Michael Paravicini, founder of Vira Vira, is a study in paradoxes. Visionary yet obsessive about details. Gracious while perseverant. Welcoming but vigilant.
In the same way, Hotel Vira Vira is a singular place, a resort infused with elegance and underpinned by operational discipline. To the guest, the orchestrated experience carries none of the gritty determination of the founder.
Instead, the hacienda-inspired property embraces a flowing, enveloping sense of wellbeing. Even if guests arrive distracted by their journey or life at home, Vira Vira’s dream eclipses them.
If our recent visit was any indication, Paravicini’s intentionality envelops the guest within minutes. As their luggage is conveyed to each room, the lobby bar equips newcomers with a taste of what’s ahead.
With each sip and glance, sensory rewards for the gathering. At every turn, possibility. The Active Junky team felt so relaxed and inspired, the hacienda’s warm embrace threatened to unseat plans to push beyond the lodge with pack, pole and camera in hand.
While the lounge’s ceiling-high shelves of classic books beckoned, the Lake District’s allures proved all-powerful. The spring-fed Liucura River pulsed less than 100 yards away. Lengthening shadows of nearby volcanoes called for examination.
Over three decades of strategic planning and sourcing ideas around the world constructed this dream, one that’s alive and thriving by any measure. Objectivity became the struggle, as did telling the compelling story behind the project.
Despite everyone’s best efforts, striking photos and videos captured along the way proved to be pale representations of walking, pedaling or paddling the region; sipping a sublime Pisco Sour in the volcanic glow of Villarrica is impossible to recreate.
After a short week at Vira Vira, five observations remained after comparison with fellow travellers. Days of considered reflection affirm them.
One. This is a destination worthy of the investment in time and money. Close only to Pucon, Chile, Vira Vira’s remoteness is foundational to the dream. Fueled by the founder’s passion and accountable to his high standards, there is no room to disappoint guests who’ve traveled this far.
Two. Guests are rewarded for suspending their own realities and embracing that of Michael and his wife Claudia. The hosts take responsibility for every element even as visitors remain free to sculpt their daily plans. Vira Vira is about adopting fresh, elevated standards in adventure travel.
Three. More energy comes from fewer worries. Our Content Team felt unleashed to do, go and feel without the burden of dietary concerns, room security or logistics support. Excursions were lead by buoyant guides, locals with a commitment to sustainable tourism.
Four. Comparison to other destination resorts is a distraction, as the property calls for embracing the moment. Our biggest problem? Moving past continual wonderment of the surroundings and elation simply at being here.
Five. Michael and his growing team treat others with respect and patience. Far from being a rigid expression of one person’s life path, there’s room for all in appreciating nature’s wonders and human ingenuity. Cheese maker to fishing guide, the Vira Vira vision includes everyone.
While the intent in visiting wasn’t to study Paravicini’s business practices, I found myself taking notes beyond those of a travel writer. Why? Rare is the individual who overcomes the burden of a powerful dream to make it so. Rarer still is the chance to live, albeit briefly, inside a world so thoughtfully built and sustained.