The bohemian coastal port of Valparaiso, Chile’s charming cultural capital, offers a wonderfully walkable maze-like mishmash of winding walkways spread out across dozens of hills, all interconnected by century-old funiculars.
In the throes of a tourism renaissance, once-rundown structures — from ramshackle clapboard homes to long-forgotten manses — are rapidly being reinvented. Now, they’re soulful boutique hotels, stylish bases for sampling this colorful UNESCO World Heritage-designated city’s thriving culinary and arts scenes (the city has inspired generations of creative types, including Nobel laureate poet Pablo Neruda), and hedonistic late-night bars. Here are two of my recently vetted picks from among the city’s most buzz-worthy new boutique hotels.
Palacio Astoreca Hotel
Leading the pack in hotel headline makers is the posh Palacio Astoreca Hotel. The newest offering in Valparaiso, it opened in September, filling a void in the city’s lackluster luxe hotel offerings. The upscale property’s 23 plushly appointed rooms and notable art collection (featuring Chilean and foreign contemporary artists) fill out one of Valparaiso's most iconic national monuments, the meticulously renovated Astoreca Palace.
The 1920s-era Victorian mansion, complete with original parquet floors and restored ornamental woodwork, is located in the fashionable Cerro Alegre district, overlooking the bay. Beyond the guestrooms — with their antiques, Andean handicrafts, European wallpaper and fantastic city views — Astoreca touts a smart spa (with a heavenly wood-fired hot tub and heated indoor pool), a piano bar lounge and the standout eatery Alegre. The restaurant, helmed by Spanish chef Sergio Barroso, sources local seafood and produce paired with top South American wines from a choose-your-own-varietal wine cave downstairs (rates from $230/night, with breakfast and Wi-Fi; hotelpalacioastoreca.com).
Another buzzing boutique in the chic Cerro Alegre area, the design-driven Fauna Hotel, marks its two-year anniversary this June with the addition of nine new guestrooms to its intimate six-room property, as well as an expansion of its restaurant terrace, which touts va-va-voom Valparaiso views. The minimalist-minded property highlights materials sourced from demolished homes around the city, for an art-meets-architecture design scheme. Each room offers individual takes on contemporary décor and notably comfortable beds, though it’s missing some mod conveniences like air conditioning, TVs and safes.
Grab a bite or linger over a glass of wine at the attractive, well-priced restaurant and lounge, served with a side of sweeping Valparaiso panoramas — all topped off with the seamless services of a friendly English-speaking staff. Rates start from $150/night, though an upgrade to a more airy room with a view is well worth $30/night more. Breakfast and Wi-Fi is included; faunahotel.cl.
- Travel & Tourism
- Travel Accommodations
- boutique hotels