Holiday Hotspot: Santiago - Chile
Santiago, capital and largest city in Chile, is one of the most popular destinations in South America, emerging as a vibrant destination for both leisure and business travel. The cities greatest selling point remains its location—ski slopes to the east, the Pacific to the west, and wineries found in just about every direction. The city also got an impressive and growing arts and music scene, fine-dining options and selection of quality hotels, The Bellavista neighbourhood – known as Santiago’s artistic quarter – is home to bars, restaurants a lively nightlife scene and the splendid "Aubrey" boutique hotel.
The British/Australian owners have spent three years restoring the buildings retaining art-deco wood panelling and creating a stylish fusion interior that mixes 17th-century oil paintings with contemporary lighting & furniture. The mansion hosts 15 individually designed rooms, decorated with a combination of classic and modern furniture. Most rooms have balconies – ideal for relaxing, and if you fancy cooling down then take a dip in the relaxing jacuzzi swimming pool with a cocktail. If the first-class rooms aren’t enough, the in-house restaurant is regarded as one of the best in the city, serving international cuisine with world famous Chilean wines, and cocktails and tapas in the piano lounge. www.theaubrey.com
The historic heart of Santiago, Plaza de Armas continues to pulse with excitement. For better or worse, it has all the makings of a tourist trap: cheap local food, tacky art stands, a soap box atmosphere, and all the excitement needed to make a pickpocket's job easy so be warned! Tourists also ride the funicular up to the hilltop Virgin Mary statue at Cerro San Cristobal. Towering over the Chilean capital, this park is a recreational oasis with public pools, botanical gardens, and breathtaking views of both the city and the Andean peaks -- smog permitting. Locals come here to jog, bike, hike & flex their muscles.
There are several museums and exceptional galleries like Galeria Animal or the Isabel Aninat gallery in the Vitacura section of Santiago. But a must-see is the striking Centro Cultural; opened in 2006, the cultural centre features top art, photography and film exhibitions in a facility below the plaza in front of the La Moneda presidential palace. Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971. His poetry is considered by many to be the soul of Chile, and he played an important role in his country’s recent history as a political icon and national hero. He published his first poem at the age of thirteen, and by the time he was in his early twenties was a regular contributor to the literary journal “Selva Astral”. Neruda's eclectic house at "La Chascona," is a must see. Concha y Toro, founded in 1883, is a well known winery both in the UK and Ireland named “The Most Admired Wine Brand in the World” for 2011 and 2012 by UK Drinks International magazine.
So if you want to see a big winery in action then this is the place to go and you can visit by Metro! British Airways operate a direct service from London Heathrow via Dublin or Belfast. The four-a-week flight will be served by the airline’s newest aircraft, the four-cabin Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, complete with a new First cabin. www.ba.com Nuevo Mundo an Irish based travel agent specialising in South America.provide a personal service and organise every element of your trip. The experience includes private airport transfers in each destination, airport assistance and guides who can accompany you to your check-in to ensure you get on board your flight with the minimum of hassle. Having travelled all over the world for more than 20 years, I must say this was the best organised trip I have been on and I felt spoilt! Find out more.