South America is increasingly high on Australian’s travel list, and not only for its beautiful natural sights and culture. The continent’s wealth of natural products and small industries is also attractive to Australian investors and entrepreneurs, making Chile’s cosmopolitan capital a hub for doing business. If you’re in town to talk to local wine growers, farmers or fishmongers, or sourcing textiles for a new venture, Santiago is bound to make you feel welcome, with its vibrant city streets and social culture.
Where to Eat
In the very heart of Santiago’s historic centre, Bocanariz is one of the best places to begin your education in Chilean food and wine. The interiors are paired back, with bare brick walls and heavy timber tables, simple and stylish for focusing on the real reason you’re there. With a certified wine specialist, and recognised as having one of the best wine lists in the world for the third year running by Wine Spectator, the menu showcases the different regions and types of wine that Chilean vineyards produce, along with excellent local cuisine.
For a more convivial experience, head to the Mercado Central, Santiago’s wrought-iron fish market. The aisles are lined with market stalls selling everything from fresh fruit and veg to seafood, alongside tiny restaurants where you can enjoy a sit down meal of some of the freshest seafood around. Not quite a business lunch kind of place, but worth a visit nonetheless.
When you need a classy, simple coffee shop to host a meeting in, Colmado, at Merced 346 in Barrio Lastarria is perfect. Tucked away in a quiet courtyard, you’ll find excellent coffee and a delicious food menu, with a host of items suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Where to Stay
Most boutique hotels you’ll find in Santiago are exactly that: boutique. With between five and 10 rooms each, these hotels offer a more personal service, allowing international guests a better taste of the local culture, language and people – useful if you’re in town to conduct business, especially since relationships are very important to Chileans.
The central business district is also the historical centre of Santiago, however the Providencia barrio, right near the city centre is a second central business district, where several television networks, embassies and businesses are based. Carmenere Hotel, located in the Providencia district is a beautiful rustic hotel with all of the modern comforts in its five questrooms. Designed with a focus on environmentally friendly practices, the hotel has an all-organic coffee bar and wine cellar, as well as included buffet breakfast.
The Singular Santiago Hotel is a more classic hotel option, a modern hotel housed in a 20th century and French Neoclassical building. Sophisticated amenities include a full service spa, a restaurant and bar, a gym and conference centre. Both hotels offer airport shuttle services, too.
Where to Play
Santiago is an impressive city, and to truly appreciate its natural landscape, head to the Cerro San Cristobal, Santiago’s largest green space. Perched on the hills overlooking the city, 722 hectares of park provide numerous landscaped areas, the zoo public swimming pools and is accessible via a funicular railway. The observation deck atop the Sky Costanera building – the tallest in Latin America – also provides 360-degree views of the city and surrounding mountains.
To get a dose of art and culture, try to catch a show at NAVE, an experimental cultural centre in Barrio Yungay. Inside a 20th century mansion, you can see performances by resident dancers, artists, musicians and actors. For art exhibitions, step inside the Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, the national library, an impressive architectural building, which hosts frequent gallery exhibitions.