Since I had arrived in Santiago on an early flight, I actually explored the terminal to get a SIM card for my mobile phone so that I can use data while in the country. It would also allow me to use Uber while in Santiago. Using Uber in Santiago is a pretty nice way to get around in the city though I would not say it is cheaper than their usual taxis. It does help that you do get some nice cars though.
For the first 3 nights in Santiago, I chose to stay in Bellas Artes neighbourhood, an area that is within walking distance to the various points of interest in the historical city centre. My hotel choice was a recently opened boutique hotel called Hotel Altiplanico. The company actually operates several top-rated properties around Chile and after seeing their photos in the website I was actually keen to stay in their hotels. During my stay in Chile, I would go on to stay at their sister property in Puerto Natales/Patagonia.
As they are not part of any hotel consortium, I booked my rooms through hotels.com, which will give me a free night after the completion of 10 nights. Their prices were similar to booking via the hotel’s website directly with a room rate of C$136 (~$110) per night inclusive of taxes. Read on to find out if it was exactly worth it.
Being a boutique hotel with only 24 rooms (6 of which are suites), it has a very discreet entrance and sometimes taxi drivers might not know where to drop guests off. In fact the hotel’s main entrance is a door facing the Parque Forestal and the river. It is also worth noting there are steps with no ramp going up the hotel with the door being accessible to registered guests with a keycard access. Otherwise the receptionist will have to open the door for guests checking in for the first time.
The hotel has a very inviting lobby styled like a residence. Right by the entrance to the door, there is a long reception desk with a plain white background. Guests are invited to be seated while the receptionist checked me in. While the lobby is small, it has a cozy feel to it and breakfast is actually served in the lobby as well. As I was early, the room apparently was not ready yet. Even though the hotel was not full, I was not assigned to another room, because of the limited number of rooms this hotel has. What I did was just to hang out at the hotel to use the hotel’s iMac and get a cup of cappuccino from the coffee machine while waiting.
Room No: 11 Category: Standard Double Room
Eventually I did get the keys to my room, which is conveniently situated on the same floor as the lobby. Room 11 was situated at the end of the walkway and it is a standard room facing the enclosed courtyard. On the entryway guests would see the bathroom sink with a translucent glass divider separating it from the bedroom.
The shower area and toilet are in their own compartment with another translucent glass door. While the bathroom has no locks, it provides decent privacy, though I would not recommend this room for families with small kids.
The shower area is actually pretty spacious considering how small the room is. There is also adequate space to place your clothes in the bathroom while changing.
Like some boutique hotels, the bath amenities are not in individual packed bottles. Though they seemed fine to me and because the whole area was kept clean, I had no qualms using them. At the very least, they did provide all the necessities like shampoo, conditioner, bath gel and body lotion. Cotton buds and shower caps were individually packed in a box by the sink.
Inside the room itself, there is a double/queen sized bed which is comfortable for a lone traveller like myself but it can be a squeeze for 2 huge sized adults. Across from the bed, there is a long desk and a wardrobe that also contains the in-room fridge and safety deposit box.
Under the flatscreen TV that was hung by the wall, there is a Nespresso machine, though guests would be charged $2 or CLP1,200 for each of the capsules. While it is not expensive, guests could easily just head to the lobby for complimentary cappuccino, espresso and other coffee beverages which is available all day long. So I did not actually use the machine at all in the room. Furthermore, I was not used that there was no complimentary bottled water provided for guests in the room.
Breakfast was included in the room rate and there was no choice since it is a continental breakfast setup in the small dining room set beside the lobby. When the weather is good, guests could also have breakfast in the patio accessible by the door.
As I mentioned, breakfast was continental style meaning there was various cold cuts of meat, a bit of cheese, some pastries and cereal in jars. But that was about it.
On a small circular table, there was assorted juices and milk. Guests could also prepare their own toast if they wish.
On one of the days, I had the half boiled eggs and it was cooked perfectly but the next day, the egg was over-cooked and it was not as tasty. While the breakfast was not a huge selection, the fact that the hotel provided it within a comfortable setting made for a great start everyday. I was also able to grab a quick breakfast for one of the early mornings before I head out for snowboarding.
Since I visited the hotel in the winter season, the staff would turn on the fireplace when it gets cold at night in the lobby. Guests could then relax by the sofa and read some books. There are also some books and magazines about Chile in the living room table. Though most of them are in Spanish.
Another favourite feature I discovered in the hotel is actually the enclosed patio in beside the dining room. It is a neat space for guests to get some fresh air without leaving the hotel or maybe go for a smoke. Other than that, there are really no other facilities to speak about. The perks of staying in this hotel is really about enjoying the well designed space and appreciating the location in an upscale Santiago neighbourhood. The hotel’s convenient location just right opposite Parque Forestal and the Museo de Bellas Artes makes it prime spot for guests to exercise in the park too!
On the day of the check-out, I was able to do a slightly later check-out while I had lunch first. As I fumbled with the large amount of luggage I have, the receptionist was nice enough to help me bring them down to the Uber taxi waiting for me. During my stay, the service was very good and it can feel very personal due to the small size of the hotel. It seems like you become acquaintances with the hotel staff here, and does make you feel somewhat on a melancholic mood when it is time to leave.
There were things I miss having staying in this hotel, such as complimentary bottled water, a well informed concierge of larger hotels, fancy hotel amenities and spa/hot tub facilities but the location was perfect for me to explore Santiago since I could walk to Plaza de Armas and have lunch at Mercado Central before walking to Cerro Santa Lucia to view the sunset and ending the day by strolling around the Bellavista neighbourhood. Location wise, few hotels can beat this one at such a good value and if I must say so, I am a sucker for well designed hotels like these too!