Coronel Santiago Bueras 188, Santiago, Chile
Boutique hotels are no longer a foreign concept to Chile, they are sprouting all over the country and the Casa Bueras Boutique Hotel (formerly Lastarria Boutique Hotel) near downtown Santiago has risen to the top in the capital.
Created by two young Chileans, Benjamin Naylor and Rodrigo Giadallah, who now in their 30s already have nearly a decade of hotel experience, this is a stylish boutique hotel in the appealing Lastarria neighborhood of Santiago, one of the city's more enjoyable areas.
The Casa Bueras Boutique Hotel, which opened in July 2011, is housed in a 1927 mansion on a quiet side street near the massive site that for years formerly housed the U.S. Embassy. Once a headquarters for the Spanish news agency EFE, this hotel retains the feel of its classic past with its chandeliers and marble staircase but at the same time has the tranquil yet trendy vibe of the surrounding Lastarria streets. These feature several art galleries, antique shops, restaurants, cafes, a theater, and more.
Moreover, the hotel is strategically located near downtown Santiago, a subway stop, and within just a minute walk to Parque Forestal, the verdant urban park that includes Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Chile's national museum of fine art). And if you have had your fill of cool calm, you're only a ten–minute walk to the nearby Bellavista neighborhood and its upbeat discos and party nightlife.
For me, key traits shared by many of the better boutique hotels are a sense of intimacy and attention to detail, and Casa Bueras Boutique Hotel hits the right notes on both. The hotel has 14 mostly spacious suites and rooms spread out over three floors, but united on the second floor by a small dining area that leads out to a laid–back terrace, garden, and pool. This all feels as it should, more on the scale of a luxuriant home than a hotel. But what really stands out are the elegant, elaborate rooms. Here you have high quality linens, huge beds, classic antique-looking furniture, big windows, flat screen televisions, iPod docks, and 5–star bathrooms. In some rooms you get your own private balcony with sofas and lounge chairs or a Jacuzzi.
The modest size of the hotel does come at a cost: less room for the gym and business center for a start. And while the restaurant produces fine breakfasts, with so many top dining options near the hotel, you will probably want to head for the streets when it is time for lunch or dinner. That's what I did with co–owner Benjamin Naylor, who is a true connoisseur of Santiago's culinary scene and knows all the best spots around town. We toured the neighborhood, partaking in beer at a local bar then wine and food at Boca Nariz, which has been listed by Wine Spectator magazine as one of the best wine bars in the world.
Lastarria Boutique Hotel is a great choice for its comfort, quality, attentive service, and above all, for Lastarria.
Web Address: Casa Bueras Boutique Hotel
Total Number of Rooms and Suites: 14
Published Rates: $260 to $350
Review by Jimmy Langman, photos courtesy of Lastarria Boutique Hotel.