29 Dec 202202:24
SAN CARLOS DE BARILOCHE.- “We arrived in Bariloche and we got fully into the task of locating the hotel. We quickly toured the town that, in that sense, did not cause us any temptation. We then continued to Llao Llao, where Alejandro, like someone who discovers a diamond, did not hesitate for a single minute and ruling out any other location, advised a small plateau covered with burnt forest as the right place to build the hotel”. In his book
It was 1934 and Bustillo began his term as president of the Directorate of National Parks. After the creation of the Nahuel Huapi Park, he made it a priority to build a large hotel to attract visitors and consolidate the city’s tourist profile. He then summoned his brother, his architect, and Alberto del Solar Dorrego, an expert in golf. Puerto Pañuelo dominated the bay in front of the future hotel, to the west stood out Lake Moreno, the surrounding hills and, as a backdrop, the imposing mount Thundering, covered with glaciers. Once the perfect place was defined, construction began in mid-1935, which would employ some 200 workers and take two and a half years. Built almost entirely in wood and carved stone, the Llao hotel is It was inaugurated on January 9, 1938 and had a covered area of 16,000 m2: originally it had 169 rooms and 147 private bathrooms, a large double-height dining room with capacity for 400 diners, a presidential suite of 168 m2, children’s dining room, microcinema, dance hall, hairdresser’s, solarium, shopping arcade, bakery, soda factory, washing and ironing area, power plant, mechanical workshop, stables and a small printing press.
As rescued by the CONICET researcher Liliana Lolich in hotel Llao through time,
A before and after in hospitality With the Llao running successfully, the director of National Parks decided to give it the concession to the Plaza hotel in Buenos Aires. “Bustillo and his collaborators rightly intuited that the tourism development model they proposed for the region would only be feasible if the infrastructure and services required for such an ambitious project were adequately planned. And they were not wrong.
A before and after in hospitality
With the Llao running successfully, the director of National Parks decided to give it the concession to the Plaza hotel in Buenos Aires. “Bustillo and his collaborators rightly intuited that the tourism development model they proposed for the region would only be feasible if the infrastructure and services required for such an ambitious project were adequately planned. And they were not wrong.In a few years, it acquired international renown, becoming one of the most emblematic images of the region of the southern lakes,” says Eduardo Bessera, royal division chief in National Parks. And he concludes: “It is appropriate to say that there is a before and after in the Argentine hotel industry from the emergence of the hotel Llao Llao”.
In turn, together with the various infrastructure works that Bustillo dreamed of for Bariloche, the hotel was key to consolidating the new regional identity. In fact, in 1939 the arrival of tourists to the area was more than double that of the previous year. It attracted members of the regional and foreign aristocracy, at the same time that it functioned as a magnet for the world of diplomacy.
In full swing, on October 26, 1939, the great hotel would be
devoured by a fire. The fire made the structure almost completely disappear, while reduced the furniture -created by the French designer Jean Michel Frank- to ashes. However, the promoters of the project did not hesitate in planning its immediate reconstruction: in record time, the hotel reopened. It reopened on December 15, 1940. The new building retained the initial style, although it was made of masonry with a reinforced concrete structure and an external stone base. Wood was only used for interior and exterior cladding and roof structures. From the reopening, the image of the Llao did nothing but grow. Over the next decade, the Nahuel Huapi National Park would quadruple the number of visitors.
In 1955, the hotel would be remodeled to allow the operation of a gambling establishment. In the hands of successive dealers, in the middle of the following decade, the service began to decline. Among the factors that defined his years of decline were the adverse national situation and some bad political decisions. National Parks made several attempts to privatize the Llao Llao, but they did not materialize. In turn, other tourist priorities were tarnishing it.
It came to depend, in 1974, on the Ministry of Social Welfare . But the low investment and maintenance of various administrations condemned the hotel to its closure, in 1978 Looting and abandonment would mark the next 15 years.
In the mid-1980s , the National Parks Administration once again became freight of the hotel. After calling for international public bidding, it was awarded to the company Llao Holding SA, which quickly began the reconstruction and remodeling of the place.
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