I was pretty tired from the day of travel, so I was hoping for a pleasant check-in experience at the Grand Hyatt. Since I had been upgraded at the very busy Grand Hyatt in Sao Paulo, I figured my luck would hold at their mostly deserted branch in Santiago de Chile…I was wrong.
They were completely unwilling to upgrade me, despite my status, and I was too tired to argue with them. In the end, the room they gave me was perfectly nice, and had a decent view.
By this point, it was getting dark, so I unpacked my stuff, went to the gym, then showered up. I then went to meet a friend of a friend at the W for cocktails, you can’t go to Chile and not have a pisco sour.
The W Santiago is a great hotel, and if I return, I imagine it’d be my top choice. My friend was late, so I drank beers in the lobby bar and tried to figure out what exactly the large contingent of French hipsters were doing there. I have to assume they were shooting something.
Finally, my friend arrived and we moved to the outdoor portion of the bar (which was covered, since it’s cold in Santiago in September).
After three rounds or so, I started to feel the exhaustion of the cumulative non-stop travel of the previous weeks, and it was a Sunday anyway. I didn’t see any point in pushing it and feeling lousy the next day, so I said goodbye and caught a cab back to the Grand Hyatt.
The next day, I hired a guide and a driver, since I would only have a short time, and I wanted to see as much of Santiago as possible.
While lacking in “must see” tourist attractions, I found Santiago to be a very clean, neat and nice city. It is definitely a place I would recommend checking out, and I will definitely be back.
Sadly, I only had a very short time in Santiago. I arrived late afternoon Sunday, and I had to be on the Monday night LAN flight back to JFK. I would have preferred a longer stop, but those are the perils of traveling on award tickets, you can only fly when there are flights to be had.
Once we wrapped up the tour of Santiago, I had the driver bring me back to the Grand Hyatt. I told him that I was going to pack my luggage, and in an hour or so, we would head out to the airport.
I found the Chilean people to be very welcoming and warm, the city to be one of the nicest in South America (of the cities I’ve been to), and my only regret was not being able to stay longer and more fully experience the place.
GRAND HYATT SANTIAGO REPORT CARD
PROS: Nice views, pretty good rooms
CONS: Substandard location, feels a bit dated especially in the common areas, less than great staff (in addition to the upgrade thing, I had several other arguments with staff members over things that should not have been an issue)
VERDICT: If I wanted to cash in points and stay for free, then yes, I would stay at the Grand Hyatt again. However, if I was paying full freight, or there was an SPG points+cash option open on the W, I would stay there for sure over the Grand Hyatt.