Palacio Astoreca

Monte Alegre 149, Valparaíso, Región de Valparaíso, Chile

Built in the 1920s by a Croatian businessman, Palacio Astoreca underwent two years of refurbishment and restoration before opening its doors as a boutique hotel in 2012. The work was carried out to a meticulous degree, maintaining the original parquet floors, and adding splashes of color with art deco furniture and modern art, including one piece by Switzerland’s Frédéric Clot. The stucco-and-brick mansion rises up from the streets of Chile’s port city, Valparaíso, like a piece of red-and-white confectionary.

A statement staircase winds up to the 23 rooms, some of which have stand-alone bathtubs. And the basement level is home to a small spa with an open-air, wood-fueled hot tub set alongside a living wall. The reception level and entrance hall open out onto a terrace where lunch, tea, and cocktails are served, allowing guests prime views over the hilly city and Pacific Ocean. There are quiet corners for those seeking a solitary moment, including a library and a piano bar, which comes to life in the evenings with live music.

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Valparaíso, Chile

Visitors are reaping the benefits of an ambitious program to preserve this port city’s heritage. Last fall, the 23-room Palacio Astoreca Hotel, and its destination restaurant, Alegre, opened in a Victorian mansion. The Palacio Baburizza, built in 1916, reopened last year as a fine arts museum, and Chilean architect Emilio Marin has transformed a former prison into a cultural center that now welcomes 170,000 visitors per year. This appeared in the June/July 2013 issue.

Slumber in Valparaíso's Hippest Hotel

Palacio Astoreca, a national monument, underwent a two-year renovation before opening its doors in October 2012. Located in the heart of Valparaíso’s UNESCO world heritage site, this charming 23-room design-driven hotel has stunning views of the bay and eclectic hills from many of its rooms. The perfect base for an overnight exploration of this funky port only 70 miles from the capital, Valparaiso today is a food and art mecca. The hotel is home to Alegre restaurant, whose young chef has received international acclaim for its innovative menu. Hang out in the piano bar or high-ceilinged library, decompress in the chic spa, or breath in some fresh seaside air on the terrace with a glass of Carmenere. Monte Alegre 149, Cerro Alegre, Valparaiso Phone: 56 32 2327 7700

Restaurant Alegre

Restaurant Alegre (at the Hotel Palacio Astoreca) specializes in seafood, with preparations trending toward modern and even edgy approaches to the local bounty. Guests are offered the opportunity to visit the restaurant’s wine cellar to select just the right bottle to accompany their meal. Lunch (1:30–3:30 p.m.) and dinner (8:30–10:30 p.m.); Sundays, lunch only. Closed Mondays.

Hotel Palacio Astoreca: A Mansion of Your Own In Valparaiso

While downing my second Pisco Sour on the terrace of the newly renovated Hotel Palacio Astoreca overlooking Valparaiso, I had a fabulous idea: I’d start a global chain called “Pisco Disco” (a combination bar and dance club). It was less a stroke of business genius than it was a testament to the mixologist’s bartending skills. The cocktail was not the only winner at this 1920s-era Victorian mansion turned hotel. From the moment we arrived on its doorstep we found ourselves caught between the past and present. The remodeled inn retains the charm of the iconic palace it once was; at the same time it’s a modern-day wonder with clean lines and spaces (signature elements of architect Mathias Klotz). Not to be missed is the hotel’s spa with a heated indoor pool and an authentic wood-burning hot tub, where you can relax after a day of hiking up and down Valparaiso’s narrow streets. The centrally located hotel is directly across from the Palacio Baburizza Fine Arts Museum (originally an Art Nouveau mansion), which features an eclectic collection of mostly European and Chilean paintings and is not far from the museum honoring Nobel Laureate poet Pablo Neruda. While the hotel boasts of its membership in the Relais & Chateaux group, you’d be wise to hone your expectations a bit, as service needs to be bumped up a tad. But no worries about the mixologist -- he sure knows how to make one of Chile’s best Pisco Sours.

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