As I was arriving late from Concepción and due to depart again for Punta Arenas on an early morning flight, I decided to stay at the Holiday Inn Santiago Airport, which is the only hotel located across from the airport terminal. This meant I could get to the hotel from the airport in no time and wake up later for the next morning to check-in for my flight.
The problem though was that the rates was somewhat expensive for a Holiday Inn with rates as high as $180 for a night stay and it is not a rate I would pay for a Holiday Inn no matter how good it was. In the end I used a points and cash redemption, using 10,000 IHG points with $70 for a night at the hotel. This rate would not include breakfast but it did not matter since I would be leaving before the breakfast starts the next morning anyway.
After walking across the airport terminal out in the open, I entered the warm reception area for hotel guests. The hotel is unique in that there is a foyer like lobby where guests are checked in before they can use the room key to access the main lobby proper with a sort of door separating the 2 areas. There was a group of guests checking in before I was attended but with less than 10 people, it looked already full so I cannot imagine what it would feel like if there was a lot of guests of checking in at once (like a tour group or due to a bad delay in a flight)
Anyway the check-in process was pretty quick and I was pleased to be informed that a drink coupon was included. The check-in experience in this hotel was standard but the special layout meant there was not any staff on hand to help with luggage since all the staff members are in the restricted area that requires a room key card to access.
Room No: 275 Category: King Non-smoking Room
Unfortunately I had forgotten to request for a room closer to the elevators so my room was situated close to the end of the corridor and it meant a bit of a walk with my snowboard bag and those thick carpets does not make it easier either.
Once inside the room, I was quite pleased with my choice. Like all standard guest room, there is a bathroom on the right. What was nice was the brightly lit bathroom that is compartmentalized with enclosed doors for the showers and the toilet. I had some difficulty getting the hot water to work since the knobs was not that clearly labelled and had to call up the engineering manager to come to the room to help me with it. The staff member was really gracious enough in helping me settle the problem even though it was quite late around 10:30pm.
Inside the bathroom, the amenities were standard to the Holiday Inn brand and unfortunately no shower gel was included, as all they have was bar soap. That is one of my issue with Holiday Inn as a hotel chain as I find they are ‘cheaper’ in their amenities but tries to charge the rates of Sheraton and Westin in certain locations. I always see them as a slightly inferior brand and expect a lower price from them.
Inside the guest room, the rest of the furnishings cannot really be faulted since they looked new and modern. The king bed itself was also comfortable and there was plenty of easily accessible power outlets to charge my devices for the night.
On top of that, there is the usual complimentary coffee making set in the shelf beside the wardrobe. At the other end of the room, there is an armchair by the window and a somewhat awkward positioning of the standing lamp since it obstructs the window view. Well it turns out the lamp was there to prevent guests from looking out since it was a view of the car park.
With just an overnight layover, I basically just need the room for a night’s of rest that is much needed after snowboarding for the day and all the flying. Since I had a drinks voucher, I dropped by the lobby bar which is a very nice facility that had large flatscreen TVs showing music videos, news and of course sports programs.
I got myself a bottle of beer and bottled water and returned to my room since there was not that much of a crowd in the bar either. Though if I had a bunch of friends I was staying at the hotel with, the bar is probably a nice place to hang out together in.
Aside from the bar, the lobby also houses a large guest lounge and library which I like to call their quiet corner for reading and relaxing. It is also sufficiently sheltered from the bar to make it a more quiet space. There is also a small business centre with printers and workstations for those working on the road.
As a hotel, there is also a restuarant on-site where breakfast is served. However my late arrival and early departure means I would not be dining there.
For the short stay in the hotel, the clean and well furnished rooms was great. Though when I consider the real rates in booking this hotel, I am not exactly sure I would pay that much to stay for a Holiday Inn. In this case, my points balance in IHG Rewards actually made it a good deal to stay here rather than head into the city for the night. As an airport hotel, the Holiday Inn Santiago is probably one of the nicest airport hotels I have been to but it still is not really the best place to stay unless you are just transiting since the city is not that far from the airport at all and much better rates can be had for lodging inside the city proper.