Located in the heart of the bohemian paradise of Bellavista, Hotel Del Patio is a hip, ten-room boutique alternative to Santiago’s larger hotel chains.
Though surrounded by the breathtaking Andes with their vertiginous snowy peaks and ambling along the trickle of water known as the Mapocho River, Santiago does not have the charms or character of other South American cities. It is not as messy or chaotic or friendly as Buenos Aires or Cusco. At times, it even feels just like being in Denver. Most people simply use it as a quick jumping off point to Chile’s other points of interest. But Santiago has a lot to offer the patient traveler, and now there is a wonderful new hotel to stay in while exploring this most underrated of South American metropolises.
Hotel options in Santiago can seem dry and charmless, until one comes across the delightful Hotel Del Patio in the bustling, sociable Barrio Bellavista—onetime home to Pablo Neruda and much of Santiago’s artistic community. Think of it as the Montmartre of Santiago—nestled into the wooded slopes of Cerro San Cristobal, its quaint streets lined with vendors and cafes where the young people of the city gather in the evenings to share drinks, cigarettes, and friendly discussion.
The Hotel Del Patio is located right on the main thoroughfare of Bellavista, Calle Pio Nono, and is part of a new urban development called the Patio de Bellavista (hence the hotel’s name). Located on the second floor of a former mansion, the hotel’s dark-stained wooden floors and huge windows that overlook the Patio tell the story of the building’s past. But the décor is all about the present, with sleek lines, modernist fixtures and brightly decorated rooms. In addition, each of the ten guest rooms come with a flat-screen television and satellite channels, so you can catch up on your BBC and CNN International.
Like the hotel itself, the guest rooms are cozy, though judicious furniture arrangements and high ceilings keep them from feeling cramped. The bathrooms, though also small, are fitted with big showers, new toilets, and beautiful designer sinks. The rates run from $90-$150 a night depending on whether you opt for a snug single or a spacious triple, but since foreigners are not subject to the 19% Value Added Tax (IVA), you can try to negotiate your rate (within reason) when you contact the hotel. An impressive, detailed new web site also makes it very easy not only to take a peek at the hotel’s facilities, but also to make a secure reservation online.
One of the best amenities of the Hotel Del Patio is its generous breakfast spread—included in your nightly rate and available from 8-10am daily. Not only is there coffee, juice, cereal, yogurt and fruit, but you can also pile up on cold cuts, and the friendly staff will make you eggs to order. This hearty breakfast is just the right start for a busy day in Santiago, where lunch can come as late as 4pm. You can even take your food outside to the terrace that has a view all the way to the Andes. This also makes a great spot for a drink in the evening before heading out to dinner. Other perks of staying at the Hotel Del Patio include free wi-fi internet access throughout the hotel, laundry service, and arrangements for winery tours and outdoor activities.