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Hotel Luciano K—Santiago

Merced 84, Barrio Lastarria, Santiago, Chile

Historic features, including the city's first elevator, add charm to this centrally-located boutique hotel in Chile's capital city.

Now that Santiago boasts South America‚Äôs tallest tower, the 64–story Gran Torre Santiago, it's hard to imagine that the seven-story building that houses the Hotel Luciano K, in Santiago's Barrio Lastarria, was once the tallest in Chile. Designed by architect Luciano Kulczewski and completed in 1928, the structure was also the city's first to have central heating. Its tiny cage elevator, which is still operating, was the first elevator in the city.

Modern boutique hotel Luciano K, overlooking the linear Parque Forestal near the city center, is named for Kulczewski. From the marble floors to the pint-sized elevator, it retains many of the features that "Luciano K" designed. While it's not a super-deluxe property, Hotel Luciano K is a stylish option for guests who are looking for a combination of service and historic charm.

English–speaking staff greet guests from behind the reception counter in the narrow lobby. A staffer is at the reception desk around the clock. The hotel's multi-lingual general manager from France who was in place when we visited has plenty of international experience. He worked for Starwood hotels in Europe and the Middle East, then for the Explora properties in South America before taking responsibility for the Luciano K.

The hotel's design mixes Art Deco and other period features with more contemporary pieces. The 38 guest rooms, accessed by that tiny elevator or up a central marble staircase, have wood floors, velvet headboards, and marble sinks.

Rooms are air–conditioned, a must in Santiago's steamy summer season, and windows are triple–glazed to keep out street noise. Other amenities include a TV, safe, robes and slippers, and a minibar, but no coffee maker. Wi–Fi is complimentary and available throughout the building. During the nightly turndown service, housekeeping staff straighten the room, empty the trash, and leave a bedtime pastry or other treat.

Standard rooms have interior windows (with no views), while the superior and deluxe room categories look out at either Alameda Avenue or Parque Forestal. Some have thick oldstyle porcelain tubs, updated with rain showers; some of the bathroom doors feature insets of art deco–style stained glass. Suites give you more space and a separate sitting area.

One of the Luciano K's most attractive spaces is the rooftop terrace, where the hotel's bar and casual restaurant have views across the city. You even have views down to the lobby: while most of the terrace floor is constructed from colorful square tiles, a small section is made of glass, where you can see all the way down to the lobby level.

Also on the rooftop is a narrow swimming pool, where you can take in the views while you float or paddle around.

The menu in the rooftop dining spot includes Chilean classics like a fresh and flavorful ceviche and bar food like pizza, salads, and sandwiches. If the chocolate volcano cake is on the dessert menu, don't miss this dark and gooey confection.

It's also worth waking up for breakfast. A daily buffet spread, included in the rates is served in the lobby-level breakfast room, furnished with black stone tables, velvet banquettes, and a rust and cream tiled floor. You can help yourself to homemade yogurt, fresh fruit, granola, and nuts, as well as cheeses, breads, and a selection of pastries. Staffers pour good coffee and will prepare eggs to order. Windows in the breakfast room look out toward the park across the street.

For travelers who prefer quieter, more intimate accommodations, rather than a bustling international hotel, the Luciano K is a good choice in central Santiago.

Web Address:
Total Number of Rooms: 38
Published rates: $169-279 double, $269-389 suites with breakfast

Review and Photos by Carolyn B. Heller.