“ Address: Ave Santa Maria 1742 / Santiago / Chile „
* Prices may differ from that shown
Sheraton hotel Santiago
The hotel is a modern hotel just in front or behind San Cristobel hill. It overlooks the river and we were lucky enough to have a room at the front of the hotel with views across the city with the snow capped Andes in the distance. The lobby was open and spacious with a huge seated bar area in the middle. There were a number of seated areas for waiting or meeting friends with comfortable chairs and settees. The concierge desk would order taxis and organise private tours whilst the main desk offered check in and out as well as a money exchange at quite a reasonable rate.
The bar area was in the middle of the huge lobby area with a low wall around it so that you could see everywhere in the lobby from the bar area and vice versa. It made it very light and open as well as easy to see someone if you were meeting in the area. The drinks were not especially cheap compared to Peru and Bolivia but reasonably priced for a big hotel. In the early evening they had a Happy Hour which meant entertainment - scantily clad girls modeling swimwear and free snack-type bits. Needless to say I wasn't that excited by this but for some reason the men seemed very interested.
There were three restaurants as well as the bar in the hotel. The outdoor restaurant, El Bohio, is open from mid-October until April is in the garden area next to the pool, it offers grilled meats and fishes and a salad bar and it also served breakfast. The smaller El Jardin coffee shop which served light meals at lunch and dinner as well as breakfast. Finally the gourmet El Cid restaurant which is reputedly one of the finest in Santiago and has won awards for its cuisine, more about this further on.
We had breakfast in two of the restaurants and both offered similar fare. There was fresh fruit juices, a variety of freshly prepared fruit , yogurts, cold meats and cheeses, a huge variety of breads, pastries and cake, hot things included eggs Benedict, hash browns, bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs as well as pancakes with honey or syrup. Really everything that you could want was on offer and there was plenty to choose from. The waiting on staff were hovering around, ready to refill coffees or tea throughout and cleared the dirty dishes almost as son as you had taken your last mouthful.
We ate at the El Cid one night and we treated royally. My husband and I both selected the seafood platter which was an enormous plate of varied seafood from calamari to langoustines, prawns, crab claws, oysters mornay and so many I forget but there were no cockles, mussels etc. Before our main course we were brought a complementary starter of a small glass with prawns on top of a ball of fresh coconut beautifully presented which was a very nice surprise. After our main course we were brought, once again complementary, chocolates with a wonderful sugar syrup tower which finished off a fantastic meal with service we could not fault. This meal was on a par with some of the best restaurants we have eaten in, certainly deserving of its reputation.
There was a small circular pool with plenty of tables and chairs to sit around and enjoy a snack or a drink. There were also lovely comfortable loungers with thick foam fabric covers that we enjoyed lazing on while reading our books in the sunshine after sightseeing in Santiago. I guess it could become busy in the local summer holidays and really hot weather but as this is mainly a business and conference hotel then possibly it might not be too crowded, we certainly didn't see too many families with young children.
Our room was small but adequate with plenty of storage space both hanging and drawers and a coded safe. The bed was a smallish double but with a huge number of very comfortable pillows. The window at the front did open and although you could heard the traffic noise when it was open, once it was closed you could hardly hear any outside noise. There was a mini bar but the fridge was not that cold. The TV was huge and my husband was able to watch English football live one morning which he was very pleased about. I was able to plug into a high speed internet in the room for 9000 pesos per 24 hours (£ 7.50 ish)or 3000 for 3 hours ( £2.50ish) . This wasn't as good as free internet but was more reasonable than some places we stayed .The large window overlooked the river and the city with views of the mountains (the Andes) in the distance, I was able to sit at the desk, plug the laptop in to the internet cable and look out over this wonderful view.
The bathroom was small but had a shower/bath with huge shower and a very long bath. There were the usual toiletries of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and soap with a shower cap. There was also a good hair dryer not attached to the wall so you could take it out into the bedroom to dry your hair leaving the bathroom free for the other person to use. There were plenty of mirrors in good light for make-up etc. both in the bathroom and in the main room.
As we often found in hotels in South America, there was no kettle in the room so no tea or coffee without spending money downstairs in the bar area. However being cheapskates we had taken our travel kettle and some coffee and tea so we were able to enjoy our hot drink in our room for nothing.
As I mentioned before this is a business hotel and conference centre, the largest in Chile apparently and there are fifteen meeting spaces available of varying sizes. There is internet access at a price throughout the hotel. There is the San Cristobel Tower joined to the main Sheraton Hotel which provides many of the conference meeting rooms. The hotel has been chosen to host important international events as The Summit of the Americas, OEA, IDB, and APEC meetings among others.
The hotel is about 15 minutes away from the International Airport and within walking distance of the subway station in Providencia. We had no trouble walking into shopping areas or finding our way using the underground to get around. We felt very safe walking around the city and found the people in the city were too busy getting on with their lives to either be friendly or bother us - a normal busy city that could have been any European city really.