“Contra Viento y Marea” reads the title in a recent article featuring Océano Patagonia in Argentina’s national magazine focused on Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Revista PYMES. The article, featuring several SMEs in Patagonia tells the story of the challenge of bringing a business to life “Against all Odds” in the remote and challenging region of Patagonia. An excerpt of the article translated here:
Against all Odds
In Patagonia, not only do they face the risks of their own activities and the lack of financing, but also distance and small consumer markets. Even so, initiatives arise.
Marcello Battilana is a finance professional with 20 years experience who has cofounded hotel Océano Patagonia, located in Puerto Pirámides, Chubut, together with Canadian Sharilyn Amy. “In 2005 I bought a lot in front of the sea, the last available with this privileged location. Peninsula Valdés was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999 and we saw and unaddressed segment, that of the luxury guest that values the responsible use of natural resources,” he says. “From 2014, we started from nothing to plan an bio-climatically efficient development… we didn’t have bank financing, so we build Océano Patagonia completely with our own funds at a 30% greater costs than traditional construction for the investments we made to make the building environmentally responsible.”
These investments include a geothermic system… that provides hot water, in-floor heating, and ventilation. Also a system for grey water to reduce consumption by 50%. And the building uses LED lighting throughout to save energy. The furnitures has all been made with recycled wood and they chose local providers from the province, wherever possible. Now they foresee installing photovoltaic panels and back-up batteries to reduce even further the impact on the energy system.
These additional investments created a project different than other offers, so much so that last year Océano Patagonia gained second place in the national “Green Hotels” competition… and the provincial Ministry of Production distinguished the project as the most innovative in the category of Eco-Hotel, in addition to receiving Platinum as an eco-leader by TripAdvisor.
“We have guests from Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia. But 50% of our guests are from Argentina and Chile,” Battilana explains. “Five people work in the hotel, which offers suites with integrated kitchenettes that provide families or couples to eat enjoying the view of the ocean from their balcony.”