British Airways Launch Direct Flight from London to Santiago
Flying from London to Santiago was once a headache, but the arrival of a new direct flight with British Airways looks set to change all of that. The new route now flies from Heathrow to the Chilean capital four times a week in just under 15 hours – still a long old haul but on their new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, it’s a journey made in relative comfort. Those now considering Santiago for their next holiday should go ahead; the rewards of visiting this leafy city, tucked neatly between the Andes and the ocean, are huge. Here are my top five reasons to love it.
This colourful neighbourhood, the city’s answer to Brooklyn, works its charm with vintage furniture shops, pavement cafes and excellent restaurants serving local food and wine. Venture down one of the numerous alleyways leading off the main drag and you’ll be rewarded with yet more tiny boutiques, plus shaded courtyards where creative types gather to drink coffee. I stumbled on Casaluz for lunch and cannot recommend it highly enough, especially the glorious leafy terrace at the back. Get the octopus empanadas and settle in for an afternoon of people-watching.
The luxurious Ritz-Carlton hotel in Santiago’s swanky El Golf district, is ideal for business travellers, with its sleek Club lounge (which benefitted from makeover last year), wood-panelled bar, where the signature Pisco Sours are a-flowing, and Chilean farm-to-table restaurant Estro for working lunches. Prepare for yet more luxury next year when the hotel unveils their upgraded guest rooms. Elsewhere, in the cultural hub of Lastarria, the Singular Hotel opened its doors a couple of years back, instantly boosting the city’s hip hotel credentials with its buzzy rooftop pool and bar and sleek interiors. The property, which is the sister of the Singular Patagonia, offers a destination restaurant too, with local specialities dreamt up by award-winning chef Laurent Pasqualetto.
The Singular Hotel, Santiago
Experiential travel is on the up, with more and more people opting for adventure on their holidays. Chile offers a world of choice for this type of travel over its 2,650 mile length with 36 national parks, and every type of landscape from deserts to mountains and beyond. Further south, Antarctica is emerging as a destination too, with many opting to see the icy continent from the comfort of a luxury yacht, accompanied by expedition leaders such as Eyos Expeditions. Bolting on an extra night or two in sunny Santiago is a no-brainer for those heading onto the White Continent.
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Some of the best wines in the world are Chilean, so a trip to the capital inevitably holds boozy rewards. At the Loma Larga vineyard in Casablanca Valley, guests can take a helicopter flight to savour views from above, or saddle up and ride through the estate on horseback. Most importantly, they can taste their way through the vineyard’s many wines, which include the high-scoring Lomas del Valle Pinot Noir 2014.
Come to Santiago with an appetite, the city’s foodie offerings are constantly evolving. Kick things off by exploring the city’s biggest food market – the Mercado Central where you’ll find some of the best seafood in town, some of which (including a sumptuous fish stew) can be sampled on site in the market’s restaurants, often serenaded by musicians. By night, head to Restaurante 040 whereex El Bulli chef Sergio Barroso serves up some of the best tapas in town. And don’t forget an after dinner drink (the local Pisco Sours are a must) at Room 09, a secret rooftop bar open to diners.
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