Vila Franca is a small, affordable guest house in downtown Santiago that exudes comfort and style. After greeting us, its friendly owners immediately made us feel at home in their cushy living room and relaxing courtyard. The rooms, uncluttered and spotless, had comfortable beds, fine linens, and nice furniture. They weren't big, but what they lacked in size, they made up for in design. Large, shuttered windows looking over a pleasant street made the experience complete.
The inn served a fabulous continental breakfast of fresh fruits, juice, cheese, tomatoes, ham, freshly baked muffins, and a variety of breads – including whole grain nut bread, which was a luxury. Food was served on small flat plates, each piece of cheese or fruit placed as if in a painting.
Vila Franca is located in the Providencia neighborhood – a safe, clean, upscale residential area not far from central Santiago. It is a few blocks from the Vila to the subway, so you can easily navigate your way around the city. Or, late at night you can take a taxi, which are plentiful and inexpensive.
There are more things to do in Santiago than I expected. I'd heard people say, “it's just a stopover point, don't bother…,” but I enjoyed the city. We walked all over the colorful streets of the city and up the hundreds of steps past beautiful fountains at Terraza Neptuno where there’s a panoramic view of the Andes beyond the city.