A little while ago we moved into our new home here in Santiago and just about everything that could go wrong did. So I checked into the most family friendly hotel I could find.
Word on the expatriate parent block is that the five star Hotel Boulevard Suites is the most family friendly hotel you’ll find in Santiago. Here’s why:
- Staff are superbly professional and extremely caring. I was rather sick and staff really went the extra mile to help. I was welcomed with a speedy check in (all documents had been prepared in advance; I just needed to sign a form). Every morning staff asked how I was and if I needed anything. They greeted my kids and gave them sweets (after checking with me first). They rearranged furniture to make it more kid friendly. The cot was ready for my youngest (despite always telling hotels in advance it’s amazing how many forget and then get housekeeping to come running at an ungodly hour well past my kids’ bed time).
- The views are fantastic. The suites are located on the upper stories of a skyscraper and enjoy some fabulous views of the city.
- Breakfast in bed. I love a huge breakfast buffet. At least I did until I had kids. Nowadays I just want to get food down my kids’ throats before they run riot over the pancake counter. And I hate having to beckon to the waiter for a clean spoon every five seconds. Having breakfast delivered to the room at no extra cost was a big plus. Alas they didn’t full understand my kids’ dairy allergy, but it was sweet that the chef came personally and explained that he’d gone and bought lactose free yoghurts. After seeing my kid wolf down the ham, he brought extra portions the next day. I’m 90% vegan, so I relied more on the fruit than the eggs and pastries, and the food options were not all exactly to my taste, but hey, my kids bellies were full without any tantrums so I’ll take a peaceful breakfast over coconut chia breakfast pots any day. Oh and the freshly squeezed juices were really, really good.
- It’s good value. Book a suite in a similar standard hotel and you’ll pay double or triple the price. We paid around $200 per night on a very last minute basis (I clicked ‘confirm booking’ en route in the taxi). I was too sick to search for a better value offer but I reckon you’d be hard pressed to find one. I booked through the best deal on Google, but I’ve since learned that it’s best to call the hotel directly as they might be able to offer a better rate or a complimentary upgrade, subject to availability.
- Suites are huge. With two (exceptionally active) preschoolers in tow, there are very few hotel rooms which are big enough for us nowadays. Even the smallest suites are a decent 70m2 but we plumped for an 80m2 Premium. Master Suites sleep up to nine and are 150m2. It’s a big plus to have a separate living room, meaning that when the kids (finally) get to sleep, you don’t have to creep around and can instead enjoy a little parental downtime.
- Room facilities are good. All suites come with an independent kitchen, which was very handy for preparing milk and snacks. While there are some basic utensils, the kitchen is not so well equipped to muster up elaborate dishes, but it’s really useful for those times that your kids decide they are hungry at the most annoying times (like just after eating). Bath robes, decent toiletries, coffee capsules and some tea do the job. There were huge bottles of mineral water in the fridge meaning I didn’t have to give my kids fizzy water which I often do when staying at hotels (room service is too slow for my kids’ patience).
- Hotel facilities are great. I was really rather ill when I stayed so I didn’t feel up to taking my kids for a dip in the pool, but by all accounts the pools are great. There’s a heated indoor pool and a separate outdoor pool, as well as a spa and gym. Facilities are shared with the adjacent Marriott hotel, so you do have to walk a little further via reception. Hotel Boulevard Suites is more luxurious than your average apartment hotel, but it offers much more space than other premium hotels in town. There’s free parking too.
- Dining in and out. The nearby Parque Arauco mall offers many of the family friendly chain restaurants, such as Vapiano, Pain Quotidien etc. A short taxi ride will take you to more chic yet still family friendly places such as those in El Manio street in Vitacura district (there’s a taxi rank right outside the hotel). Or if you’re feeling lazy then next door’s Marriott serves sushi in its bar, and also houses a grill restaurant and a more laid back Mediterranean style cafe. While it says on the website that Cafe Med is only open for breakfast and lunch, we had dinner there and it was really rather good for hotel fare (and best of all, service was very, very quick). My child has a dairy allergy and thank goodness they took it seriously. The Boulevard Suites also offers 24/7 room service.
- Location. The hotel is smack in the centre of Las Condes, but because it’s high up you avoid all the traffic noise. To keep the kids entertained the nearby Araucano park offers some great play areas, as well as kids’ entertainment such as a dinosaur themed exhibition and Kidzania (one of a chain of mini cities for kids where they try out different jobs from a fireman, to policeman, to a sushi chef, from a doctor to a vet…). In the unlikely event you get some kid free time to go shopping, there’s a large shopping mall next door, the Parque Arauco which is home to the main department stores in town (Falabella and Ripley). Premium stores include Bimba y Lola, Armani Exchange, Aldofo Dominguez, Purificacion Garcia and all the really good stuff is located in the luxury department to one side of the upper floor (Louis Vuitton, Gucci…) You can also borrow strollers for free from information points (they’re new and clean by the way), there are breastfeeding rooms and toilets just for kids too. Otherwise a short taxi ride will take you to the smaller and slightly more luxurious Casa Costanera on Calle General O’Brien in Vitacura district with brands such as Carolina Herrera and Max Mara, as well as more high street options such as H&M and Zara Home.
- It’s dog friendly. Alas we no longer have a dog but when we did I remember trawling the internet for hours trying to find decent pet friendly hotels. While the area is quite built up, and there’s not much in the immediate vicinity in terms of green spaces, a ten minute walk will take you to the Araucano Park which is great for keeping dogs (and children) amused.
I can’t remember much about my stay as I really wasn’t well. But I ate well at the hotel restaurant. I slept even better (beds are huge and mattresses really good even for a Princess and the Pea like me). The kids had a LOT of fun.
The week previous to my stay at the hotel was truly horrendous and I hope never to experience something like it again. But my three nights at Santiago Boulevard Suites were very, very good and I’d thoroughly recommend the hotel to fellow parents.
As for me, this one really fantastic hotel which I hope I will never have to go back to.
Hotel Boulevard Suites. Avenida Presidente Kennedy 5749, Santiago, Chile (+56) 2 2421 5000 www.boulevardsuites.cl