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Thursday, 31 August 2006

Vila Franca, Santiago, Chile

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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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.


Vila Franca Courtyard



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.






We visited the gorgeous cathedral. We took the funicular up to the park where a large statue of the Virgin Mary towers over the city, and we watched the sunset. At dusk, we scrambled down the winding path that descends the mountain, along with a large group of others who also missed the last funicular down.


There is a popular street of upscale restaurants a few blocks from the inn called Orrego Luco.  Unfortunately, we didn't try any of them as we were across the city at dinnertime.  You can get almost any kind of food in Santiago, restaurants have diverse menus, and al fresco dining is common.


Vila Franca also has a computer with high speed internet that you can use for free and security boxes in each room.  It only has 4 rooms, though, so book early to avoid disappointment.  I wanted to extend my stay in Santiago partly just to be there longer.



Vila Franca

Perez Valenzuela 1650,,Providencia, Santiago, Chile, Tel:  (56 2) 235 1413

Doubles cl 30.000 (about $62 US, depending on the exchange rate).

If you're coming from the airport Rita can arrange transfers for you (about $22 US).

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©Christina Kay Bolton


Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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