the aubrey santiago suite
the aubrey santiago bedroom and window
Ritz Carlton Santiago exterior
Ritz Carlton Santiago indoor pool
South America is a proper adventure for families, one of new food, culture and history, but there are luxury family hotels, too. Chile is one of the safest countries in South America and has an incredible range of sights, from the dry, space-like landscapes of the northern Atacama Desert, to the central vineyards and southern lakes, volcanoes and glaciers. The Chilean capital is an unexpected wonder; surrounded by the awe-inspiring Andes Mountains, Santiago is made up of different “barrios,” ranging from the modern and chic, to the arty, cobbled and crumbling. Full of history, museums, parks, cafes, wine bars and restaurants, you’re spoilt for choice.
Ritz Carlton Santiago
The Ritz-Carlton is smart, old school Santiago institution, the ideal spot for exploring Barrios Las Condes and Providencia by foot.
Butlers, doormen, and bellmen greet you at the Ritz Carlton Santiago the second you enter its impressive, high-ceilinged, wooden-paneled entrance hall. With 205 rooms, this is a large hotel and it has the buzz to match. Guests come and go, locals and tourists come to dine at the four hotel restaurants (Estro is...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Noi Vitacura is a delight with four hotels, an outdoor pool with views across the city and a fabulous spa.
This Chilean-owned hotel, Noi Vitacura, has a great location in the well-to-do residential neighbourhood of Vitacura. There are 87 rooms, four restaurants, a roof terrace with an outdoor pool and stunning views, plus a spa and gym. The leafy roads around the hotel are filled with haute-cuisine restaurants and designer...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
The Aubrey Santiago
What better spot for a family hotel than right below the city zoo? The Aubrey will delight guests of all ages.
Located in Barrio Bellavista, the are surrounding The Aubrey Santiago is full of colourful houses and sweet smelling restaurants. One of the neighbouring houses is a popular tourist spot, the former home of Chile’s famous poet, Pablo Neruda. With just 15-bedrooms, this boutique hotel is made up from two 1920’s...Baby-friendly / Family-friendly Spa / Pre-Teen friendly / See this Hotel & Book »
Confiteria Torres, Santiago
Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins (La Alameda) 1570, Santiago Centro
Confiteria Torres is Chile’s oldest café (it was founded back in 1879,) and is worth visiting for the waiters as much as the food – one waiter has been here for over 50 years, having served Chilean presidents and celebrities through the decades. Harlequin tiles line the floor, and diners sit in red leather booths eating sandwiches named after presidents: there’s the Barros Luco (president from 1910-1915) with beef and melted cheese; or the Piñera filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese and rocket. Kids will love the oh-so-sweet puddings, such as Huevo Chimbo pegged as “the most famous traditional Chilean pudding” and made from egg whites, butter, cinnamon, cloves and almonds.
Concha y Toro 34, Santiago Centro
This medieval-style mansion dates back to 1912, but looks more like a Shakespearian stage set. A fairly pricey eatery, Zully is the only gourmet restaurant in Barrio Concha y Toro, and perhaps one for a night away from the wee ones or lunch together as a family– note that most Chileans don’t take their children out to dinner, and bed time is somewhat earlier than that of their Spanish cousins. However, one of the things that sets Zully apart is its “private dining” set up. Originally a family house, this restaurant has five different dining rooms, so there’s nothing stopping you from hiring a dining room for the family. With original parquet floors, wooden shutters and its very own internal courtyard, Zully will feed the imagination of the young and old. And the food? Chilean chef Ronald Colhuinca makes a delicious tartar trio with locos (a Chilean seafood specialty, similar to abalones,) ceviche and tuna.
La Jardin, Santiago
Bilbao 497, Barrio Italia
Imagine crossing a garden shed with a Wendy House. That’s pretty much the sum of Barrio Italia’s most quirky restaurant, La Jardín, so no need to ask why the kids will love it. The large outdoor yard is filled with quirky bits and bobs such as old shirts strung up to make a canopy; mattresses and tables of all shapes and sizes fill the area. Inside, it’s a similar scene: the eclectic rules and the various rooms are ever-evolving, depending what the owners have recently found. As for the food, Chilean chef José Ignacio Puentes is the man in charge of the kitchen and the dishes are hearty adaptations on typical Chilean dishes – don’t miss the Pan de Campo, a loaf of bread filled with cheese fondue.
Shopping in Santiago
Older children will love the boutique shops and craft stalls in Barrio Italia and Lastarria; everyone loves a trip to the fish market, Mercado Central.
MIM Museum and The Natural History Museum
As for museums and galleries, the interactive MIM Museum is a hit with youngsters, as is the Natural History Museum, which is the best way to get a quick grasp of Chilean history.
For family fun in the elements, explore the sprawling Metropolitan Park, or hire bicycles from La Bicicletta Verde and cycle up the river. Family-loving tour operator, Santiago Adventures has some great trips including a family cookery lesson where you learn how to cook Chilean classics like empanadas and thousand-layer cake.
Eat on the hop
For quick bites on the hop, Emporio La Rosa in Providencia has great ice cream, and Domino’s is a chain dotted all over Santiago which delivers the goods when it comes to hot dogs.
Dial 131 for emergencies. The majority of doctors speak English, and the best treatment (if you have health insurance) is found at Santiago’s private hospitals, Clinica Las Condes (+56 2 210 4000) and Clinica Alemana de Santiago (+56 2 753 1000) both of which have excellent A&E departments and pediatric doctors.
When to go
Sitting the Southern Hemisphere, the months of December to March fall under the umbrella (or parasol) of summer in Santiago. But with average temperatures of 29 degrees centigrade, you may prefer to aim for half-term dates in Spring (March / April) or Autumn (September / October). To paint with a broad brush, most tour operators recommend visiting between October and April, but if you’re up for a family ski holiday then Chile has multiple resorts (including South America’s biggest ski resort, Valle Nevado) and the season runs from July to early September (depending on snowfall). As for Santiago, it is best during the warm months when tables spill out from restaurants, the evenings are long and most importantly, you’re missing Winter in the Northern Hemisphere!