Dan and I love a good lounge, whether its in an airport or a hotel, we love free food and drinks. We also really enjoy staying for free on hotel points. When we booked our trip to Chile last year, we immediately looked at all hotels where we could redeem points for our stay. The Double Tree by Hilton Santiago – Vitacura was a candidate and we ended up booking four nights here based on the point redemption and the hotel’s location. It didn’t hurt that Dan has Diamond Status at Hilton either.
Aside from staying for free, I was most excited about the potential to use the Executive Lounge at the Double Tree based on Dan’s Diamond Status. And for those unfamiliar, the Executive Lounge is a space in many Hilton hotels (not all) that serves as a respite from the masses for guests staying in certain categories of rooms or who have certain status with Hilton (many hotel chains have a similar concept). The quality of these lounges varies from hotel to hotel and ranges from a simple room with a coffee machine and snacks to huge areas offering complimentary beverages and full on meals. Foreign Hiltons are known for having better lounges than in the US, and US-based Hiltons hardly ever give free alcohol in the lounges. Since this was a foreign Hilton, we were very excited about the prospect of a fun lounge, but also uncertain because we could find NOTHING about the Executive Lounge online! We were not even sure it existed… Spoiler alert, it did and the Executive Lounge was really lovely during our stay.
The Double Tree by Hilton Santiago Vitacura is located, not surprisingly, in the upscale Vitacura neighborhood of Santiago, about a 25 minute cab ride from the main touristy area (i.e. Plaza de Armas). Vitacura is filled with lots of cafes, bars, and restaurants, many with Western chains. The Double Tree is walking distance to many of these spots, as well as the Costanera Shopping Center, home to the Costanera Sky Tower. In addition to the Executive Lounge, the Double Tree offers an on site restaurant, a pretty cool bar, and a business center (and possibly other amenities that we did not use!).
Our stay at the Double Tree started out very well. The entrance to the hotel is quite grand and it certain does not feel like you are staying in a “Double Tree.” At checkin we were warmly welcomed with cookies, an upgrade, free breakfast coupons, free drink coupons, and, the thing we were most excited about, access to the Executive Lounge! I think most of this was due to Dan’s Diamond Status, but the staff seemed nice to every guest. We were able to checkin as soon as we arrived (even though we were a little early) and after dropping our stuff in our room, made our way to the Executive Lounge to check it out!
The Executive Lounge is located on the Executive Floor and all guests with access were given a special key to enter the lounge. On entry, there is a desk and it seems that there is supposed to be a hotel employee checking in members, but there was only someone there once. As such, we promptly made our way back to check out the food and drink offerings. This was early afternoon and while there were a few people in the lounge, it was pretty quiet.
The Executive Lounge is open daily from 6 AM – 10 PM, and it closes promptly at 10 PM. Access to the Executive Lounge is limited to those with Diamond status and those staying on the Executive Floor. This particular lounge does not have a dress code. During opening hours, there is always some food and drink available, and the staff are not at all picky about how much you have. Staff members in the Executive Lounge all spoke some English during our stay.
Newly redone in early 2017, the Executive Lounge is split into a few different, open spaces, most of which have a lounge type set up with TVs playing international news channels. Since the lounge was recently redone, all of the furniture appeared new and was quite comfortable. There was also enough space where we never felt crowded at any time during our stay. I was also a big fan of the decor – modern with a bit of a cowboy flair (my own description, ha!).
In addition to the lounge area, there is a kitchen/bar area in the back with drinks, food, and staff should you have any questions. Everything but the cocktails are self-serve.
Finally, there is an area that would make an appropriate work space if you are trying to get some work done while traveling.
The Executive Lounge also has sizeable in-lounge restrooms for patrons.
The food is a major perk of the Executive Lounge, really any lounge, and was something that we were excited about! Open from 6 – 10 PM, the executive lounge serves breakfast in the morning and a spread of appetizers and desserts from about lunch through closing. We took our breakfast downstairs in the hotel restaurant, which, while also free, has a larger selection, but we did enjoy the appetizers each evening. On offer each evening was a large cheese/meat/nuts/olive plate with toasted bread. There was also a selection of specialty appetizers each night. One night we had sandwiches, another seafood based appetizers, and another meat based appetizers. There was definitely enough for a snack and, if you are not picky, you could probably make a meal out of the Executive Lounge food offerings.
The appetizers were accompanied by chips and really good and pretty desserts each evening.
The Executive Lounge also offers certain complimentary drinks to patrons. Our favorite was the selection of complimentary wine – two types of Veramonte red and white, as well as a sparking wine. The wines were out from lunch onward and were set up in a serve your self style. Needless to say, we tried each type. The Carmenere was our favorite of the bunch.
The bar also serves the Pisco Sour cocktail. We tried them because, why not? These Pisco Sours were sweeter than we like, but that seemed to be the case with most Pisco Sours in Santiago. I think its the Chilean style of making the drink.
In addition to the wine and cocktail, there is a tiny keg serving Heineken, an espresso machine, and a cooler with lots of nonalcoholic drinks, including diet Orange Fanta and bottled water! We stopped in the Executive Lounge so many times just to pick up bottled water (a $ saver for sure).
And, that’s really the gist of the Executive Lounge. We spent time here every day, at least for a coffee, a Diet Orange Fanta, or a glass of wine, and we spent some extra time here on the day we left. Actually, on our departure, we had asked for late checkout because our flight was at 11:30 PM. The hotel initially gave us until 6 PM (which was very generous), but later told us that we could stay until we left for the airport. We, however, did not take the hotel up on this offer and spent our final evening in the Executive Lounge having some wine.
The Diamond Status Breakfast
While not technically part of the Executive Lounge, Dan and I received complimentary breakfast in the hotel restaurant due to his Diamond Status. At first we sort of brushed this off, but the breakfast turned out to me huge and delicious, and even came with mixed drinks on the weekend. For the complimentary breakfast for Diamond Status members, members are offered the buffet and a menu of hot foods and coffees. You can order as much as you want! This breakfast was a great way to try local Chilean fruit, jams, and honeys.
In sum, we very much enjoyed our stay at the Double Tree and would certainly stay here again. In fact, the staff was so nice, I probably would not stay anywhere else. While I did not write much about our room, it was spacious and contained a large bathroom and separate living and sleeping areas. As long as you are ok staying in a Western hotel chain, I would definitely recommend this hotel.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Double Tree by Hilton Santiago – Vitacura: Av Vitacura 2727, Las Condes, Región Metropolitana, Chile. Definitely book in advance. We were upgraded due to Dan’s Diamond Status, which he received via the American Hilton Aspire credit card.
ON A BUDGET
While not shoestring budget, the Double Tree is actually not that pricey for a double. That being said, there are definitely less expensive lodging options in Santiago, especially outside of posh Vitacura.