I loved Valparaiso. The city is absolutely charming and beautiful. It needs a bit more TLC, but don't miss it if you're going to be in Santiago. (the Tours for Tips is great- one of the best city tours I've ever been on).
I did a two-night's stay a the Da Vinci Hotel and was so glad to leave. The hotel sounds charming on the website, but it is far from it.
Location: The hotel is behind two (?) front doors on a very steep street. The street is dark and tagged by gang signs and not by any of the charming art that Valpariaso is known for. The neighborhood, if you can call an empty, boarded-up street a neighborhood, is nothing. There is nothing nearby. Two blocks down the road are a bunch of old banks and notaries. No restaurants, no stores, nothing a traveler wants. There are lots of great areas of Valpo, this isn't one.
Public areas: If you love walking up stairs everywhere, this is your hotel! And there is no elevator. Enjoy lugging your suitcase up the stairs! The lobby is uninviting- just a couple of chairs and books about Venice. Very little information on Valparaiso here- go to the tourist office on the main square.
Rooms: My room was one of the smallest hotel rooms I've every stayed in. That includes New York, Hong Kong, Italy, England and every place in between. Beside your bed, there is one folding chair, a 2x3 wardrobe, and three small built-in shelves. There is literally no place for your suitcase, except a small area of the floor. And there is no window, except a window into a glass-enclosed cooridore. You will get no fresh air here! The world's smallest and noisiest hotel room costs C$ 32,000 a night.
Noisy. The floors and stairs are all wood and you will hear everyone walking up and down the stairs as well as everyone in the breakfast room on top of your room. This loud and incessant noise starts at 7:30 AM. Wear your ear plugs. Also, they like to play loud rock music in the evening- that starts about 8:30 PM- so don't plan on relaxing.
Bathroom: Imagine the smallest shower stall you can imagine- now take half that away. There is no shelf and you cannot pick up you shampoo on the floor of it without opening the door, stepping outside, picking it up, then getting back in the shower stall. Try to ignore the mold growing on the tiles. Also, the shower faucet fell off and I had to pound it back on to make it stream water again.
Interent: Sketchy- goes on and off and the two girls gossiping with each other at the front desk could care less.
Hospitality: No one offered to help or acknowledged my existence. The clerks hid behind the front desk which itotally obscures seeing them. They only time they spoke to me was to take my money, how me where my room was located, and try to sell me a taxi. Upon leaving, I asked about taking the bus for US$.50 to the main bus station. The front desk girl told me that she would call me a cab that would cost US$10. Good thing the manager showed up just then. He was helpful: Offered to walk me the two blocks down the road to the bus stop, told the bus driver where I was going and I saved US$ 9.50!
Breakfast: Good! Lots of good food in the nice top floor breakfast room. This was one of the few things the hotel did well.
For the price, you might as well pay 25% of the rate and stay at a local hostel. You'll have warmer hospitality, more room and less noise.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We are a Hotel located in the heart of the heritage area of Valparaiso, between Alegre Hill and Concepcion Hill, a few steps from the best restaurants, bars, small cafes and viewpoints of the city. Our house dates from the beginning of the twentieth century, there were two residences that through a process of remodeling joined as one, forming the now proudly call our hotel. For this remodeling is giving priority to the conservation of the original aesthetic lines of the "Puerto" (Harbor) homes. Wood warmly welcomes, the skylight naturally Lights the hotel, the decoration that brings together elements of both Italy and Chile, we welcome our guest with the same warmth that Italian and Chilean families does. In Hotel Da Vinci the most important thing is to provide the best service to our guest, we are always willing to help that is needed to guide tourists during their stay with us. Our idea from the start was made our hotel into a home for our guests, where they feel comfortable and at home creating the perfect blend of privacy and attentive service. We firmly believe that the we deliver to our guest a hotel that is characterized by excellent service, its spacious and comfortable and above all, human warmth so characteristic of "portenos" (people from Valparaiso) and Italian. Sincerely, Staff of Da Vinci Valparaiso ... more less
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