Vilafranca Petit Hotel

Providencia, Santiago, Santiago & Central Valley, Chile Book from US$93

Intimate, warmly welcoming B&B-style hotel on a quiet residential street, in Santiago’s fashionable Providencia district
Most visitors roll into Santiago - the jumping-off point for destinations throughout Chile - early in the morning, bleary and slightly disoriented from an all-night flight. Gloria Figueroa has been there. So it’s her cherished mission to make sure every guest at this lovely 1940s hotel feels not only comfortable, but enfolded in the embrace of a genuinely caring friend. She’s ready with recommendations, tea and aspirin, a hug - she’ll even walk you to nearest metro station if she’s going that way.

The living room buzzes with the conversations of fellow travellers. The walled garden patio is a shady pocket of peace. Check your e-mail before a short stroll takes you to shopping, parks and dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants. Eight cosy rooms pamper you with charming detail (Spanish tiles) and modern amenities (cable TV). A genuine welcome can put a glow on your whole trip, making this a great first - and last - stop in Chile.

Highs

  • Many hotels pay lip-service to their home-from-home hospitality; this is the genuine article
  • Gloria’s sincere generosity and personal attention makes every stay memorable, whether you're honeymooning, jetlagged, first-timers or old hands
  • The spacious stone patio, planted with calla lilies, ferns and climbing ivy, is a real urban retreat, perfect for napping in shaded sling-back chairs
  • Well situated for dining, shopping, amenities, public transport and the National Tourist Service offices
  • Exceptional value in one of Santiago’s most exclusive neighbourhoods

Lows

  • Some rooms are small; most double beds are snug
  • The hotel has an unpretentious, homespun charm - not for those seeking high style
  • Nor for those seeking total privacy; Gloria thrives on guest interaction, and is great at making connections between guests
  • Rooms aren't air-conditioned; most times the small bedside fan provides a suitable breeze

Best time to go

The most pleasant months to visit are December to late February: Santiaguinos are off on summer holiday and breezes disperse the smog that shrouds the city for most of the rest of the year. In winter (June to early October), you could combine city tours with a few days' skiing at some of Chile’s top resorts, only an hour outside Santiago.

Our top tips

Don't write Santiago off as somewhere to merely spend a night before or after a flight. While it may lack the vibrant buzz of Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires, its arts, nightlife and restaurant scenes are definitely on the upswing. Culture vultures could certainly find enough to amuse themselves for 4-5 days. And few, if any, other cities in South America offer more diverse attractions within day-trip distance - including world-class wineries, premier ski resorts and chic beaches.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 8
  • Breakfast only (+ restaurants nearby)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Eight individually decorated rooms - marked by hand-painted ovals - encircle the stairs and gleaming wood landings on 2 floors. Tan and ivory walls are hung with historic photographs and etchings. Bunches of pastel straw flowers hang upside down; lace runners cover rich dark wood antique chests.

Our third-storey room had a vaulted ceiling and period attic windows overlooking the street. One of 4 rooms with a double bed (only 2 have queensize beds), it was snug, but quaintly cosy. Along with romantic floral prints, sheer white curtains and silk tassels, expect basic mod cons such as cable TV, reading lamps, a bedside fan and a (tiny) key-locking safe box.

Honeymooners and couples celebrating milestone anniversaries are treated to crisp white sheets and plush towels with hand-sewn ribbon and eyelet trim, a pair of red roses, chilled champagne and chocolates.

If you need more space, choose the twin room (1 of 2 in the hotel) overlooking the patio on the second storey.

Bathrooms are small, but adequate. Our counter was tiled in cobalt blue; others have pedestal or hand-painted ceramic sinks. One has a skylight. All are stocked with shampoo, shower gel, soap, a shower cap and a hairdryer.

Features include:

  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

A buffet breakfast is set on the dining room’s antique sideboard from 8-10am on weekdays; 8.30-10.30am on the weekend. Pop some bread in a retro-style toaster alongside a large bouquet of fresh-cut flowers. Choose from 2 kinds of dry cereal. The staff will bring you orange juice, a dish of sliced fresh fruit, yoghurt, sliced ham and cheese, and a plate of Chile’s superb soft white cheese (quesillo); you'll find something a little different each day. The coffee is weak and frothy with milk, but you can ask for a cup of stronger brew.

If the weather's nice, take your plate through the paned double doors to the patio. During cooler months, there may be a fire going in the adjacent living room.

Room service (a selection of simple sandwiches, salads, beers and wines) is available at any time.

Gloria is happy to recommend a handful of neighbourhood restaurants - ranging from reasonably priced to internationally renowned. Depending on your preferences, she’ll sketch you a map to the best pizza or pisco sour. Or direct you to critically acclaimed Astrid y Gaston, a gourmet restaurant with a lengthy wine list and on-site sommelier, located just around the corner from the hotel.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Relax at the hotel. Pull a novel from the living room bookshelf and stretch out on the couch by the fire; pop tango tunes into the CD player; grab a nap on the patio; check your e-mail; or read through the hotel’s collection of guidebooks

  • Sign up for a city tour at the hotel, or strike off on your own. Must-sees include the historic Plaza de Armas, the chaotic Mercado Central, the lush convent gardens of the Church of San Francisco (the oldest standing building in Santiago), and Cerro Santa Lucía, where Santiago was founded in 1540 (its panoramic city views stretch as far as the snow-capped peaks of the Andes on smog-free days)

  • Go shopping. Providencia (1.5 blocks away) is known for its funky boutiques and upscale shops; Artesanías de Chile at the gorgeous Mapocho Station Cultural Centre offers ceramics, lapis lazuli, textiles, baskets and woodwork (Mon-Sat); Chile Típico sells wooden stirrups and pinwheel spurs unique to Chile’s huaso cowboys

  • Go wine-tasting or skiing. Santiago is surrounded by premier wine valleys, and ski resorts are a mere 25 miles away. Sign up for half- or full-day tours of the Maipo or Casablanca wine regions or a day on the slopes of chic 20-run La Parva - see Rates

  • Party. Like many South Americans, residents of Santiago dine late (11pm) and hit the nightclubs after 1am; Santiago's club scene caters to an 18- to 35-year-old crowd, but if you prefer something more mellow, many restaurants in Bellavista feature live jazz, bolero and folk music from Thursday to Saturday

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Skiing
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Cots and extra beds are available for infants. However, the stairs, tiles and stone floors of the hotel and patio aren't best suited to toddlers or active children.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

7/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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Rates for Vilafranca Petit Hotel