Destination overview: Santiago, Chile
Is Santiago, Chile a destination you don’t really know much about? (Well other than it has to be filled with Chilean wine that you’d want to drink…that doesn’t count!) Then you’re not alone! A capital city since colonial times, this stunning city is positioned right next to the beautiful Andes mountain range. As you fly in you’ll have your breath taken away by the picturesque snow capped mountains (yep, snowy most all of the year). Founded in 1541 by Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, the cities location is said to have been selected by Valdivia for the lush vegetation, climate and ability to be defended. Turn the clock forward and as a rapidly growing city, Santiago is quickly becoming a major metropolitan city (and even houses the tallest building in Latin America, the Gran Torre Santiago). The city is a great example of how colonial history intersects modern design. As architect Sebastián Irarrázaval shared with Dwell Magazine, “Chileans associate modernism with prestige, with being forward-looking. It shows the world that Chile is part of a global trend. It’s a way of saying we are not isolated, because Chile had been isolated for so long. Modernism gives freedom to architects.”
Plan on going a little hungry before you make it to Chile, because you’ll want to save room for the amazing food, and of course wine! To see a good overview of the city consider booking a tour with La Bicicleta Verde, a bike tour company. I love that they offer both day and evening tours, but best of all, a Bike & Wine tour. (To boot, through the actual vineyards, what a fun memory!) La Bicicleta Verde will pick you up at your hotel and be in charge of your tour experience for the day (which can be refreshing if you’ve been traveling for a while to let someone else take the lead). So you really only need to decide where to stay, right? I’ve gotcha covered, The Aubrey– search no more! Originally built in 1927 as a private estate for politician Domingo Durán Morales, his wife, and three children, the home was purchased by it’s current owners in 2006. After extensive restoration the property now offers 15, beautifully appointed, unique rooms. It is like staying at your hip, rich aunt’s home (who let you drink wine on the roof as a teenager) while she’s away in Europe. I love the mixture of very traditional “bones” of the house, with eclectic, modern décor. The breakfast area photo’d is a great example with luxuriously upholstered koi fish fabric walls, elaborately framed period portraits juxtaposed with modern pendant lights topping Scandinavian designed chairs. The restaurant and bar staff are amazingly helpful, suggestions from them and the desk staff are spot on. I came prepared with a list of “must eats” from my research but they were each closed on Sundays. Their selection of the restaurant Cuerovaca was a stunner, as a matter of fact Cuerovaca had the best beef I ate the entire trip of the southern portion of South! If a bar can be sultry, then theirs scores a 10 out of 10. Dim lights, extensive craft cocktails, OK and sexy male Chilean waiters, I diverge- just eat there, enough said. After an amazing nights rest listening to the birds outside your hotel room at the adjacent park, wake up, have your amazing coffee and make sure to stroll to through the bohemian barrio outside the private gates of the Aubrey in route to the amazing markets.