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Passengers on a Rovos Rail train
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Mandarin Oriental Santiago

  • Room Type: Executive Room
  • Typical Nightly Rate: $350
  • Stay Type: Hosted stay
  • Loyalty Program: Virtuoso/MO Fan Club


Intro


Santiago is a city which has never been known as a luxury hotel destination, with just a handful of internationally recognised hotel brands being represented here.

Given that I had two visits to this city planned at either end of a trip to Patagonia, I figured it made sense to try both of the top hotels: Mandarin Oriental and the Ritz Carlton.

I’d heard that the RC was very old fashioned (as is often the case with that brand) and suspected that I wasn’t going to be massively enamoured with it. As such, I started this South American trip with a visit to the more modern Mandarin Oriental, the chain’s only property in South America.

 


Book MO Santiago with Virtuoso benefits


Our clients are able to enjoy additional Virtuoso benefits when booking Mandarin Oriental Santiago:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom
  • $100USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in / Late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Room rates and payment terms match the Mandarin Oriental website exactly, with payment taken directly by Mandarin Oriental during your stay.

You can book a Virtuoso rate at Mandarin Oriental Santiago using our online booking portal:

BOOK MANDARIN ORIENTAL SANTIAGO WITH VIRTUOSO BENEFITS

If you’re booking with us for the first time, here’s a quick guide on how to use the booking portal:

HOTEL BOOKING GUIDE

It’s also always worth dropping us an email to see if a better offer is available, or if you need help building a more complex itinerary with multiple hotels:

EMAIL FOR BOOKING ENQUIRIES

 


Arrival


Given that it was our first time visiting Chile, I opted to book the hotel’s car service upon arrival.

I had heard that Uber has serious issues at the airport here and I didn’t much fancy wheeling suitcases into some distant car park after a very long flight from London!

The price of the transfer in a Mercedes E Class was 80,000CLP, which was around $80 at the time. Definitely quite steep, given the short distance to the hotel (25 minutes or so in light traffic) but really we were just paying a premium to not have to deal with a complex Uber situation or the local taxi mafia.

The hotel building is immediately noticeable on approach, as it towers over the surrounding area. As we approached the front entrance we were seamlessly handed over to a phalanx of bellmen, who eagerly assisted us with our baggage, past the hotel’s complimentary bikes…

MO Santiago-1
MO Santiago-2

….and into the stunning lobby. In my experience, Mandarin Oriental hotels tend to have rather small and understated lobbies so I was surprised to see such extravagance on display here.

Mandarin Oriental Santiago - Lobby

Mandarin Oriental Santiago – Lobby.

In addition to the main lobby art installation, there was also a glass case containing a fan – custom-made by a local artist to represent the unique history and culture of the property. During check-in, it was explained to us that the design of a custom fan is a brand standard at all Mandarin Oriental hotels.

MO Santiago - Property fan display

MO Santiago – Property fan display.

Check-in was handled very promptly and efficiently, with more than enough staff at hand to cope at even the busiest of times. With 310 rooms in total, this had been something of a worry for me but whenever we passed these desks there were usually 5-8 staff at hand, manning the phones and efficiently dealing with in-person enquiries from guests.

MO Santiago - Check-in area

MO Santiago – Reception desks.

After being checked in, we were escorted to the elevators. A glimpse of the cascading colours of the lobby made it feel like we’d traversed to the far side of a multicoloured waterfall, nestled in a cave beyond…

MO Santiago - elevators

MO Santiago – elevators.

Luckily, we were allocated a room on one of the higher floors, which truly allowed us to appreciate the unique design of this building. I almost felt like I was in an art museum like the Tokyo Forum, rather than a hotel!

MO Santiago - hallways

MO Santiago – architecture.

MO Santiago-9
MO Santiago-10

 


Mandarin Oriental Santiago Executive Room


The hotel still features an older ‘Classic’ style of hotel rooms but personally I think that the Executive rooms are more than worth the minimal additional charge.

As soon as we entered our room it was immediately apparent that we were in a modern and thoughtfully designed space. An open-plan wardrobe next to the entrance ensured that we had a space to put keys, cameras, hats and sunglasses within easy reach as we entered or exited the room.

MO Santiago - Executive room entrance

MO Santiago – Executive room entrance.

To the left of the image above was a closed wardrobe, featuring recessed lighting and a variety of high quality hangers.

MO Santiago - Executive room wardrobe

MO Santiago – Executive room wardrobe.

MO Santiago Executive Room Bathroom

The bathroom had a very clean and elegant feel to it but in my opinion, it was lacking a small plant or some natural light to give it an extra touch of life.

MO Santiago - Executive room, bathroom

MO Santiago – Executive room, bathroom.

The walk-in shower was very spacious and spa-like, featuring a rainfall shower-head in the ceiling, recessed lighting and a beautifully textured wall. Bathing amenities were by a brand I’ve not personally experienced before called Natura Blissé, with a selection of cotton pads, shower caps and vanity kits offered in a pull-out drawer by the sink.

MO Santiago-14
MO Santiago-15
MO Santiago-17

MO Santiago Executive Room Bedroom and Lounge

Moving around the corner from the bathroom we moved into the expansive, multi-level bedroom. A set of large windows provided a huge amount of natural light, together with spectacular city and mountain views.

MO Santiago - Executive Room

MO Santiago – Executive Room.

Sitting atop the bar counter was a wonderful welcome amenity of sparkling wine, together with a selection of freshly made chocolate treats from the hotel’s pastry chef.

MO Santiago - Welcome amenity

MO Santiago – Welcome amenity.

I loved all the additional design flourishes in the bedroom like the patterned rug, circular lights (reminiscent of Ritz Carlton Maldives) and integrated, flip-out reading lights.

MO Santiago - Executive room bedroom

MO Santiago – Executive room bedroom.

I greatly appreciated the stone topped bedside tables too, both of which featured drawers to keep supplements, sleep masks and adaptors hidden away.

MO Santiago-24
MO Santiago-25

I was also pleased to see that both sides of the bed featured master light switches, together with power sockets and USB ports. The only thing missing was a true universal power socket, although I believe that most of the world outside of China, HK, Australia and the UK is covered by what was on offer:

MO Santiago - power sockets

MO Santiago – power sockets.

As a result of the split level design, the bed featured an elevated vantage point from where to enjoy the view. I also appreciated the fact that the work desk was located facing in this direction.

MO Santiago - Executive Room Bedroom

MO Santiago – Executive Room, Bedroom.

The unique room layout meant that there was space for a breakfast bar of sorts on the opposite side of the desk. This ended up being the perfect workspace, from which Kamara and I could answer client emails, whilst discussing itineraries and sharing photos.

MO Santiago-28
MO Santiago-27

The opposite countertop contained the minibar and is also where our coffee machine was set up. Much like the MO in Prague, a coffee machine wasn’t offered in the room as standard. We had to ask for this by calling down to reception.

Given that entry level Nespresso machines cost $100, it felt odd to me not to just have these in the room as standard.

MO Santiago - Nespresso Machine

MO Santiago – Nespresso Machine.

Drinking water was provided free of charge though and the minibar offered plenty of empty space in which to store the leftover welcome treats.

MO Santiago - minibar

MO Santiago – minibar.

Perhaps my favourite part of the room was the sitting area next to the windows. The swivel chairs were very comfortable indeed and this was the perfect spot from which to enjoy a glass of sparkling wine as the sun set.

MO Santiago - Executive Room sitting area

MO Santiago – Executive Room sitting area.

The views of the jagged mountain peaks, lightly dusted with snow, towering over the cities buildings, will stick with me forever. These views to me are the enduring memory of being in Santiago.

MO Santiago - Executive Room View

MO Santiago – Executive Room View.

MO Santiago - Executive Room View

MO Santiago – Executive Room View.

MO Santiago - Executive Room View

MO Santiago – Executive Room View.

Turndown and Housekeeping

Housekeeping was very good during our stay. The team assisted very quickly when we requested the coffee machine and also extra pillows. Turndown included a scented bedtime aroma vial, together with instructions on how to reach a state of restful sleep.

MO Santiago-36
MO Santiago-35

The housekeeping team also took care to place lens cloths next to any items that they felt may benefit from their application…

MO Santiago - housekeeping lens cloth

MO Santiago – housekeeping lens cloth.

….and even left a friendly note together with a dental kit, since they noticed that our toothpaste was running low!

MO Santiago - housekeeping note

MO Santiago – housekeeping note.

 


MO Santiago Facilities


MO Santiago Pool

During our visit in the month of October it was still a little too cold to fully enjoy the pool. There certainly seemed to be a lot of locals enjoying drinks on the surrounding terrace area, though!

MO Santiago - swimming pool

MO Santiago – swimming pool.

The pool area has a very resort-like feel and I can see why this would be something of a local hotspot, as there’s really nothing comparable in the city of Santiago de Chile.

MO Santiago - swimming pool

MO Santiago – swimming pool.

MO Santiago - swimming pool

MO Santiago – swimming pool.

MO Santiago Gym

During our visit, the gym was in the midst of a renovation. Despite this fact, the temporary facility was better than many fully-fledged hotel gyms (Mandarin Oriental Barcelona’s is markedly worse, for example).

MO Santiago - temporary gym

MO Santiago – temporary gym.

The equipment was all Technogym, which appears to be the standard mass-market offering at all hotel gyms these days. It’s far from my favourite but it was great to see things like a leg press and supine leg curl, in addition to the usual lat pulldown and chest press.

MO Santiago - temporary gym

MO Santiago – temporary gym.

Dumbbells went up to 22kg, limiting their use for anything other than assistance exercises but given the number of machines on offer, this wasn’t a huge deal.

MO Santiago - temporary gym

MO Santiago – temporary gym.

Fresh fruit was also on offer, together with chilled water and refreshing towels.

MO Santiago - temporary gym

MO Santiago – temporary gym.


Food and Drink at MO Santiago


Breakfast at Senso

Breakfast is always included for our clients booking Virtuoso or MO Fan Club rates and is served in the hotel’s Italian restaurant: Senso. Although there was plenty of terrace seating on offer, it was a bit too chilly in the mornings to make use of it.

I can imagine that this space would be great in the summer months, though!

MO Santiago - Breakfast terrace

MO Santiago – Breakfast terrace.

Breakfast was served buffet-style with a wide variety of different stations on offer. These included a wide variety of freshly baked pastries:

MO Santiago - Breakfast pastries

MO Santiago – Breakfast pastries.

There were also various cereals on display with multiple milk and non-dairy options served alongside them. In addition to this, there were also four different types of honey on offer.

MO Santiago - Breakfast cereals

MO Santiago – Breakfast cereals.

The fruit station was a little disappointing with a lot of the fruit being of the canned, syrupy variety. The juices also appeared to be factory-made rather than freshly squeezed.

MO Santiago - Breakfast fruit

MO Santiago – Breakfast fruit.

Beyond this was a rather basic salad section, together with a gigantic bowl of boiled eggs and sliced bread of every ilk imaginable.

MO Santiago - Salad, eggs and bread

MO Santiago – Salad, eggs and bread.

A chilled section provided a selection of decent quality cold cuts, cheese and pickles, together with bircher muesli and chia puddings.

MO Santiago - Breakfast cold cuts

MO Santiago – Breakfast cold cuts.

Last but not least, there was a hot section, with a multitude of Le Creuset casserole dishes containing eggs, bacon, oatmeal and grilled vegetables.

MO Santiago - Hot breakfast buffet

MO Santiago – Hot breakfast buffet.

Service from the older gentlemen working here was brisk and efficient and the coffee was from a real coffee machine but not particularly high quality.

MO Santiago - Breakfast

MO Santiago – Breakfast.

Overall, the 1980s steakhouse vibes and the lack of a la carte dishes made the breakfast experience feel perfunctory rather than luxurious. It was by no means a bad breakfast but I feel that the property could do so much more by modernising the space and delivering proper table service with unique and interesting dishes.

Given that this is the best hotel in town, you can’t help but feel that this breakfast service is just being phoned in.

 

MO Santiago Atrium Lobby Lounge

Although the breakfast restaurant is still very much stuck in the past, the Atrium Lobby Lounge is a modern marvel. A space filled with natural light crowned by a spectacular installation of teardrop lights, cascading from the ceiling.

MO Santiago - Atrium Lobby Lounge

MO Santiago – Atrium Lobby Lounge.

MO Santiago - Atrium Lobby Lounge

MO Santiago – Atrium Lobby Lounge.

When we first arrived at the property, we were squarely in the DMZ between lunch and dinner. Given that I have zero interest in afternoon tea, we opted to sit on the terrace and a order a few bites from the Lobby Lounge menu.

Service here was very slow. In spite of this, the terrace appeared to be very popular with local business people, many of whom could be found chatting and sipping wine in the late afternoon sun.

MO Santiago - Lobby lounge terrace

MO Santiago – Lobby lounge terrace.

We ordered a couple of freshly seared tuna Niçoise salads, which were tasty enough but absolutely not worth a 45 minute wait!

MO Santiago - seared tuna Niçoise salad

MO Santiago – seared tuna Niçoise salad.

 

Dinner at Matsuri

Matsuri is Mandarin Oriental Santiago’s signature Nikkei style restaurant. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 years, Nikkei cuisine is a Peruvian-Japanese fusion, popularised (inexplicably) by an extremely average restaurant in Lima by the name of Maido.

Nikkei cuisine is basically the default option when building a new luxury hotel these days (particularly in the Maldives) and it’s no surprise to see this offered in Santiago, given that Chile very much lives in its neighbour’s shadow, when it comes to its international culinary offering.

The argument about who invented pisco and whose is the best is a lot more hotly contested….

Passing through the lobby at night, en route to the restaurant, I was surprised to see that this wasn’t a popular bar. The room looks great at night and I’m sure they’d do well if they added a live piano player and a modern cocktail list.

MO Santiago - Lobby Lounge at night

MO Santiago – Lobby Lounge at night.

The decor at Matsuri was rather more…eclectic. This purple neon, old wooden chairs, Chesterfield sofas and Johnny Walker statue didn’t really give the impression of class or elegance that one might expect of somewhere “Widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in Santiago”.

MO Santiago - Matsuri restaurant

MO Santiago – Matsuri restaurant.

The bar area looked quite fun though and got very busy by the time we finished dinner.

MO Santiago - Matsuri bar

MO Santiago – Matsuri bar.

I personally felt that the terrace provided a much more pleasant atmosphere in which to enjoy dinner. Despite the relatively cool evening temperature, most guests seemed to agree as every single table was occupied by the time we sat down to eat.

MO Santiago - Matsuri terrace view

MO Santiago – Matsuri terrace view.

The staff here were wonderfully chatty and attentive. As soon as we ordered our pisco sours to begin, this triggered a lengthy and lively conversation about the history of the drink and its importance within Chilean culture. We asked for the sweetness to be pitched at 25% of what the bar usually recommends and this instruction was duly noted, resulting in a pair of wonderful drinks to begin the meal.

These paired perfectly with the first dish to arrive, a selection of salmon slices cured in a variety of different methods.

MO Santiago-47
MO Santiago-49

This was served alongside two delicious maki rolls, which I personally found to be the highlight of the meal.

MO Santiago - Matsuri dinner

MO Santiago – Matsuri dinner.

Our first main, the sautéed beef served with creamy ramen was delicious, if a little rich and heavy.

MO Santiago - Matsuri dinner

MO Santiago – Matsuri dinner.

Our other main course was a miso soup filled with shrimp and scallops, which provided a mercifully light counterbalance to the ramen.

MO Santiago - Matsuri dinner

MO Santiago – Matsuri dinner.

Much though I tried to rebuff the efforts of our friendly waiters, they convinced us to order the ‘small’ house dessert selection. Everything we tried was delicious but we didn’t even come remotely close to finishing!

Overall, this was an enjoyable and relaxing meal but I wouldn’t go out of my way to book a table here if I wasn’t already staying at the hotel.


Conclusion


Basics Checklist

☑︎ Power sockets near the bed
☑︎ Easy to understand light switches
☑︎ Coffee machine (had to call to request it)
X Separate shower and bath (no bath)
☑︎ Blackout blinds
☑︎Stable, fast and free Wifi
☑︎ Feather pillows
☑︎ Quiet and powerful aircon

This property originally began its life as a Grand Hyatt and in that context they’ve come a very long way indeed.

I can see why MO was interested in transforming this hotel. The views and the pool are truly unique; no hotel in Santiago compares in this regard. A great number of the rooms have been totally modernised, together with the lobby area.

Having said this, there are a lot of public spaces that are in need of a major renovation if this hotel is truly able to live up to the MO brand’s reputation on the global stage.

Service from the front desk staff and during dinner was fantastic but the service at breakfast and by the pool could certainly use some additional polish.

Having also stayed at the Ritz Carlton Santiago on this trip, I can state categorically and unequivocally that this is the superior hotel. At its best, this is a relaxing and polished resort with amazing views and architecture, at it’s worst – it’s still orders of magnitude better than the Ritz Carlton.


Book Mandarin Oriental Santiago with Virtuoso Benefits


Our clients are able to enjoy additional Virtuoso benefits when booking Mandarin Oriental Santiago:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom
  • $100USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in / Late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Room rates and payment terms match the Mandarin Oriental website exactly, with payment taken directly by Mandarin Oriental during your stay.

You can book a Virtuoso rate at Mandarin Oriental Santiago using our online booking portal:

BOOK MANDARIN ORIENTAL SANTIAGO WITH VIRTUOSO BENEFITS

If you’re booking with us for the first time, here’s a quick guide on how to use the booking portal:

HOTEL BOOKING GUIDE

It’s also always worth dropping us an email to see if a better offer is available, or if you need help building a more complex itinerary with multiple hotels:

EMAIL FOR BOOKING ENQUIRIES