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Frommer's Guide - Selected Reviews of Hotels in Chile & Argentina
Frommer's Argentina & Chile, 2nd Edition
Authors: Shane Christensen, Kristina Schreck, Michael Luongo
Pub Date: May 2003
A travel guide to the South American countries of Argentina and Chile. Offers reviews of the best dining and lodging, as well as exact pricing for those on a budget. Includes opinions on the local sites and out-of-the-way gems, and new takes on popular attractions.
Santiago de Chile, Chile

Hotel Plaza San Francisco

Frommer's Review

This elegant hotel with its clubby design offers smart service, impeccable rooms, and a central location. The decor is traditional and the interior lighting dark, with low, wood ceilings supported by pillars, richly colored fabric wallpaper, and Oriental rugs. Relax in the lobby to the sound of the tinkling indoor fountain, or enjoy the Bar Bristol's all-you-can-drink happy hour from 6 to 9pm. Guest rooms are spacious, with sparkling bathrooms and classic furniture. The hotel is conveniently located on busy Avenue Alameda, but you won't hear the din of traffic due to double-paned windows. The hotel has a wine shop and an indoor pool hidden downstairs in a windowless room. Apart from executives, plenty of travelers choose the Plaza when visiting Santiago, including the Dalai Lama, who has stayed here twice.© 2005, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Hotel Intercontinental

Frommer's Review
The Inter-Continental is one of the capital's newer five-star hotels. Despite its modernity, this luxurious tower hotel was built in one of the city's oldest districts, Monserrat, and decorated in the Argentine style of the 1930s. The marble lobby is colored in beige and apricot tones, with handsome furniture and antiques inlaid with agates and other stones. The lobby's Café de las Luces, in which you might catch a glimpse of an evening tango performance, resembles the colonial style of the famous Café Tortoni. The Restaurante y Bar Mediterráneo serves healthy, gourmet Mediterranean cuisine. Stop by the Brasco & Duane wine bar for an exclusive selection of Argentine vintages. Guest rooms continue the 1930s theme, with elegant black woodwork, comfortable king beds, marble-top nightstands, large desks, and black and white photographs of Buenos Aires. Marble bathrooms have separate showers and bathtubs and feature extensive amenities. © 2005, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Puerto Montt, Chile

Hotel Club El Presidente

Frommer's Review
This well-tailored hotel's classic, nautical-themed design appeals equally to executives and tourists, and handy kitchenettes give guests a little extra freedom. Located on the waterfront in a central location close to shops, the Presidente is on busy Portales Avenue, but double-paned windows keep noise to a minimum. All rooms have either queen- or king-size beds. The doubles are spacious, but the superiors are much larger and worth the extra $5; they also have ocean views. Most come with a small loveseat and a table and chairs. The rooms are decorated with creams and navy blue, striped curtains, and nubby bedspreads. A breakfast buffet is served daily in the comfortable restaurant/bar next to the lobby.
© 2005, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Don Luis Gran Hotel

Frommer's Review
The Don Luis is part of the Best Western chain, and offers pleasant, comfortable accommodations with traditional decor. For the price, you'd do better staying at the Club Presidente , but occasional discounts might make this hotel more attractive. The lobby has glass walls, shiny white floors, and English-style furniture. The hotel renovated its rooms and sparkling white bathrooms in 2000, but not the carpet, which could stand to be replaced. Corner rooms and those on the seventh and eighth floors have the best views. Junior suites have a terrace, and superiors come with a queen-size bed. Double-paned windows ensure tranquil evenings. The hotel often caters to executives and conventioneers.
© 2005, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Hotel O'Grimm

Frommer's Review
One of the city's most established hotels, the O'Grimm is run by a friendly English-speaking staff and is adjacent to the popular O'Grimm Pub. Rooms are of varying sizes and all come with sleek black and gray furniture and dark satin-like bedspreads. There's no view to mention, really, and the rooms are not as inviting as the price may suggest. Bathrooms are small and aging, but clean. The restaurant, pub, and bustling atmosphere downstairs is pleasant and there's live music several nights of the week.
© 2005, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Chiloe Island, Chile

Hotel Unicornio Azul

Frommer's Review
Many people say this is the best place to stay in Castro -- but we'll let you be the judge. It's a fun place to stay, but don't expect regal comfort. Certainly, the hotel has character; it's housed in a pretty Victorian on the waterfront, with funky interiors decorated with framed prints of unicorns. But the quality the Unicornio Azul seems to promise from the lobby falls short once you step into the rooms. The best rooms sit high above the main building facing out toward the water, and they come with tiny balconies and wooden floors. But they're unremarkable, and you have to hike up a long flight of stairs to get to them. Downstairs rooms are darker but newly carpeted, and a few come with bathtubs, unlike the rooms upstairs, which have showers only. The exterior is painted as pink as a Mary Kay Cadillac, and many of the wooden beams and floor-runner carpets are sugary shades of pink, too. The owners of this hotel also own Ancud's Hotel Galeón Azul.

Chaiten, Chile
Hotel Mi Casa

Frommer's Review
The Hotel Mi Casa is located on a hill just above town, offering a direct view of Volcan Michinmahuida and the colorful rooftops below, all taken in from a winding deck. The unadorned rooms are nothing to go wild about, but the warm, friendly service, decent restaurant, and extra amenities give it a slight edge above several of its competitors. Two rooms have a double bed and an extra twin for parents traveling with a child. Although many have thin carpet, the rooms are large enough and kept toasty warm. A winding path out back leads to a gym with weights and a Ping-Pong table and continues to a sauna and massage cabin. Several sitting areas in the hotel include a TV room with a VCR. A fun extra is the hotel's quincho, where they often host lamb, beef, and pork barbecues grilled the Chilean way on a spit over a roaring fire. Internet access is available for guests for a small fee.
© 2005, Wiley Publishing, Inc. 
Punta Arenas , Chile

Hotel Finis Terrae

Frommer's Review

This hotel is very popular with foreigners, especially Americans, and it's part of the Best Western chain. The well-lit accommodations here are exceptionally comfortable, with king beds in double rooms and a softly hued decor in peach and beige, with wood trim and wooden headboards. And although Richard Gere stayed here in November 2002 (he chose the spacious 5th floor suite with a whirlpool tub and minibar) on his way to Antarctica to film a documentary, the rooms are by no means luxurious. The singles here are tiny, so be sure to ask for a larger double for the single price, which they will likely agree to, especially during slower months. The simple yet panoramic penthouse restaurant has an enormous A-frame ceiling fronted with windows on both ends that look out over the city and the Strait of Magellan. There's an adjoining lounge where visitors can relax and order a drink. The view from these two salons is undoubtedly the best in Punta Arenas. © 2005, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Hotel José Nogueira

Frommer's Review

The best hotel in town is in this partially converted neoclassical mansion once owned by the widow of one of Punta Arenas's wealthiest entrepreneurs; half of the building is still run as a museum. The mansion was built between 1894 and 1905 on a prominent corner across from the plaza, with materials imported entirely from Europe. The José Nogueira is appealing for its historical value, but also offers classic luxury. The rooms here are not as large as you would expect, but high ceilings accented by floor-to-ceiling curtains compensate for that. All are tastefully decorated, either in rich burgundy and navy blue-striped wallpaper or rose and cream combinations, Oriental rugs, and lithographs of local fauna; the marble bathrooms are sparkling white. The Nogueira's singles are unusually spacious. The suites have ample bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs and a living area in the open bedroom. The maids here dress in old-fashioned long smocks. The brief lobby with two leather couches leads into the popular restaurant La Pérgola, which is housed under the Nogueira's glass-enclosed terrace that once served as a "winter garden." The parlor and conference center that are connected to the lobby can be used for special meetings, but they are typically toured as part of the museum. Downstairs is a popular pub in what once was the wine cellar. © 2005, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Hotel de la Plaza

Frommer's Review

The Hotel de la Plaza was built almost a hundred years ago as a home for men who worked for the sheep rancher José Menéndez. Its lobby feels like a hangout in a college dorm, but the antique rooms with high ceilings, crisp linens, and antique furnishings make up for it. The rooms are bright, with white walls and tall windows that look out onto the plaza or neighboring buildings; each room still has its original wood molding. The bathrooms are dark and tiny. The halls are adorned with historic black-and-white photos from the region, and the lobby displays posters celebrating climbing achievements by mountaineers who have stayed here in the past. The receptionists don't speak much English and aren't too helpful, either. © 2005, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Puerto Natales, Chile

Hotel Costa Australis

Frommer's Review

This hard-to-miss, sunflower-yellow hotel on the coast offers the highest caliber lodging in Puerto Natales. Floor-to-ceiling windows face out onto the sound, which means that whether you're in the bar, the restaurant, or the lounge, you always have sweeping views and a splendid evening sunset. The CostAustralis is the town's largest hotel, but it retains a certain coziness with its grasscloth wallpaper offset by wooden trim and ceilings, stiff potted palms, and soft light. Unfortunately, the coziness translates to also being able to hear your neighbor's plumbing upstairs, so try to request a top-floor room. The Dickson Bar is a great place to unwind with one of its well-prepared pisco sours. Spacious doubles come with a sea view or a truly depressing view of the buildings in the back; all feature glossy wood paneling and attractive furnishings. The price is fairly high, even by U.S. standards, and therefore might not be appealing to anyone who plans to arrive late and leave early. The hotel has two restaurants, one for breakfast, and a semiformal dining area for dinner and is popular with European tour groups. © 2005, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Hotel Glaciares

Frommer's Review

The Hotel Glaciares's best deal going is the fleet of transfer vehicles they use to shuttle guests in and out of the park for day trips or to locations as far away as Ushuaia. Guests here are usually satisfied with their accommodations; we think it's a little overpriced. The rooms are modest, but comfortable. The four newest rooms, added in 2002, are done in loud pink and red colors and have in-room safes. Upstairs there's a bright lounge area, but the grenadine-colored carpet will make your teeth hurt. Service is adequate. © 2005, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

Hotel Edelweiss

Frommer's Review

This hotel offers reliable service and huge double bedrooms, and is a solid choice in downtown Bariloche in this price category (but don't expect much luxury). Double superiors come with two full-size beds, bay windows, and lake views, as do the suites. The double standards are smaller, with a single full-size bed or two twins and a view of a building in the back, but they are just as comfortable and $10 cheaper. All rooms and bathrooms have recently been updated. The design is pleasant but very run-of-the-mill for a hotel that deems itself a five-star. The suites deserve mention for their gargantuan size, with separate living areas and small bars; suite bathrooms have hydromassage tubs. There is an aging penthouse pool with glass walls affording views of Lake Nahuel Huapi. The lounge area has polished floors, leather couches, and fresh flowers; there's also a computer with Internet access available for a nominal fee. The hotel offers several attractive packages and promotional rates, so be sure to ask when making your reservations. © 2005, Wiley Publishing, Inc.

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