Loki Hacienda: the concept (Coming Early 2012)
A beautiful location: Tobacco farms all around, the stunning mountains of Salta in the near distance. This is where the gauchos roam. The sun hangs high in the sky and would bake the earth if it wasn't for the regular and widespread irrigation streams that flow from field to field. The brown earthy shades contrast with the greener tones of the tall trees. In the middle of this serene beauty is the Loki Hacienda.
A Unique hostel: The entrance way is a tall typical wooden arch with a Loki Hacienda sign hanging down below a sun-bleached cow skull. As you walk in the main entrance, you are brought through a grove with some hammocks on the left hand side with shade provide by incongruous palm trees as well as slightly more native looking spruce trees. An alabaster-white building, that has illusions of being a Mexican chapel, houses reception.
You check in with the friendly local and international reception staff, who show you to the main Hostel area behind the reception. A tree line obscures your view as you approach a bridge. As you cross the bridge you see that the tree line is hiding not only a small river but also a widening of the view to a larger horizon, mountains the background and a large one story common area in the foreground which overlooks a sizable aqua-marine blue pool. The pool's incumbents are enjoying playing a game of pool volleyball while others bask around the pool in the glorious sun.
The overlooking bar has a traditional feel and would remind you of a viking feasting hall. As you pass you can hear some inebriated laughter and you can smell the deliciously meaty aroma of beef being barbecued, Argentine style. The receptionist reminds you that steak is available every day but that tonight, being Friday night , that there is a huge communal "Parilla" arranged for the bar: Kilos of meat, cooked to perfection by local parilla masters and gallons of wine. You are also shown the restaurant which is separate from the bar, has more than just bar food and is where you can enjoy local and international fare.
In the bar itself you can see a large stage, that hosts some of the local live rock and cover bands that Salta is famous for. The receptionist explains that the local lads and lasses regularly come to the hostel at night to enjoy the legendary Loki Parties with the international guests before heading out into Salta to enjoy the nightlife on the infamous Calle Balcarce. The hostel provides transport to and from the bar district of Salta. The only smoke you will smell in the bar is of charred beef, as it has been designated a no-smoking area. A comfortable smoking area outside is heated if needed at night.
As you pass these common areas on your way to your room, another aroma strikes you, the aroma of fruit. Through the fruit trees you can see 2 rows of cabin structures. These are the dorms, designed specifically to cater for tired, stuffed and happy backpackers. Each Dorm has ample space in terms of sleeping and storage. From the windows you can see both the surrounding mountains and also the pool, bar and activities area. You leave your bag securely in the room and the receptionist shows you the last, and possibly most exciting part of the hostel. Behind the cabins is a wide space with a five a side football pitch, horse stables , some vegetable and herb gardens and plenty of space for extra activities . The receptionists explains that you can arrange a horse riding trip through some of the most typically stunning Argentine countryside, either leisurely trotting through babbling brooks or at full pace gallop through tobacco fields.
There are opportunities to stay on longer in Loki Hacienda to help us look after the horses, tend to the vegetables and herbs as well as work behind the bar.
Take a deep breath, let the aromas of steak, fruit, wine and fresh air enter your chest and exhale slowly.
I think you've made the right choice.