Constitucion 299, Providencia, Santiago, Chile
For decades, this historic 1927 mansion was the digs for the Domingo Duran Morales family, a Chilean politician and businessman. Largely vacant since 2001, Will Martin of Great Britain and Mark Cigana of Australia saw the vast potential of the home as a hotel and bought it up in 2007. After 3 million dollars of renovations done over about two years time, they opened as "the first true boutique hotel for Santiago."
Located in barrio Bellavista next to the entrance to the urban park Cerro San Cristobal, the Aubrey is above all situated on prime real estate. Despite Bellavista’s diverse menu of tourism attractions, Santiago’s luxury hotels have up to now opted for other, more modern areas of the city, leaving the Aubrey to fill a gaping hole.
Bellavista has long been the city’s most important arts district, and home to several dozens of bars, music clubs, theaters, and restaurants along the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets. Just around the corner from the Aubrey is historic landmark, La Chascona, the former home of Chile’s Nobel poet Pablo Neruda that is now a must–see museum for most visitors to Santiago. Walk a few blocks down bustling Pio Nono Street and you’re at Patio Bellavista, one of the very best places to shop and dine in the city.
Meantime, in Aubrey’s backyard is Cerro San Cristobal, one of South America’s finest urban parks, including the Funicular rail cars, which provide entertaining transport up the 300–meter high hillside to awesome views of the city, a zoo containing an amazing array of animals, botanical gardens, pools, and scenic trails.
The hotel has 15 rooms, located among an eclectic–styled interior, with original parquet floors and classic and modern pieces that come together fitfully. The sofas and much of the furniture were imported from England, while several other furnishings in the hotel are personal belongings of the owners or were especially commissioned by the Chilean architects and designers who guided the renovation work.
Each of the rooms has a personality of its own. One room has couches and bedspreads in various Zebra-like black and white patterns, while another room seems like it’s direct from the Orient. I stayed in the Hotel Aubrey’s largest suite, a colossal-sized room with a large bed, wide LCD television on the wall, a big bathtub for those who enjoy a relaxing soak, and terrace looking out at the pool.
Other outstanding features of the hotel include a heated Jacuzzi, pool, and outdoor deck. The hotel formerly hosted the Santiago branch of a popular Valparaiso pasta institution on its ground floor, but they left the hotel in early 2011. In December 2012, the hotel opened its own restaurant, under its own name, though its menu is now completely different : they offer a relatively small menu consisting of mostly Chilean traditional dishes such as "pastel de choclo" and standard meat and fish plates prepared in large part with Asian–styled sauces. In my opinion, the quality of the food is no longer the same, especially at the prices they charge. There have also been some recent complaints about service and the quality of breakfasts.
If you are looking for tranquility and quiet, then staying at the Aubrey, located near the center of one Santiago's most lively districts at night, is likely not for you. But if you want to be up close to the best of Santiago’s tourist trail and at the same time stay in a homey, yet upscale 1927–era mansion, the Aubrey is it.
Web Address: www.theaubrey.com
Total Number of Rooms and Suites: 15
Published Rates: $280 to $550 BB
Review and photos by Jimmy Langman, updated 2012