“Classic architecture and chic design in a fantastic vantage point over Valparaíso, Chile's most important seaport”
This is the perfect base from which to discover this vibrant port city, which buzzes with an energy sometimes lacking in the neighbouring capital, Santiago. After a tough morning exploring, crash on your bed for a siesta while a warm breeze wafts through the French doors. Later, help yourself to a glass of wine, settle back into a wicker chair on the bougainvillea-festooned terrace and watch the long shadows of the sunset move across the bay below.
- Location location location. The solid foundations of the 19th-century houses in this district enabled them to withstand a massive earthquake in 1906, unlike most buildings in the city. The area is historically significant as a result - not to mention very trendy
- Guests are trusted to settle their dues later at the well-stocked honesty bar
- Classic architecture and superior craftsmanship give the building a strong character, enhanced by beautiful original features - coving, French window frames, wooden floorboards and stained glass windows
- The lush Winter Garden breakfast room on the first floor with its panoramic views is picturesque and inspiring
- The hotel has no restaurant, but there are plenty of top-notch local eateries to discover
- While the best rooms enjoy fabulous harbour views, some rooms at the top have a less privileged view of a corrugated iron warehouse
- Parking is a nightmare in Valparaíso, but the hotel has 7 parking spots set aside which can be booked in advance
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
The high ceilings and long windows in each of Zerohotel's 9 rooms provide a sense of light, space and calm, a welcome relief from the buzz of the city streets. All have duck-egg blue walls and minimal furniture - anglepoise lamps, a luggage rack and possibly a bright armchair. Colourful alpaca blankets and sheepskin rugs provide a homely touch and give the rooms an authentic feel.
These fall into 2 categories - the standard Colores Rooms (with a kingsize or twins beds) which look out to the hilly streets, and the larger Puerto Rooms situated at the back of the house, with fabulous views overlooking Valparaíso bay and harbour.
Ours room was a Colores Room - we were unlucky to be overlooking a corrugated iron warehouse, but this didn't stop us opening the French windows to take in the early evening sea air.
Other rooms at this side of the building give a better panorama of local architecture, with external hues perfectly picked out by their bold colour scheme. A leather-topped antique writing desk and tan stretch leather chairs complement coving on the ceiling, stripped pine flooring and metalwork on the French windows to create an authentic, classic feel. But there's nothing fusty about it - the light blue walls contrast perfectly with crisp white 400-thread Egyptian cotton sheets and lemon yellow throws on the 2 queensize beds for a fresh effect.
The firm beds with cosy duvets for chilly evenings invite you to chill out, or switch on the Samsung flat-screen TV and flick through the 50 channels. Anglepoise lamps at either side of the bed provide subtle lighting as required. An interesting print, brightly but haphazardly coloured, of a local scene, decorates one wall.
In the ensuite bathroom, there's a powerful shower over the sunken bath, tiled with dark slate. A selection of indulgent Zerohotel-branded cosmetics - soap, shampoo, conditioner and moisturising cream - is supplied in a little vanity basket on the marble basin-top, and an extendable magnifying mirror supplements the full-size mirror. The shelf under the sink houses towelling robes, slippers and tissues. Everything - towels, robes, sheets, pillowcases - is monogrammed with the Zerohotel logo. The overall effect is cosy and luxurious.
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Safe box
- Satellite tv
The breakfast room (the Winter Garden), at the bottom of the house, is beautifully light, with pink tablecloths and fresh flowers from the garden picking out the bougainvillea from the terrace outside. Picture panoramic windows show the city below waking up as breakfast is served, from 9-11am.
Eggs (with bacon if you like), tea and coffee are served to order at the table; everything else is laid out to entice in the breakfast room. There are cereals, fruit salads, fresh breads, a leg of ham and cold cuts. The juices are freshly squeezed - and the management insists that you sample the delicious chirimoya juice. A beautiful berry cheesecake is the pièce de resistance, but the homemade apple pies are also very tempting.
Pick up today's edition of the local paper and eat out on the sunny terrace for a lovely leisurely start to the day, amidst almond trees, roses and bird of paradise flowers. It can be difficult to draw yourself away - if you really can't, ask one of the hotel staff to pull out the cleverly designed parasol to provide ample shade from the hot sun without obscuring the views.
Lunch and dinner can be prepared on special request, and Sunday lunch is always an event, but at other times there's no restaurant as such. Instead, enjoy some complimentary tasty canapés - such as dainty pumpernickel bread with beef carpaccio or prawns, feta cubes, olives and roasted nuts - before checking out one of Valparaíso's top eateries nearby.
On the hotel's recommendation, we went to the charming Montealegre, a 3-minute walk away, which has equally breathtaking views. The service was attentive, the wine spot on, the lighting romantic and the fresh fish dishes creative and appetising, if not outstanding. Elsewhere, Portofino is recommended for great seafood, Apollo 77 receives rave reviews for its cosy setting and top desserts, and La Colombina has all of the above.
- Dinner by arrangement
- Lunch by arrangement
- Restaurants nearby
- Explore 'Valpo' - known as 'la joya del Pacífico' ('the jewel of the Pacific') - on foot. Start with the streets around the hotel - these come to life during the day and have a laid-back, bohemian vibe. Check out the cool murals in the Museo al Cielo Abierto (Open Air Museum) and the local market stalls
- Enjoy a half-hour chug around the harbour on a tourist launch - well worth the fare for a potted history from an enthusiastic local guide, a view of the national Congress building and a wonderful panorama of the colourful neighbourhoods fanned out around the bay
- Visit the homes of Pablo Neruda, Chile's celebrated Nobel prize-winning poet, at La Sebastiana on Bellavista hill (with inspirational vistas of the Pacific Ocean), and on the idyllic Isla Negra
- Head to the adjacent beach resort of Viña del Mar to strut your stuff on the sand and soak up some rays
- Take a trip out to some of the local vineyards for tours and tastings of some excellent Chilean wine
- Head into the Andes for mountain fun, including hiking and skiing
- Hit the shops - Valpo is particularly good for artisanal goods and jewellery
- Visit the Naval and Maritime Museum in for a great insight into Chile's role in the War of the Pacific
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Wine tasting
Children are welcome, and extra beds and cots can be provided as necessary for kids up to the age of 12 (free for under 5s). It's not, however, a family-oriented place - the idea is to get away from it all and revel in the hotel's calm - so there are usually few children staying. No babysitting service is offered and the hotel is spread over 5 floors, with no lift.
Family friendly accommodation:
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available