With icy cold weather in the UK, it was a no brainer to try and find somewhere hot to visit for NYE.
Back in November we originally decided to visit Doha as we have friends over there. It would be a great opportunity to spend time with them and as we had a free place to stay, the cost would have been minimal.
Unfortunately this wasn't meant to be, so it was back to the drawing board.
I'm not really sure how Santiago came in to play, but I'm so pleased it did.
The first thing I did was to check the weather in December/January. With an average temperature of 28-30 degrees, it sounded ideal.
There are direct flights from London to Santiago, 4 days a week, so we knew we could get there quite easily.
Next up was finding somewhere to stay. Usually Hilton is our brand of choice. We could choose between a Doubletree or Garden Inn. Neither of these ticked the criteria I had in my head so I looked at TripAdvisor to see what options were available.
All I wanted was to be able to chill by a pool for a few days, so the best possible pool area was at the top of the list.
Hotel Santiago appeared to meet my criteria, a massive pool complete with a huge waterfall and Club rooms.
We were all booked up and flew from Newcastle airport to London Heathrow where we flew on the Dreamliner to Santiago, Chile. The flight is the longest currently operated by British Airways with a flight time of around 14.5 hours.
The flight was great, the cabin crew were as friendly as ever. We landed in Santiago about 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. Immigration took just over 20 minutes, our bags arrived at the conveyor belt just as we reached it. We then had to queue for 15 minutes to go through security.
I'd read online there were a number of taxi/transfer companies available, however, I'd pre-arranged transportation with the hotel. Our driver picked us up and got us to the hotel in just over 20 minutes.
We arrived at the hotel a few hours earlier than the room was available. The atrium of the hotel is stunning. A beautiful Christmas tree stood in front of us. The tree was decorated with flowers cut out of newspapers with individually painted centre pieces.
We took the elevator to there 16th floor to check in. We were offered breakfast in the Club Lounge, as we'd just eaten on the plane we declined, keen to get to the pool area and relax.
We were informed our room would be on the second highest floor, 18. Our room wasn't ready yet, so we were shown to the spa to allow us to freshen up.
The spa area had a gym as well as the ability to have a number of treatments. The changing rooms had enormous lockers, with a Digital key pad (it worked similar to a room safe).
Once showered and in our swimming shorts, we headed to the pool. The weather was a little overcast, but still hot. We knew the pool area was closing early as the hotel was having to set up for its New Year celebration. We'd enquired about it, the price was well outside of our budget at £260.00 each, which including a 5 course meal and free bar.
The loungers had a comfortable mattress topper on them along with a pillow. Pool towels were already on the loungers.
The pool area is quite large and plenty of loungers. There's a small bar and the staff would offer lounger service. A can of Coke/Sprite was about £3.00 each. We just charged these to our room.
The poolside menu included, quesedilla, sushi, salads and a small selection of cocktails. I can recommend the Thai Seduction ( Absolute Raspberry, basil, powdered sugar and soda). It was very refreshing.
Our room was on the 18th floor and had spectacular views overlooking the mountains. The king size bed was very comfortable. When it comes to pillows, I'm like goldilocks: not too soft or too firm! The pillows were feather and very soft, surprisingly there wasn't a spare in the wardrobe. I'm sure if I asked, I could have got another delivered to the room but I never got round to it. A large Smart TV hung from the wall above a desk.
A coffee table and 2 leather chairs were in front of the window. The room was one of the largest I've had, it felt more like a junior suite.
As we were staying in a Club room, we had access to the lounge, this was on the 16th floor and also offered excellent views overlooking the mountains and parts of Santiago.
A continental breakfast is available 07:00-10:00, with wine and canapés from 17:00-20:00. I didn't try the breakfast, however, the complimentary drinks and canapés were taken full advantage of.
There was a choice of 2 red and 2 white wines as well as a sparkling wine. A small selection of spirits were also available. Surprisingly the alcohol was out for you to help yourself to but the mixers were served by the lounge staff.
The canapes changed daily, varying from empanadas, nachos, sushi, sandwiches, fruit and cheese and crackers. They were all well presented and tasty. I was surprised to not see any labels advising the ingredients, especially as many people have food allergies/intolerances.
Overall we absolutely loved our 3 day stay at Hotel Santiago and would love to go back and actually explore the city.
***Check back soon to see where we ate in Santiago ***