Santiago for any season

Spanning 4,270km from north to south, and with an innovative gastronomy and superlative viticulture credentials, discover Chile’s vibrant capital city of Santiago – home to the first South American property for Mandarin Oriental.


BY ROSS CLARKE
Ross Clarke contributes food and travel articles for luxury brands including British Airways, and Emirates.

 

 

Chile, and its historical capital, is on trend, and not just because its creative industries have been scooping awards – Chilean drama, A Fantastic Woman won the 2018 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. In addition, 2018 is the bicentennial of Chilean Independence, it’s Lonely Planet’s Best Country to Visit in 2018 and its capital Santiago is arguably one of most exciting cities in South America right now. And with year-round mild temperatures, there’s never a bad time to visit.

March to May

Chile’s wine scene has been growing in both popularity and prestige for a number of years, and some of the country’s most prominent wineries can be found just outside the city limits, within easy reach of Hotel Santiago. This time of year sees vineyards harvesting their grapes, and vendimia festivals taking place. Vendimias are a chance for locals and visitors to celebrate a fruitful harvest. That means grape stomping in traditional wooden barrels, music and entertainment, the best of local produce, and plenty of wine tasting – from rich cabernets to crisp sauvignons, dark pinot noir and other varietals. Vendimias aren’t always publicised well in advance due to the nature of the harvest, so keep checking for dates. Keep an eye out for smaller vineyards and producers in attendance, who don’t often offer regular tastings of their own. If you want some advice on the best vintages, wineries or bottles to take home, sommelier Sebastian Riquelme keeps the hotel’s Senso restaurant cellar suitably stocked.

June to August

It might not be your first thought for winter sports, but Chile’s pistes rival any of their snowy counterparts, and are less busy. The three valleys of the Andes have high-end ski resorts, all near to Santiago: Valle Nevado is the largest with around 45 kilometres of ski runs; neighbouring El Colorado is best for families; and La Parva is one for sightseeing skiers, with panoramic views of the capital 50 kilometres away.

September to November

The Fiestas Patrias – festivals of independence – celebrate not only Chile’s independence from Spain, but also the ethos of Chilean culture. One of the best is known as Dieciocho (18th – as it’s held on the days around 18 September), when Santiago buzzes with food and festivities. Gastronomes should head to one of the many fondas (streetfood stalls) selling typical empanadas (pasties) filled with meat and onion, and chicha, an alcoholic drink made from grapes. To blend in with the locals, have a flag in hand and a handkerchief ready to dance the traditional cueca.

December to February

With the weather at its best, make the most of the outdoors. Head up the Cajón del Maipo and join local Santiaguinos taking a break from the city. Wind your way up the mountains following the course of the river until you reach the natural thermal pools of the Baños Colina or Baños Morales. Take in a hike or horseride before retiring to the hot mineral-laced baths. Further down the valley and spread along the Rio Maipo, you’ll find myriad pursuits for the active and adventurous, from kayaking to rafting – plus the river plains are also dotted with small vineyards for those who prefer more leisurely pastimes. For arrangements, speak to the hotel’s knowledgeable concierge team.

Book your stay at Hotel Santiago

Located in the exclusive neighbourhood of Las Condes, and with a choice of award-winning restaurants, beautiful rooms and an outdoor pool, Hotel Santiago enjoys a reputation for style and outstanding facilities, all underpinned by Mandarin Oriental’s impeccable service.

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