In 1938, Czech newlyweds Guillermo and Catalina Pollak arrived in Chile. The outstanding beauty of Pucón enchanted the couple. Starting small, they took over the management of the Playa Hotel, and then later gained concession of the ski lodge on the Villarrica Volcano. Unfortunately their efforts to establish themselves were impeded when the Playa Hotel burned down and the ski lodge was destroyed in the volcanic eruption of 1949. The property that was to become Antumalal had already been purchased. Locals placed little value on the arid and rocky land as it lacked the good vegetation needed for grazing sheep. The couple built a small café by the lake where Catalina and her mother Davita began making cakes and pastries using traditional Czech recipes. In honor of the extraordinary sunsets over the lake, the couple called the place Antumalal, meaning Corral of the Sun in the Mapuche language. Summer tourists travelled by boat to sample the delights of the café.
One day the President of Chile, Gabriel González Videla travelled over the water to visit the café. Don Guillermo, full of enthusiasm for his dream to build a hotel on the beautiful site, approached the president with a request for a loan to build a work of architecture that would make Chile proud. Videla was impressed, and helped Don Guillermo get his first loan. Thus the Hotel Antumalal was born.
The hotel you enjoy today is a testament to the perseverance of Guillermo, Catalina and Davita. As the years passed the Antumalal’s reputation grew and it has become one of the premier destination hotels in Chile. Many noteworthy guests such as Queen Elizabeth of England, Neil Armstrong, James Stewart, Barry Goldwater and Emma Thompson have stayed here. Today the family tradition continues, and the magic of the Antumalal, along with its reputation for personalized service, continues to delight travelers from around the world.