From its quirky style, to its location, its helpful staff to its great amenities – you couldn’t ask for more. The perfect place to see Santiago
Like many travelers, we have both long been drawn to explore the wilderness of Patagonia. Its untamed dramatic scenery is some of the best in the world, and thanks to being so sparsely populated, its landscapes are largely untouched. Most trips to Patagonia start in Santiago - the busy capital city of Chile. So we decided to take a couple of days and see what the city was like. It turned out to be a good decision, and if you are following the same route, you should definitely do the same!
After a quick bit of researching where to stay, we settled on the Singular Hotel in the Lastarria part of town and decided to make it our base. With it’s elegant facade and quirky lobby it looked like our sort of hotel, and we had read that Lastarria was an interesting neighborhood to stay in. We arrived at night and instantly felt welcomed by the warm glow of the yellow lights in the lobby. We knew we liked the place straight away – even more so when they greeted us with sparkling wine and macaroons! After checking in we went up to our room to get an early night, as we wanted to be ready to explore in the morning.
You might find yourself tempted to skip Santiago, particularly if you are more of a nature person than a city one. It does not have the obvious beauty and style of other South American cities (such as Rio De Janeiro or Buenos Aires), and it doesn’t often feature high up on many people’s must visit lists. I think passing quickly through would be a mistake however. It is a relaxed, safe city, and being isolated on the other side of the Andes to the rest of the continent, it has its own unique atmosphere. There are some things worth seeing here, and omnipresent is the spectacular mountain backdrop which provided us with a tantalizing glimpse of the scenery we would soon be visiting.
The Lastarria neighborhood is home to an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants and cafes. It is where people come to have fun, and it is normally very busy (it is probably a good idea to book restaurant tables in advance). It is also quite a quirky place and there are some nice art markets round the corner from the hotel. This eccentricity is matched by the Singular which is full of curious pieces of art and odd out-of-place paintings. Despite this, it still manages to feel quite elegant. The walls of the lobby for example, are fronted with dark wood matched by the dark leather chairs with interesting posters and art hanging. Illuminating everything are the soft yellow lights which make the place feel cozy.
We were equally impressed by the room. We stayed in the ‘singular room’, which at 400 square feet was very spacious – especially compared to some of the rooms we have encountered in South America. The picture on the website really doesn’t do it justice and we enjoyed spreading out a bit during our time there. It was also a nice place to be as it was well decorated, particularly the bathroom with its white marble surfaces. A final plus was that there was lots of space for working thanks to the large desk provided.
The hotel has plenty of things to draw you away from work and out of your room though, including a spa, a rooftop pool, and the restaurant. The roof is a great place to relax and enjoy a sunset as there is a bar there alongside the pool and the city views are excellent. This does make it popular though, and it is visited by locals as well as guests. You should make a reservation to ensure you get a seat. Once there you can enjoy a selection of cocktails, beers, wines, and small tapas style snacks.
The best food of course, can be found in the restaurant. The chef is a Frenchman, so he brings some of that old world sophistication to his new world ingredients. I had a beet salad with pear and goats cheese and enjoyed every mouthful. Chris had hare (perfectly cooked) served with root vegetables. It was all very tasty and came out looking beautiful however, there was none of the stuffiness that you sometime find in restaurants of this quality. The atmosphere was relaxed and the service was excellent. It had all the fanciness without the pretentiousness! Breakfast is a la carte, and alongside all the usual dishes, it also has some uniquely Chilean options. Quinoa is native here and is used in a variety of ways. I was introduced to puff quinoa (like rice crispies but not as sweet!), which went perfectly on top of granola.
We also tried out the spa while we were there. It is located on the ground floor and is a really tranquil place. It is quite large and there are candles everywhere making it easy to relax. They offer 13 different treatments as well as a sauna, steam room, gym, and hydro-massage area, Chris and I both had the singular massage – 60 minutes of bliss! The therapists were skilled, and were happy to adapt the experience to suit the needs of our bodies and our preferences.
Overall though, it was the excellent service that made it such a gem of a hotel. All the things I have mentioned so far are great, but it was the attentiveness of the staff that made it really special. Time and again they went out their way to provide that extra bit of service. When we were flying out too early for the a la carte breakfast (our flight was at 6am!) they prepared us a takeaway one with fruit, yogurt, bread, and charcuterie so that we could eat on the flight. Another time I was looking for a nearby place to get a my nails done and the concierge sent me up a list of places and the times which they were available. Perhaps the most impressive however, was when a package we were waiting for got held up at customs. The staff helped us translate the forms and documents, as did everything they could to help us get the package.
The Singular had it all. Wonderful service, food, and facilities. A great vibe, and a central location. It is trendy and different, but at the same time sophisticated and not lacking in the comforts you would expect. It is an excellent choice for couples, friends, or anyone really who is spending some time in Santiago. It's also the perfect place to rest up and prepare for a trip to Patagonia. When you get down there you will be getting a workout as hiking across its mountains and valleys is the main reason for visiting. With both Singular and Santiago being such pleasant surprises, why not take a few days to relax beforehand…or even afterwards?
For more information about the hotel, follow the link below