SANTIAGO, CHILE, SAW POLITICAL UNREST in late 2019, with millions taking to the streets to protest for fairer living conditions, sparked by the government’s announcement of a subway fare price increase and imbalance caused by the country’s market-driven economy. President Sebastian Pinera called for a national peace agreement, requesting more than $2 billion from Chile’s Economic and Social Stabilization Fund over the course of 2019 and 2020 to help end the conflict and repair divisions.
Despite this recent turmoil, the city remains open for business. Visitors to Santiago primarily arrive at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, the largest airport in Chile. Located about 10 miles from downtown Santiago, the airport is a hub for LATAM Airlines. Travelers can take advantage of LATAM’s lounge, the largest in South America, with amenities including sleeping cabins, a business center and an entertainment area.
Several transportation options make for convenient navigation of the city. The Santiago Metro provides a safe, clean, efficient and inexpensive mode of transportation. The network comprises five interconnected lines bringing travelers throughout the city. If you plan to utilize the system often during your stay, purchase a reloadable Bip! card. Santiago’s bus system, Transantiago, features different color-coded and lettered zones. The bus system is more complex than the subway, so be sure to plan your trip so you use the correct route. Taxis are available, though be wary, as the drivers often scam tourists. Uber also operates in Santiago.
The city’s business and financial center, Las Condes, houses event spaces and several luxury hotels with MICE offerings.
W Santiago features 26,350 square feet of meeting space. The 11 event spaces can accommodate between 18 and 1,110 guests. Customize your meeting offerings by taking advantage of W Hotels’ Recess program, which includes options from icebreakers to yoga sessions. When planning an event, the property can provide a complimentary unique reservation link to share with your guests for an easy reservation process.
Santiago Marriott Hotel boasts 11,754 square feet of total meeting and event space including six event rooms. Natural lighting throughout the facilities offers a pleasant change from stuffy boardrooms of the past. As an additional option for conducting business, the property offers a business guestroom with a separate office space attached in which to work or host meetings. Many rooms feature stunning views of the nearby Andes Mountains. The property is home to Café Med and Latin Grill, two popular dining options serving the flavors of South America.
Parque Araucano, a park and shopping complex within walking distance of the hotel, features Centro Parque, an event space boasting more than 37,000 square feet of indoor meeting and event space, with additional outdoor spaces within the park. The versatile venues accommodate anything from small boardroom meetings to auditorium-style presentations, all with state-of-the-art audiovisual options.
The Santiago Business and Conference Center, located in Parque Titanium, is easily accessible via multiple modes of transportation, including vehicle access with parking spaces. Bicycles, a popular mode of transportation in the city, are accommodated, and this venue also lies within walking distance of two Metro stops, El Golf and Tobalaba. With more than 39,000 square feet of meeting and event space spanning three levels, the center proves ideal for large-scale events and conventions. The SBCC employs an in-house caterer with several dedicated gastronomy spaces within it. Its location in the park allows beautiful views from the building. Five hotels stand within an eight-minute walk of the convention center, including InterContinental Santiago.
The recently renovated property includes 27,157 square feet of meeting and event space, with 16 meeting rooms available. A part of InterContinental Meetings, the property offers its InterContinental Insider Collection for memorable meetings. These experiences rooted in the destination include everything from off-site team-building activities to local speakers.
With its traditional and destination-focused offerings, Santiago delivers for MICE planners and groups.
Las Majadas de Pirque is a unique hotel and meeting venue housed in a palatial building outside of the city center. A former palace from the early 1900s, the property is designed for corporate stays. It offers five room options configured to accommodate different types of meetings or events. All spaces feature audiovisual systems and WiFi. Choose from a variety of catering options and activities, from horseback riding to live music. Las Majadas provides transportation from a single location in Santiago for your team.
Take a short drive outside of Santiago to the Casablanca Valley to experience some of Chile’s best wineries. Viñamar Winery offers three different tasting options and guided tours held Tuesdays–Sundays. Its spectacular restaurant, Restaurant Macerado, serves traditional Chilean cuisine. Choose from à la carte options or three tasting menus. Viña Indómita, right next to Viñamar, conducts daily bilingual tours, with options to host private tours. Consider booking a horseback riding tour among the vineyards. The winery also boasts an on-site restaurant helmed by award-winning Chilean chef Tomás Olivera. Both wineries are located between Santiago and Valparaíso.
Once you’ve boarded Regent’s Seven Seas Grandeur, it is immediately apparent this recently launched cruise ship delivers what the name promises. Jewel box opulence dominates in most of the public areas, while quiet luxury teamed with clever function defines the cabins (save for the individually decorated top-tier suites). The ship, designed by internationally acclaimed Studio DADO and constructed by Ancona, Italy, ship builder Fincantieri, holds up to 746 guests and is serviced by a staff of 548 for optimal passenger-to-staff service.
The St. Regis San Francisco recently debuted a Lunar New Year-themed The Art of Tea to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. Available for only a few more days, through Feb. 25, the afternoon menu boasts Asian-inspired sweet and savory items, a selection of tea and a complimentary welcome toast with Champgane Lallier R.018.
After a stressful pre-holiday season and a busy work schedule, there was no better time for a relaxing spa experience than during my recent trip to Pasadena with the FXExpress Publications, Inc. team. We headed to The Langham Huntington, Pasadena for the 20th anniversary of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards, which meant a jam-packed trip, but I managed to carve a little time out of our busy schedule to visit Chuan Spa at the hotel.
Embracing a life well lived often means embracing a life well-traveled. Every journey becomes a canvas for experiences that shape our lives and at the heart of every adventure lies the indispensable companion: quality luggage.
One affordable plan can protect an entire year of trips: business or pleasure, short or long, domestic or international.
In time for peak travel season to Italy’s picturesque Amalfi Coast, the region will welcome its own airport as early as this July. Salerno Costa d’Amalfi Airport is not only undergoing renovations but it also plans to open as a commercial airport.