New in late 2005, U.S.-run Hostal de Sammy (Toesca 2355, tel. 02/6898772, www.hostaldesammy.com , US$11–16 pp) is gradually transforming a rundown mansion in a lively university neighborhood, around the corner from the new Allende museum, into comfy backpackers’ accommodations. Rooms range from six-person dorms to doubles with private bath; amenities include a self-serve breakfast, kitchen access, laundry privileges, wireless Internet, local phone calls, a game room with pool tables and table tennis, and a shady patio with a barbecue. Its main drawback is the shortage of restaurants and nightlife in the immediate vicinity, but it’s close to two Metro stations.
In the winding cobbled streets south of the Alameda, such good value that reservations are almost imperative, Residencial Londres (Londres 54, tel. 02/6339192, US$13 pp with shared bath, US$30 d with private bath) has real charm but may not be able to keep up with some of the newer backpacker favorites. Breakfast costs extra.
Superbly located on a quiet block-long street that’s easy walking distance from Barrio Bellavista and the Baquedano Metro station, Hostal Forestal (Coronel Santiago Bueras 120, tel. 02/6381347, www.hostalforestal.cl , US$12–13 pp, US$33 d) has four- to six-bed dorms with plenty of shared baths, and several doubles with private baths. Common areas at the spacious two-story house include a living room with a giant-screen TV, a game room with a pool table, a kitchen open to guests, and two patios.
In the renovated ex-Residencial del Norte, the gleaming Happy House Hostel (Catedral 2207, tel. 02/6884849, www.happyhousehostel.cl , US$17 pp–US$45/50 s/d with breakfast) hasn’t managed to silence the ancient building’s creaky floors, but it has dramatically upgraded the already spacious rooms, added commodious common areas including a kitchen and a bar, and even installed a sauna adjacent to the sunny rooftop deck.
In a quirky 19th-century adobe, Hostal Río Amazonas (Rosas 2234, tel./fax 02/6719013, tel. 02/6984092, www.hostalrioamazonas.cl , US$23/30 s/d) offers sizable rooms with breakfast and private bath, some with sleeping lofts. A couple of slightly cheaper rooms share baths.
At the north end of Cerro Santa Lucía , refurbished Hotel del Cerro (Merced 433, tel. 02/6381624, US$39 s or d) isn’t exactly a boutique hotel, but owners have done a fine job of freshening up what was a well-worn hotel, despite inattention to minor details. The midsize rooms have much improved baths and showers; a few have Jacuzzis. Some interior rooms are quieter and have small but welcome balconies.
Almost kittycorner from Hotel del Cerro, the underrated Hotel Foresta (Subercaseaux 353, tel. 02/6396262, fax 02/6322996, hforesta [at] terra [dot] cl, US$30/40 s/d) has suffered from traffic noise, although recent street improvements should help. Rates include breakfast.
Gaining ground on traditional budget choice Residencial Londres, Hotel Plaza Londres (Londres 77, tel. 02/6333320, www.hotelplazalondres.cl , US$12 pp–US$30/40 s/d) is not the most contemporary hotel—not so long ago it belonged to the police—but it has character and a privileged mini-plaza location. For the budget-conscious, there’s a separate wing of shared-bath accommodations that are by no means bad.
In Barrio Brasil, Hotel Los Arcos (Agustinas 2173, tel. 02/6990998, US$22 pp) is a cozy place on a quiet block that deserves consideration (breakfast is extra). Its quiet and shady interior patios are a bonus.
On the border between Santiago Centro and Providencia , there’s a second Hostal Río Amazonas (Av. Vicuña Mackenna 47, tel. 02/6351631, www.hostalrioamazonas.cl , US$26/42 s/d) that’s far more central, much more spacious, and far more luminous than the original. Despite the busy avenue, it’s surprisingly quiet, thanks at least in part to the sprawling Argentine Embassy gardens immediately north.
Close to Metro Salvador, Providencia ’s Marilú’s Bed & Breakfast (Rafael Cañas 246, tel. 02/2355302, www.bedandbreakfast.cl , US$27/39–30/45 s/d) occupies the 1st and 3rd floors of an apartment building. Some of the variably sized rooms have shared baths, while others have private baths; there is no indoor smoking. Common areas have TV, with tea and coffee available all day, and the management handles both English and French.
Magnificently restored and modernized, Hotel España (Morandé 510, tel. 02/6966066, www.hotelespania.com , US$40/50 s/d) has spacious cheerful rooms with contemporary baths, exceptional natural light on the 4th floor in particular, plus cable TV, Internet connections, and electronic strong boxes. There are a couple of smaller bargain rooms as well.
Its dull burgundy facade is a misleading approach to Barrio Brasil’s La Casa Roja (Agustinas 2113, tel. 02/6964241, www.lacasaroja.cl , US$11 pp–US$28 d), a sprawling 19th-century mansion that bids to become a backpackers’ boutique hotel—though with 85 or so beds, it’s perhaps a bit too large for that categorization. Still, Australian owner Simon Shalders has restored period details, respecting the house’s original configuration, while modernizing the baths and creating a contemporary kitchen—not to mention building a garden pool with a swim-up bar and even adding a batting cage (for cricket, but adaptable for baseball). Even the eight-bed dorms don’t feel cramped, and with numerous large common areas scattered through the building, the place never seems crowded, but there are also private rooms with or without private bath. It also has a travel agency, a Spanish school, and a promising next-door restaurant.