Lovers of food and culture should make a beeline for this boutique charmer.
Fernando Sahli, whose parents Paul and Bertha had arrived in Chile from Switzerland in 1913, opened the Crillon in 1931, which - at the time - was Santiago's most luxurious hotel. It closed in 1978, but Fernando's son Felipe followed in his family's hospitality footsteps, studying in Switzerland, before establishing the Holiday Inn hotels in Chile and Argentina. In 2011, he created The Singular brand, opening a hotel in Patagonia in Chile's far south, then, three years later, its sister property in Santiago. In 2016, both were granted membership of The Leading Hotels of the World.
Culture lovers and gourmands will appreciate The Singular's privileged location in the vibrant, bohemian Barrio Lastarria, one of Santiago's most historic districts. There's an abundance of wine bars, restaurants and cafes among the well-preserved art deco and neo-classical buildings, as well as galleries, antique and curio shops, and on Sundays, a lively flea market. The National Museum of Fine Arts, with its extravagant Beaux Arts facade, housing a collection of Chilean and South American art is a short stroll away, as is GAM, the cultural centre, with exhibitions, contemporary music and theatre, while across the road, parallel to the not-so-mighty Mapocho River are the tranquil manicured gardens of the Parque Forestal. Santa Lucia Hill, with the 19th-century Castillo Hidalgo fort, walking trails and expansive views of the city is also close by.
Built in neo-classical style, as a tribute to the cultural and historical surrounds, the hotel's entrance is so discreet, with its black facade and understated signage, that it would be easy to miss all together, were it not for the suited concierge ready to open a door or hail a taxi. Inside it's luxe without being intimidating New York-meets-Paris in a pleasing fusion of contemporary comfort and mid-century retro. The Singular's pedigree as a family-owned rather than an international chain hotel is visible in every personality-packed corner and thoughtful touch; from the bespoke furniture and quirky modern art to the curated coffee table books and vases of fresh flowers.
Like the rest of the hotel, the Singular's guest rooms are furnished with impeccable taste, drawing on a muted, slightly masculine colour palette. All are spacious; some have balconies. High-thread-count sheets, luxuriant carpeting and a large marble bathroom with deep bathtub add to the sense of quiet luxury. There's a pod coffee machine and free soft-drinks in the minibar, replenished daily. An executive desk, fast Wi-Fi and universal sockets make a practical work space if you really must.
It's not only the guests who come to dine or enjoy a cocktail at The Singular. In fact, the hotel is renowned for not only having one of the best roof terraces in Santiago, with views of the city and San Cristobal Hill, but some of the best cuisine in the district. The menu is European-leaning, but draws on Chile's premium produce - from hand-cut tartare to oysters from Chiloe Island, Patagonian guanaco, or southern king crab in a golden empanada pastry. The well-versed staff are happy to recommend a local wine or find you the perfect cocktail.
There's a small gym and rooftop pool, as well as a spa with steam room, sauna and treatment and relaxation spaces.
The attention to detail and prescient staff.
Where: The Singular Santiago, Merced 294, Santiago, Chile
How much: From $US255 ($388) for a double and from $US725 for a suite
Explore more: thesingular.com
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The writer was a guest of The Singular Santiago.