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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Hotel Del Patio, Santiago, Chile - Page 2

Written by Eric Rosen
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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.

The hotel could use a few more modern conveniences like air conditioning, but the rooms are equipped with powerful fans that stave off the midday heat. Because it is in such a vibrant neighborhood, this means that the Hotel can seem a little noisy at times. But by dinnertime, Bellavista’s frenzied activity has calmed down, and there is nothing to stop you from getting a good night’s sleep.

The Bellavista neighborhood is a lively, accessible place to call your home base, and feels like the social center of the city. Its narrow streets are filled with bars and cafes that are packed late into the night. Bellavista is also home to some of the most innovative and delicious restaurants that Santiago has to offer, including the slick new Amorio on Constitucion, with a wide array of Chilean seafood specialties spiced up with a nouvelle twist accompanied by an extensive wine list. Right across the street is Etniko, always filled with a well-heeled crowd enjoying the Chilean-skewed sushi menu to the beat of great house music. On Calle Bombonero Nunez, located on the other side of Pio Nono, you can find some of the best bars to while away the evening with new Chilean acquaintances, as well as the mainstays of Santiago’s gay bar scene, like Bunker and G Bar. Though some of the streets are not recommended for nighttime walking, most are quite safe, and there are always people around so security should not be an issue.

For daytime activities, the Hotel Del Patio is just a short walk to the sprawling Parque Metropolitano and the Cerro San Cristobal Funicular. For less than $2, you can make the steep climb up to the city’s highest point, where you will find a huge statue of Jesus reminiscent of Rio’s Sugarloaf Mountain. Don’t forget to stop by the little Jardin Zoologico on the way up, though.

Hotel Del Patio, Calle Bombonero Nunez, Pio Nono, 61 Pio Nono, Mercado Central, Plaza de Armas, Barrio Bellavista, Providencia, Santiago, Chile, La Chascona, Eric RosenJust around the corner from the park entrance, you will find La Chascona, the house that Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda built for his third and final wife, Matilda Urratia. Their courtship is chronicled in the 1995 Italian film, “Il Postino.” Meaning “curly-haired woman,” La Chascona derives its name from Neruda’s nickname for Matilda. Once you see the portrait of her painted by Diego Rivera that hangs amidst the house’s impressive collection of bric-a-brac, you will understand its provenance.

Bellavista is also quite close to Santiago’s main attractions, like the Mercado Central and the Plaza de Armas. If you just can’t stay away from the more mundane areas of Providencia and Las Condes, you can take a leisurely stroll along the Mapocho River westwards, or just hop on the Metro at the Baquedano stop, conveniently located three blocks away from the Hotel Del Patio. With mass transit this close and cheap, you won’t even have to take taxis if you choose not to.

With its bright rooms, friendly staff and modern amenities, the Hotel Del Patio offers a welcoming oasis to cool your heels in smoggy, hectic Santiago. This cross between a boutique hotel and a B&B is a great option for backpackers and sophisticates alike, and makes the prospect of a stay in Chile that much more hospitable.

Details: Hotel Del Patio, 61 Pio Nono, Barrio Bellavista, Providencia, Santiago

Phone: +56(2) 732 7571 Web: http://www.hoteldelpatio.cl

© Eric Rosen

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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