Set in the heart of the buzzing bohemian borough of Lastarria, luxury hotel The Singular Santiago is a stylish hideaway in the centre of the Chilean capital. Get a bird’s-eye view of the city’s bustle below – and the mighty Andean peaks beyond – from the rooftop pool and bar, Chilean pisco sour in hand. Come down from on high to dine at the Singular Restaurant, where French fare, and decor that incorporates candelabra and tapestries – and still looks modern – will satisfy your hunger for sustenance and style.
Noon, but flexible subject to availability and at an extra cost. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from $151.26.
Rates include buffet breakfast at the Singular Restaurant (eggs any way, salmon and cold meats, fresh pastries with home-made jams and dulce de leche honey, cereals, yoghurts, fresh fruit and a variety of teas and coffee).
At the hotel
Spa, fitness centre, rooftop pool and bar, and a laundry service. In rooms: LCD TV, black-out curtains, WiFi, Singular toiletries, bathrobes and slippers, hairdryer, safe, minibar, free bottled water, air-conditioning and tea- and coffee-making facilities.
Our favourite rooms
The suite has singular charm: ink drawings adorn the walls of its large double bedroom and separate seating area, both decorated in elegant shades of white and cream with gold accents. In contrast to this light and airy space, the separate living area is styled to match the public areas of the hotel; black-and-white walls, emerald-leather chairs and dark-wooden tables add a more masculine feel. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto the Parque Forestal next door. Because one tub just isn’t enough, the suite has two marble-panelled bathrooms, both with a walk-in shower and large bath tub.
The rooftop pool is the height of sun-seeking sophistication. Take a dip then catch some Santiagan sun, reclining on one of the surrounding day-beds. The pool is open daily from 10am to 8pm, between November and March.
The Singular Wellness Spa has a hydro-massage room, sauna, steam bath and relaxation area to rest and recuperate in after a ‘terribly tiring’ Thai massage. There are three single treatment rooms and one for couples; tick off one, two or all 13 therapies during your stay. Select the length of your treatment to suit your schedule; fit in a 30-minute foot massage in between your museum marathon, or for the slower-going sightseer, a two-hour Four-Hands Massage. There’s also a gym, open round the clock for guests.
Inspired by the Singular’s artsy surroundings, pack a thick sketchbook for hours spent in local galleries. The Santiaguinos are a cosmopolitan lot – if you’re combining your stay with a mountain trek, pack something more stylish than sturdy for this leg.
All public areas are wheelchair-accessible and one of the Singular Rooms on the first floor is adapted for guests with mobility issues. All lifts have braille.
Children of all ages are welcome, though with lots of fine fabrics and artworks on display, it’s best suited to teens. Baby cots are available on request. The Singular Restaurant has a menu tailored to tots, and has highchairs and changing facilities.
When the weather’s fine, dine outside in the courtyard; opening onto the bustling Merced, it’s a great spot for people watching.
Keep it cool in fashionable, understated frocks and casually suave suits.
Having perfected Singular’s restaurant in Patagonia, chef Hernán Basso has set to work creating an equally appetising menu at the Singular Restaurant in Santiago. Using local ingredients and flavours to reinvent traditional French recipes, the menu includes lots of delicious dishes such as Chiloé black-edge oysters with lemon foam and hot jalapeños. Sit back in an emerald-green leather chair and savour a glass of syrah as a chef carves a shoulder of Puerto Natales lamb before you. The bold chequered floor, lacquered tables and dark-wooden accents give the space a dash of gentlemanly sophistication.
The hotel has two bars, Bar Merced 294 on the ground floor and a rooftop bar. For a cocktail that comes with a cityscape, head upstairs. Take in the views of Parque Forestal and Santa Lucía Hill next door and San Cristóbal Hill in the distance as you sip on a Calafate mojito. If you start to feel chilly, indoors there are floor-to-ceiling windows. Bar Merced 294 has the Singular’s signature masculine style: dark wooden furniture, charcoal-coloured walls, brown parquet floors and brass lighting. Sink into one of the plush, green-velvet sofas and eye-up the artworks on the walls while mixologists in white tuxedos prepare your drink.
The Singular Restaurant serves breakfast from 7.30am to 10.30am (11am on weekends), lunch from 12.30pm to 3.30pm and dinner from 7.30pm to 10.30pm. Drinks are served at the rooftop bar from 5pm to 12.30am and at Bar Merced 294 from 8.30am to midnight.
A selection of salads, sandwiches, pastas and light snacks can be ordered to your room anytime, day or night.
In the heart of the bohemian Lastarria district and under the shadow of San Cristóbal Hill, this zona típica is full of small streets lined with artisanal eateries, art galleries and local street vendors selling their wares.
Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport is less than 30 minutes from the hotel: there’s a taxi rank at the airport, or the hotel can organise your transfers, costing US$63 for a standard vehicle or US$70 for a Chrysler, each way.
You won’t need a car in Santiago; the hotel is within walking distance of lots of the city’s best attractions, bars and restaurants. If you really want your own car, there are car-hire booths at the airport; hotel staff can point you in the direction of nearby paid public parking.
Worth getting out of bed for
The cultural hub of Santiago, Lastarria boasts art galleries, theatres and music halls showcasing the best of Chile’s cultural scene. Soak up Santiago’s natural and man-made beauty in Parque Forestal: have a leisurely lunch among the flowers before an afternoon of art appreciation in Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. The Neoclassical Palacio the collection’s housed in, built in 1910, is as beautiful as the works it contains; below a glass roof, the atrium holds a classical Chilean sculptures. Within the galleries, works by famed Chilean artists – such as abstract painter Luis Vargas Rosas – are displayed alongside Netherlandish art, African sculpture and Italian artworks from the 15th century. Fans of contemporary work should head to Museo de Artes Visuales (Mavi, for short), which houses works by more than 300 currently active Chilean creatives. Whether to watch a play, attend a dance performance or listen to a music concert, Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center is a must-visit. It’s hard to miss – the utilitarian square blocks and weathered-steel frame of this modern feat of architecture are a stark contrast to the smaller, stone buildings that surround it. Walk back to the hotel via calle José Victorino Lastarria to view some of the area’s charming traditional buildings. Escape the bustle of the streets with a hike up Santa Lucía or San Cristóbal Hill; both have exceptional views of the city for prime holiday pics, but the former has a far easier ascent.
From the street, Casa Lastarria’s (+56 (02) 2 638 3236) 1930s, Tudor-style stone façade may look rather traditional, but step through the door and you’ll realise you can’t judge a restaurant by its rustication. Charcoal-coloured walls plastered with posters, exposed concrete ceilings, rustic wooden floorboards, contemporary lighting and simple wooden tables and chairs create an interior so hip you’ll want to add braces to your skinny jeans; it’s no surprise the restaurant’s a favourite of Lastarria’s bohemians. A gourmet spin on traditional Chilean cuisine, the menu is packed with delicacies such asfish-filled pulmay Chilote (a dish with mixed seafood and meat) and pulpo asado (octopus stew). On the second floor, there’s a bar serving the best pisco sours in the area; above that, there’s a rooftop terrace.
Traditional Patagonian eatery, Café Sur Patagonico (+56 (02) 26645341) is less than a five-minute walk from the hotel on José Victorino Lastarria. Books, bellows, beakers and paddles from Patagonia are interspersed between the rows and rows of wine bottles lining the wood-panelled walls of this down-to-earth drop-in. Service can be slow, but your patience will be rewarded with delicious rustic dishes: carnivores ready your steak knives for seared lamb, venison and other meaty treats.
Since opening in 2011, Bocanáriz(+56 (02) 2638 9893) on José Victorino Lastarria has been named one of the best wine bars in the world not once, but three times. Sommeliers are on hand to guide you through the very long wine list, which stars a cast of more than 400 bottles from wineries around Chile. Hop on a wine flight to explore current trends in Chilean viticulture and sample some of the country’s venerable vintages.
Some hotels are transformational. Stepping in from the chaos of downtown Santiago – accentuated by the toots of taxis, and those of mopeds trying to overtake them – the concierge pushes open the tall, heavy wooden doors to usher you into a very different world. Jazz music spins around the lobby which is handsomely decked out with leather chairs and retro lampshades. It has a distinctively 1920s vibe to it; what I imagine the reading room of F.Scott Fitzgerald might look like – piles of beautifully bound leather books and a bar.
Within a moment of being inside the Singular I’ve reached an inner peace; almost entirely forgetting the bewildering airport immigration queues and traffic getting here. I’m smiling, and I feel quite at home. There’s an old school glamour here, which is a rare find in South America. The decadent interiors with frosted mirrors and softly lit chandeliers could be right out of a Ferrero Rocher advert. This little fantasy of mine becomes a reality as the suited and booted receptionist offers Mr Smith and I a chocolate, opening a pearl case on the desk. Monsieur – or Señor – is certainly spoiling us.
Having checked into our spacious and tastefully appointed room, Mr Smith and I begin to investigate. The gym downstairs is so modern and clean that I might actually consider using it. The mood lighting and warm scented air seeping from the spa area is a silent siren to my tired, travel-weary limbs. (It doesn’t take more than five minutes for us to return in robes.)
But it’s the rooftop bar and pool area that holds the most allure. With a view over the mountains and monochrome architecture of modern Santiago, you’re surrounded by an eye-catching cityscape that acts as a gentle reminder that, although you may be cocooned in the stylish setting of the Singular, there’s a big city to discover outdoors.
Mr Smith and I agree that we really ought to stretch our legs that afternoon. Right on the doorstep of the hotel is the historic Lastarria neighbourhood – a neat collection of cobbled streets lined with artisans selling their wares, a handful of colourful restaurants, bars and art galleries, and traditional buildings with ornately carved wooden balconies. The lush, green mound of Santa Lucía hill overlooks the streets and marks the foundation of the city in 1540. This has always been the most affluent region of Santiago, and continues to have that aristocratic yet bohemian feel today. It’s easy to see why the Singular chose to open doors here: it’s the quintessential Santiago neighbourhood.
The concierge helps us shortlist a few spots for dinner later but we decide to head to the rooftop bar for a sundowner first. So drawn in are we by the cocktails, the crab empanadas, the delicious cheeseboard and charcuterie, that we decide to stay. The evening is warm and the Santiago skyline is inviting. Beyond, the Andes mountains are blushing under the sunset, their stony cheeks turning shades of deep purple as the sky turns a flaming red and orange. It’s quite the show, and we have front row seats – with bar service.
We hit our high thread-count sheets early, and sleep late into the next morning – the blackout curtains leaving us unperturbed by the city waking up outside. Breakfast is a veritable banquet of freshly baked pastries, fresh fruits, cold cuts and creamy Chilean avocado. Eggs are how you like them – Mr Smith goes scrambled, and I ask for my personal favourite, and the true litmus test of a good hotel, Eggs Benedict. Delicate portions arrive with presentational flair. We both approve, and order more coffee.
‘What time is check out?’ Mr Smith queries over his newspaper. ‘Not until 12’ I sigh, in relaxed contentment. The prospect of going back to bed for a mid-morning snooze was all too inviting, as was the opportunity to linger that little bit longer in the Singular bubble.
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