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Spotlight on Santiago as Chile prepares to welcome first direct flight from the UK on 3rd January 2017

Santiago, Chile
As the capital city of the world’s longest country, Santiago is the only city in the world where you can go skiing in the morning and surfing in the afternoon and with an emerging culinary scene and over 50 wine routes surrounding the city, foodies won’t be left disappointed. Set to be one of the hottest destinations in 2017, as British Airways launches the first direct route from London in January, Chile’s capital certainly has plenty to offer visitors!

Here are just some of the reasons why Santiago should be on travellers’ wish lists…  

Food and wine
 Santiago is located in the country's central valley and offers a culinary melting pot of local food and international dishes made possible by a beautiful range of flavours available right on its doorstep. Santiaguinos know a thing or two about fine dining and the Bellavista, Lastarria and Italia districts lie at the heart of the city’s gastronomic offering. The culinary scene in the Chilean capital is truly having its moment with a new generation of chefs who have trained abroad and returned to transform classic recipes with a refined European technique. Furthermore, earlier this year, four Chilean restaurants were listed among ‘Latin America’s 50 best restaurants 2016’.

Boragó, Ambrosía, 99 Restaurant, Osaka were all honoured for their multi-cultural influences and unique take on traditional Chilean dishes. Chile is also home to some of the most highly acclaimed wine-producing valleys in the world including the Casablanca Valley, which ranks in the ‘Top Ten Wine Capitals of the World’ and is located between Santiago and the city of Valparaíso while the Colchagua Valley was dubbed the ‘Best winemaking region in the world’ by Wine Enthusiast magazine and is known for its robust Cabernet Sauvignon reds.  

Music & Dancing
Santiago has a varied live music scene with bohemian neighbourhoods and arty districts popping up all over this modern city. From the Latin-inspired Maestra Vida in central Barrio Bellavista, to the popular rock club Batuta in Plaza Ñuñoa where you can hear the latest local bands, to Club de Jazz where Louis Armstrong and Elvin Jones once topped the bill, the city has an eclectic music offering to suit different tastes.  

Events & Festivals
Chileans love to celebrate and Santiago plays host to a range of festivals and events throughout the year including:
  ·         Fiesta Patria, 18th September 2017
There is no better place than Santiago to experience El Dieciocho, Chile’s National Independence Day. Each year on 18th September the country bursts into celebration to commemorate independence from Spain in 1810 with live music, traditional food and the Chilean national dance, cueca. Visitors to the city should coincide their visit with this festival to get a real insight into Chilean culture and party like only Chileans know how!  

·         Echinuco, September 2017
Food lovers can head to one of the country’s top gastronomy events, Echinuco, which takes places each year at the Bicentennial Park in Santiago. The festival aims to promote Chilean cuisine and features restaurant owners and chefs from all over the country showcasing the finest ingredients and local produce the country has to offer. Echinuco offers a variety of foods, wines and other products for sale as well as classes from renowned chefs, live music and entertainment.  

·         Primavera Fauna, November 2017
Fast becoming one of Chile’s most popular music events, Primavera Fauna begun in 2011 and takes place around the pools at Espacio Broadway near Santiago. The festival has two main stages; the International Music Stage and the Latin Music Stage, and is mainly orientated towards indie-rock bands and DJs but also includes international artists and provides a platform for new Chilean musicians to showcase their music. Primavera Fauna Festival-goers can also escape the heat in the two large swimming pools on site, with a range of DJs providing tunes all day.  

Where to stay – new openings
Twelve new hotel projects are currently underway in the Chilean capital of Santiago, all scheduled for completion by 2021, here are just some of the new openings that have recently arrived or are upcoming in the city…  

Hilton Hotel Santiago Las Condes – set to open in Santiago in 2021
The new Hilton Hotel Santiago Las Condes is set to open in 2021 as part of the Parque Arauco Kenney Shopping Mall complex, offering the ideal base for travellers visiting the Chilean capital. Designed by Gensler Architecture, Benkel Larraín Architects, and Enrique Concha & Co interior design, it will offer 401 rooms, two restaurants, three bars, a spa with heated indoor swimming pool, 30th floor terrace with outdoor swimming pool and sky bar overlooking the city. The managing director development, Eduardo Rodriguez Suarez, affirms that Hilton are thrilled to bring the flagship to Chile and their focus now is to expand the brand throughout Latin America. www3.hilton.com  

Palacio Cousiño– reopening 2016
 Santiago is set to reopen the magnificent Palacio Cousiño after a seven-year closure due to the earthquake damage the property suffered in February 2010. The palace was the former home of the Cousiño-Goyenechea family, one of the richest families in Chile and owners of the Lota coal mine, the silver mine Chañarcillo and the Cousino-Macul vineyard. During the 19th century the Cousiño family lived in the palace for six decades, decorating it with luxury furniture and ornaments such as porcelains from Europe. The luxurious palace was then sold to the municipality of Santiago and turned into a unique venue for receiving esteemed authorities before becoming a national museum to preserve the architecture and interior of the palace in its original state. The mayor of Santiago, Carolina Toha, said the restoration has provided an opportunity to recover the original facade of this 140 year old palace and the work also uncovered an old wine cellar which was previously hidden.  

Hotel Magnolia – opened October 2016
 Following a two-year renovation of a 1929 mansion in Santiago's historic downtown, Hotel Magnolia opened to the public in early October 2016. The 42-room hotel is the first of its kind in the city's "El Centro" neighbourhood, offering luxe accommodation, a gourmet restaurant and a pitch-perfect location. The hotel lies at the foot of the Cerro Santa Lucia hilltop park in the heart of Santiago between the historic downtown and many of the city's star attractions; the Gothic-inspired Cerro Santa Lucia park whose peak affords panoramic urban and Andes views; and the Lastarria and Bellas Artes neighborhoods that beckon with superior dining and bars, art galleries and museums, independent clothing and design shops. Its Magnolia Restaurant and Terraza Magnolia, a 7th-floor rooftop bar and lounge, offer a splendid view of Santiago and the leafy slopes of Santa Lucia. Hotel Magnolia was originally built as a family home for Doña Ana Zegers García Huidobro, the daughter of the Chilean politician Julio Zegers Samaniego, by the then-famous architect Eduardo Costabal Zegers. The rack rate for a superior double is $220, and a junior suite $260.  

Radisson Blu Santiago La Dehesa – opened July 2016
Radisson Blu has opened its first resort and spa in Chile. The opening of the Radisson Blu Santiago La Dehesa follows Radisson Blu Sao Paulo and Radisson Blu Belo Horizonte, Savassi in Brazil, which opened earlier this year. The hotel recently completed an extensive renovation and enhanced service training to become Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s upscale brand, Radisson Blu. Renovations of the hotel included a redesigned lobby, updates to dining facilities and refreshed guestrooms. Combining elements of the Chilean culture with the style of the Radisson Blu brand, the hotel is situated near a variety of attractions and is 20 miles from Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport. www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-santiago-la-dehesa  

Luciano K – June 2016
A boutique hotel with 38 bedrooms, the Luciano K is a blend of period and art deco design located in the gastronomic Lastarria neighbourhood of Santiago. The building is a cultural jewel in the heart of the city, originally designed by architect Luciano Kulczewski in the 1920s. At the time, it was the tallest building in Chile, the first with a lift and central heating. The glamour and elegance of the 1920s is showcased in the architecture and design, accompanied by the highest levels of comfort and technology found at the best international hotels. The hotel features a roof top terrace of 300m², heated swimming pool and spectacular views over Parque Forestal and Alameda Avenue.  

Ladera – January 2016
Ladera is situated in the Pedro de Valdivia Norte neighbourhood of Chile’s capital city, Santiago, and is connected to the city via the Pedro de Valdivia Bridge. Ladera’s key USP is its spa and open air rooftop swimming pool which offers stunning 360degree views over the city, and the hotel also offers free bicycle hire for exploring the city. Ladera features 36 rooms each with either a mountain or garden view. The restaurant serves Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with fresh seasonal ingredients prepared using state-of-the-art techniques. Prices start from US$240 per room per night with breakfast.

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