West End. On the corner of St Georges Terrace and Mount Street, the hotel includes the heritage-listed St George House built in 1892 by the Anglican Church.
Behind a federation facade and set over four floors, the 15 suites include the Premier, which has a private dining room for eight people.
There's also a restaurant, garden terrace dining, bar and private function room.
Rooms cost from $480 a night.
Diane's stake in Hayman
FASHION designer Diane von Furstenberg, best known for her timeless wrap dress, has added her touch to Hayman Island with the opening of the DVF Penthouse.
Bleached oak floors feature von Furstenberg rugs and walls have artwork from the designer's private collection.
There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a wraparound balcony with views over Hayman beach and the Coral Sea.
The main bedroom has an American oak four-poster bed and space aplenty to hang a frock or two. It costs $5000 a night, including butler and meals.
Trunk recall of golden age
SHERATON ON THE PARK'S final flourish in its $40 million overhaul is the new Ambassador Suite.
The residence-style suite with kitchenette and king-size bed also has cabinetry inspired by Louis Vuitton steamer trunks from the golden age of travel.
Guests in the Ambassador Suite have access to the Sheraton Club, on the hotel's 21st floor, which includes personal check-in and check-out, exclusive concierge, breakfast and pre-dinner drinks. A butler is also available.
The suite costs from $5000 a night. See sheraton.com/sydney.
Serviced equals smiles
QUEST has joined the competition at Sydney Olympic Park with the opening of its $30 million apartments.
The new 4½-star property is the serviced apartments group's second-largest with 140 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. A studio apartment costs from $219 a night.