Photographer Jonathan de Villiers Ventures to Chile’s Modernist Rainforest Retreat
Juxtaposing the clean 1940s modernist architecture of the exclusive Hotel Antumalal with its lush, vibrant surroundings, photographer Jonathan de Villiers captures the enduring appeal of the tranquil South American haven and its local hot springs. “It's this backwoods Chilean take on Modernism,” says de Villiers of the hotel’s unique atmosphere. Built 61 years ago, with private gardens overlooking Lake Villarrica, the Antumalal is set just over a mile outside the city of Pucón and has hosted the upper echelons of European aristocracy throughout its lifetime, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Surrounded by the contrasting temperate rainforest and snow-capped Andes mountains, the hotel offers outdoor activities such as rafting, kayaking and skiing, as well as visits to the active Villarrica volcano nearby. Designed by Chilean architect Jorge Elton, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, the building and its interior décor has been lovingly overseen by the daughter of its original owners—any tired or worn out furniture or fittings are replaced with locally produced pieces exactly matching the originals to maintain the hotel's perfect 1940s homeliness.