Bet you didn’t know that Chile, a country with more than 2,600 miles of incredibly diverse landscapes, is seeing a hotel boom in its capital in 2014. In recent years, Santiago has blossomed as a destination, establishing itself as one of South America’s top travel cities. Selected by the users of TripAdvisor as a Travelers’ Choice destination in November, Santiago is now sixth on the list of the top 25 travel spots in South America.
In addition to its museums, events, theaters, restaurants, bars and other entertainment and cultural opportunities, Santiago’s central location makes it a convenient gateway to further explore Chile. Due to its proximity to both mountains and the Pacific Ocean, it’s also possible to ski in the nearby Andes in the morning and hit the beach in the afternoon.
What’s not to love? So here are a few tips of key neighbors and hotels that will have you saying, “Mas!”
One neighborhood of Santiago that has particularly bloomed over the last five years is Barrio Lastarria. The area as a whole has led a renaissance for the capital and continues to develop into a melting pot of elite European styles mixed with chic bohemian influence. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs play host to global travelers while boutiques, bookshops and innovative art museums illustrate the district’s creative roots and intellect. A sought-after area for visitors, the artistic center has three new hotels on the horizon.
Centrally located in up-and-coming Lastarria, the 44-room Ismael 312 welcomed its first guests in September. Close to lively bars, cafés, museums, theaters, Santa Lucia Hill, the Parque Forestal, and Museum of Contemporary Art, the hotel brings a modern contrast to the Art Deco area with its geometric facade and its triangular balconies.
The Singular Santiago, opening April 2014, will be a 63-room state-of-the-art, “sophisticated urban retreat” which will blend new luxuries with charm of the building’s original European facade. The five-star hotel will feature a spa, a “high gastronomy” French-style restaurant, bar, rooftop outdoor pool and lounge and six meeting rooms outfitted with the latest audio-visual technology.
Opening spring 2014, the five-star Cumbres de Lastarria will be a “design hotel” featuring sophisticated, modern décor in its common spaces and 73 rooms. The new property will have a rooftop pool and restaurant, and a wine bar and lounge where cultural and artistic events will be held in line with the profile of the neighborhood.
Bellavista is another hip neighborhood beating with culture. The Greenwich Village-type area is home to theaters, avant-garde galleries and boutiques specializing in local arts, crafts and authentic Chilean jewelry. It boasts a park almost twice the size of Central Park, and La Chascona, the house of the famous poet Pablo Neruda. The bohemian ambiance and great nightlife fill its streets with people enjoying friends, live music and a mélange of restaurants, cafés and bars.
Though the Hotel Castillo Rojo just opened its doors in October 2013, the edifice has been in use for almost 100 years. One of the most iconic buildings in Santiago, the former private castle has undergone a complete restoration with 19 exquisitely designed guest rooms, a lounge and two restaurants. The elegant architecture of the abode has been kept intact, and some of the original details like fireplaces, moldings, and furniture have been restored to provide guests an atmosphere of classic, vintage and modern sophistication in one.
Nuevas Las Condes
Nuevas Las Condes is part of Santiago’s business district. Development here over the last few years has been strong, with the neighborhood becoming ultra-modern and very exclusive. Home to Chile’s economic elite, the area is also a commercial hub. Its two very large shopping malls, Parque Arauco and Alto Las Condes, have exclusive boutiques, expensive international stores, restaurants and movie theaters. Most of the area’s activity is situated along Apoquindo Avenue, which locals call “Sanhattan,” a portmanteau of Santiago and Manhattan.
Opening March 2014, Plaza El Bosque Nueva Las Condes Hotel will be located in the heart of the business and commercial neighborhood, just steps away from Manquehue subway station and the Parque Araucano, a well-known green spot in the district. A 30-minute drive to the airport, the 276-room hotel will feature a restaurant, heated pool, gym/spa, business center and 20 meeting rooms.