We’ve been here four months but up until last weekend we still hadn’t left Santiago.

I’m pregnant and have had my fair share of baby bump issues and I was too scared to travel very far. Besides, we also have two preschoolers and long road trips with the kids are never fun.

So we booked a last minute weekend away to a nearby family friendly resort which a friend recommended to me.

San Francisco Lodge & Spa is just 90 minutes from Santiago and yet it feels light years away. It’s hidden beyond windy roads, deep within the Andes mountains, far away from city life.

family resort in the Andes mountains

It’s a truly fabulous place for kids. It’s a place for reconnecting with nature. For slowing down. For enjoying the moment.

Mummy, I’m so happy!’ yelled my four year old.

family friendly resort 90 minutes from Santiago

We harvested our own vegetables…

pick your own vegetables

vegetable picking at San Francisco Lodge and Spa

Visited the farm (where, confusingly, we came across one of Santa’s baby reindeer)…

The farm at San Francisco Lodge and Spa

And my four year old decided he no longer wanted to be a policeman, but a cowboy.

horse riding for kids in the Andes, Chile

In fact some children enjoyed the pony trek so much that they didn’t want to leave.

My expat kids love horse riding!

We rode by tractor too and fed the ducks along the way…

tractor rides in the Andes

And by nightfall roasted marshmallows by the fire.

campfires and toasting marshmallows

I have a bit of an issue with slowing down and if I had a peso for every time I begged my kids to ‘puleeeease hurry up!’ I’d be one rich lady. It’s tempting to rush from one activity to another, as there’s so much on offer, but that’d be missing the point of San Francisco Lodge.

My kids loved the little play park and spent many happy hours there.

play park at San Francisco Lodge and Spa

trampoline at San Francisco Lodge and Spa

We also enjoyed (very) slow strolls in the nature.

treks and walks at San Francisco Lodge & Spa

And best of all, the kids were so worn out from the fresh air, that Mummy and Papa got (a little) time to relax.

how to tire your child out so you can sleep

The luxury of family time

I’ll be honest – this is no luxury hideaway. If gold taps and private butlers are your thing, then this ain’t your bag. But if you love your kids more than your Italian marble, then I’d thoroughly recommend a trip here.

I gave the spa a miss, not (just) because I’m a spa snob, but because this is a place for family time, not state of the art facials.

There are two pools – one outdoor and another series of smaller indoor pools. When the sun goes down it gets rather chilly and warming up in the indoor tropical temperature pools was a great plan. But again, don’t misunderstand me, like most guests I spent less time lounging around in a designer bikini than playing sharks and dolphins.

Rooms with a view

As for the rooms, there are two types of accommodation – rooms within larger houses as well as private individual lodges. Either way, the views are spectacular.

View from our room at San Francisco Lodge and Spa

View from a private lodge at San Francisco Lodge and Spa

All about the feast for the eyes

Included in your reservation is all inclusive buffet style dining which works well for kids on the whole. Same place table reservations avoid the scuffle of trying to bag a place before your kid eats your own arm.

But this a lodge in the wild, not a Michelin star restaurant and you might as well leave your Instagram closed at meal times. If you’re vegan, if you suffer from an allergy or if you’re a fussy eater, then you may struggle. But come on, you’re not here for the food…

beautiful weather in the Andes mountains

Beautiful scenery, endless activities for children and super friendly staff is what this place is all about. (Shout out to the waiter who conjured up strawberry jelly whenever the kids (or consequently I) had a meltdown.

We’ll definitely be back. I’m already using it as bait for the kids. This morning, already late for nursery I found myself shouting, ‘Boys! If you could puleeeeease hurry up, then I promise that we’ll go back to San Francisco Lodge’. 

 

Need to know: 

The damage – a one night stay costs $286.000 based on two adults sharing. Children (under 12) are charged at $68.000. Additional adults are charged at $99.500.  Children under three years of age stay for free. We paid $486,800 for two nights which included a 15% early bird discount (although we booked very last minute). This included all meals, non alcoholic drinks and activities (spa treatments and private one-to-one activities are charged separately).

We stayed in a room in a larger lodge home, but individual lodges can accommodate from three to 12 guests.

Guests can arrive from 10am, and access rooms from 4pm onwards. Check out is at 12pm, but guests are welcome to use facilities until 6pm.

If you want to swim, be prepared to wear one of those damn ugly, sticky swimming hats. It’s the rule and you’ll get frowned upon by other guests if you let your hair down. They can be purchased at spa reception.

Pack sunscreen and (casual) thermals. By day the resort is basked in glorious sunshine and you’ll need a good slap of SPF, but by sunset it can get very chilly, so bring a decent weatherproof jacket. Leave the Moncler at home though – this is a casual hang out and you can be sure to get mucky down on the farm. Temperatures range from 30°C in the daytime to 15°C at night the summer to 15°C in the daytime and 5°C in the night during winter.

If you suffer from allergies, check, check and triple check with the head chef as to the ingredients. We asked regarding the dairy content as our son suffers from a milk protein allergy and got very conflicting advice.

Mealtimes are rather late for children: 9am – 11am for breakfast, 1.30pm – 3pm for lunch and 8pm – 9.30pm for dinner. Snack meals such as sandwiches can be purchased out of hours, while soft drinks are available free of charge throughout the day, but still it’s rather annoying.

Be sure to request a cot and baby bath if necessary. Our room came with a shower only. There was a fridge for storing milk however.

San Francisco Lodge & Spa, Camino a la Canabina SN, San Esteban, Región de Valparaíso, Chile. Reservations by telephone:  2 29863711 / 2 29539311 or internet: www.sflodgespa.com

 

 

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