In Valparaiso, Chile, on the Pacific coast 90 minute’s drive west of Santiago, thirty hills climb up from the sea. Along the steep streets and narrow passageways that traverse the city’s slopes, vibrantly colored murals decorate many of the stone walls and buildings, and houses are painted pastel blues, yellows, and pinks.
Perched partway up one of these hills is Palacio Astoreca, a 23-room boutique inn in a 1920s Victorian manor. Opened in 2012, it’s now one of Valparaiso’s top spots to stay. Here’s the scoop:
Facilities and Services
Like any proper Victorian home, Palacio Astoreca has several public spaces where guests can relax. Besides the spacious lobby, there’s a cozy Art Deco-style library, equipped with a computer for guest use, as well as a chess table and plenty of colorful velvet chairs. Off the lobby in one direction is a large terrace; an opposite hallway leads to the bar.
On the lower level, a buffet breakfast (included in the room rates) is served in the breakfast room overlooking the garden. It’s an ample spread with fresh fruit, yogurt, cereals, breads, smoked salmon, cold cuts, and an assortment of cookies and pastries. The coffee is strong and dark; the milk is steamed.
Also on the lower level is a small indoor swimming pool and a spa, which offers massages and other services.
The helpful hotel staffers speak English and can assist with directions, luggage storage, and transportation.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
The Art Deco style of the public areas carries through to the guest rooms, which have multi-hued velvet-upholstered furnishings, bright accent wallpapers, and polished wood floors.
All rooms have complimentary wi-fi that works throughout the building, flat-screen TVs, laptop-sized safes, minibars, bathrobes, and slippers.
The bathrooms are traditional in style but include updated fixtures. In my room, for example, the modern sink was set on a distressed wooden table.
The inn has five different room categories, varying in size and views. Many of the units, including suite #6 where I stayed, have views across the city, and some have private balconies or terraces.
The small standard rooms on the first floor, measuring 215 to 270 square feet (20 to 25 square meters), lack the views of the upper-floor units, but the similarly sized premium rooms take advantage of the city vistas.
The suites give you more space (between 325 and 430 square feet, or 30-40 square meters), and the best not only look out over the city, but also have views across to the bay.
Palacio Astoreca is across the street from the Museo de Bellas Artes de Valparaiso, which located in the stately Palacio Baburizza and exhibits Chilean and European art. Another Valparaiso attraction that’s definitely worth a visit is La Sebastiana, an eclectically designed and furnished home that belonged to the noted Chilean poet Pablo Neruda; the English-language audio guide, included with the admission price, recounts colorful anecdotes about Neruda’s life.
And as you walk the streets near the hotel, or almost anywhere in Valparaiso, you can’t help but notice the vibrant murals and street art — one more colorful reason to visit this colorful Chilean city.
Double room rates at Palacio Astoreca range from US$235-460 per night, including wi-fi, breakfast, and parking. Make your reservations online directly with the hotel or do it through a booking site such as Travelocity.
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Photos © Carolyn B. Heller. Palacio Astoreca, in conjunction with Turismo Chile, hosted my stay for review purposes.