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TRAVEL - INTERVIEW

Interview with Marcos Fortunato, Owner of LUMA Casa de Montaña from Villa La Angostura, Argentina

Marcos and his family have decided to establish their own boutique hotel in Villa La Angostura, where they had spent their vacations for nearly 20 years. Since 2009, they have been welcoming their guests from all over the world. I talked with Marcos Fortunato about the LUMA Casa de Montaña and Villa la Angostura.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Marcos Fortunato

Marcos Fortunato

TRAVEL - INTERVIEW

by Melisa Kaya

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Going on vacation means getting away from home. LUMA Casa de Montaña is a hotel designed for guests who want to experience the natural beauty of the location as well as relaxing in a quiet boutique hotel. The LUMA Casa de Montaña offers a unique experience with its unique Nahuel Huapi Lake view suites, pool, spa center and terrace. In order to learn more about LUMA Casa de Montaña and Villa La Angostura, I talked with Marcos Fortunato, Owner of LUMA Casa de Montaña.

Marcos, before talking about Luma Casa de Montana and Villa La Angostura, could you tell us about yourself?

My name is Marcos Fortunato. I was born in Buenos Aires in 1989. I lived there until my 20s where I prepared myself on Public relations and Gastronomy. I studied English almost since I was born, and learned Portuguese in my career. We took the decision 14 years ago of building LUMA, time went by and today we can say that it was the perfect decision.

LUMA Casa de Montaña

LUMA Casa de Montaña

Please tell us about the story of a family-owned hotel Luma Casa de Montana.

The story starts when we started visiting Villa La Angostura, around 20 years ago. We first started coming in winter for the ski season, then we added easter week, then we added summer and we finally ended up buying a lot on the shore of the Nahuel Huapi lake to build a house for ourselves. After a year of decisions, we arrived to a conclusion that building a Tuscany Villa as a boutique hotel was what we were looking for. After 9 years of living here and running our family business, I can tell that we made the right choice.

LUMA Casa de Montaña

LUMA Casa de Montaña

Luma Casa de Montana is located in Villa La Angostura on the shore of the Nahuel Huapi Lake. What can you tell us about Villa La Angostura? What are the advantages of being there?

Villa La Angostura is a natural paradise. Surrounded by ancient trees, fantastic lakes and rivers, mountain views, this village offers everything that an adventurous or a relaxation trip needs. The main advantages of Villa La Angostura are their views and its location. From Villa La Angostura you are only half an hour drive from the Seven lakes road that joins Villa La Angostura with San Martin de Los Andes, 45 minutes away from the border with Chile and only 80km away from Bariloche and its airport. Another advantage of Villa La Angostura is the quietness that breathes. Local people goes slow and with no stress, and most of the guests feel this when they visit us.

What can you tell us about the hospitality culture in Argentina? What does guest mean to you? Do you have any traditions that surprise guests?

From my personal experience and for the comparisons made by traveling, I believe that Argentina has a top hospitality service. Argentinians tend to be relaxed and really do have a passion for hosting and relating with guests. Going to the north in Jujuy, to Buenos Aires in Recoleta, to Iguazu and Patagonia itself, I am positive that the service found will be top notch.

The guests and their experience means the world to us. We chose this business as a way of living life. Relating and connecting with people by offering unforgettable experiences. And the nicest topic that hospitality gives to us, the future connections. Some good friends of mine, used to be guests at LUMA first, and that says it all.

LUMA Casa de Montaña

LUMA Casa de Montaña

Could you tell us about Luma Casa de Montana and overall concept?

LUMA was conceived as a Tuscany Villa. The hotel only takes guests from over 16 years old. This way we can guarantee a good rest and quietness at the hotel. We offer a relaxed experience, trying to break the distance between service and guests. We definitely try to connect with our guests at another level. Hearing their stories, sharing ours, and being there for them at any time. Most guests have my phone number to reach me and they can do so at any time of the day. We believe that despite having a great view, a beautiful decoration and spacious rooms, the experience won't be unforgettable if we don't put the best of ourselves on connecting with our guests.

LUMA Casa de Montaña

LUMA Casa de Montaña

Please tell us about the building that you are located in and its design details.

LUMA resembles a Tuscany Villa, mainly built with cement and stones. We tried to break away from the Patagonian concept of wood and glass, and tried something different with a unique personality and with European style, specifically the Tuscany area in Italy.

An artist called Gonzalo Fontan, was in charge of helping us with the decoration and the interior design of the hotel. The range of earth colours, the paintings on the ceiling of the rooms and on its walls, the decorative touches on each common space were all handmade by him with dedication and passion.

How many different types of rooms do you offer to your guests? What are their distinctive features?

At LUMA we offer three different categories. All of them beautiful and spacious Suites with lake view.

LUMA Casa de Montaña

LUMA Casa de Montaña - Suite Junior Ocre

The Junior Suites are our standard Suites of 45 sq metres. They have an open view of the lake and are our smaller Suites. Nonetheless, they still carry the elegance and details of the other categories. Ocre and Galletita are the names of our Junior Suites.

LUMA Casa de Montaña

LUMA Casa de Montaña - Suite Premium Violeta

The Suites Premium, our middle category, mainly differentiate from the Junior Suites in their space. They reach almost 60 sq metres and have a living room separated from the bed area. These Suites are the only ones designed for 3 adults. Violeta, Verde, and Naranja are the names of this beautiful Suites.

LUMA Casa de Montaña

LUMA Casa de Montaña - Suite Premium Terraza Celeste

Our top category is the Premium Terrace Suites. They reach about the 55sq metres and their main highlight is the private terrace outside the Suite. Having a private deck to contemplate the Andes Mountain and Nahuel Huapi lake is priceless.

What are the gastronomic features of Luma Casa de Montana?

We offer a continental breakfast, with homemade pastry and local ingredients. My wife has a bakery shop as well, so all of our breads, cakes, muffins are freshly made and served.

A snack bar with homemade meals, as well using local ingredients, is available almost all day long. Mushrooms quiches, trout empanadas, and homemade hamburgers are the main choices. A wine cellar with boutique brands chose by my sister who is a Somelliere complements our meals.

LUMA Casa de Montaña

LUMA Casa de Montaña - Suite Premium Terraza Lacre

Please tell us about your services and amenities that make your guests stay unforgettable. How could your guests spend time at Luma Casa de Montana?

As described before, we believe that an unforgettable stay goes beyond a nice view and a fine room. How we relate to our guests, will, in the end, confirm an unforgettable experience. The stay won't be the same if the treatment wasn't as good as the views or as the decoration of the room itself. The top choices at LUMA are, taking tea or coffee shared with homemade pastries at our main terrace which has a fantastic view to the lake or relaxing at the heated swimming pool while looking at the Andes Mountains and the Nahuel Huapi lake. Due to the coziness of our Suites, a lot of guests just decide to stay in their Suites facing the lake and resting. LUMA is a place to rest and renew energies, this is why we don't accept guests below 16 years old.

LUMA Casa de Montaña

LUMA Casa de Montaña

What kind of different experiences does Villa La Angostura offer to your guests?

Villa La Angostura offers a wide range of activities depending at the time of the season. At winter the main attraction is definetly the Cerro Bayo Ski Resort. A boutique ski center surrounded by mountains and forest is a perfect retreat for begginers or intermediate levels. The views from Cerro Bayo of the Village and the nearby lakes are the best ones you can have from a ski resort.

On summer, the options raised. Hiking, boating, kayaking, horse-riding or just chilling out on the fantastic beaches of the Seven lakes road are the main options. Most of our guests just choose to relax on our several common terraces, at the swimming pool or on their suites, but the amount of options gives the opportunity to discover Villa La Angostura and their surroundings from other angles.

LUMA Casa de Montaña

LUMA Casa de Montaña

There is an SPA that has an extraordinary Nahuel Huapi Lake view. Please tell us about the therapies and treatment that your guest can experience.

Our Spa calls attention due to the decoration inside and because of the view it has. The decoration reminds of those ancient Roman pools with high ceilings and stones. The entrance to the spa with 2 curtains of almost 10 meters long gives already a feeling of Roman spa. The spa has a heated swimming pool, sauna, multijet shower, and a massage room.

At the massage room, the best seller massage is definitely the relaxing and relieving one. We offer as well massage with full body hydration, chocolate mask and body, Tibetan massage (made by an original masseuse from Tibet) and many others.

How can travelers make their individual or business/group reservations? Do you have any advantage packs that you offer to your regular and long-term guests?

Our guests can book the hotel directly in order to get better rates and Suite options. But if they prefer the simplicity of a web engine, we are on the most important sites such as Booking.com and Expedia.

You only have to come once to LUMA, in order to get a benefit on your second stay. A discount on the rate or an upgrade of Suite are usually our gifts to guests that choose to come back to the hotel.

LUMA Casa de Montaña

LUMA Casa de Montaña

There is a tax advantage for foreign tourist, could you briefly tell us about this advantage?

This was one of the best decisions our government made. The hospitality service and the guests of abroad get a big advantage with this decision. Local hotels raised their foreign guests, and foreign tourist spends 21% less money from each night they stay, in comparison to previous years. As well the devaluation in Argentina helped us on bringing our rates down and making them more attractive to the international market.

Which is the top season for travelers who want to visit Neuquén? What is the reason?

The top season is hands down summer (From December until March inclusive). You have almost 4 months of great weather, lots of sun and a completely tolerable heat. You always have a cold breeze despite the high temperatures, that helps on having a more enjoyable summer. Beaches are clean and with fantastic emerald colours on the lake. A lot of guests choose to come at this time of the year because of the weather and for the big range of activities that can be held during summer.

LUMA Casa de Montaña

LUMA Casa de Montaña

What are the most famous attractions near you?

The best attraction near us could be the Belvedere and Inacayal mountain, only 1 mile away from the hotel. It is a hike of around 5 hours to get to the Cajon Negro, which is the highest point of the mountain and is where the two mountains converge. An amazing landscape with a marvelous range of colours that makes the 5 hours walk definitely worth it. A waterfall called Inacayal waterfall is right next to the path and gives more natural impact to the walk.

If you have only one weekend in Neuquén as a first-time visitor, in this limited time, what are the best things to do?

The best thing to do if you are visiting this area for the first time is with no doubt the Seven lakes road. A fantastic and newly renovated road, surrounded by 7 lakes on both sides and with a vast landscape of mountains and forest. This is a must to anyone that is coming for the first, second or third time to this area. We have lived here for 10 years and we never get tired of driving through this road.

How do you describe Villa La Angostura in one sentence?

Nature and relaxation, fantastic hospitality and food, a great place to renew energies and forget during the stay of the stress and e-life complications.

Thank you Marcos for this enjoyable interview.

For more information, please click here and visit the website of LUMA Casa de Montaña





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