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Hotel Restaurant Cap Ducal
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Reviewed February 11, 2012

CAP DUCAL

Shabby, rundown and seriously in need of investment!

OVERVIEW:

Overhanging the Pacific Ocean, the ocean liner like Cap Ducal was once one of Viña del Mar’s finest and most romantic hotels. Sadly that time has long passed.

After a very pleasant lunch at Casas de Bosque in the Casablanca Valley, we decided to spend the evening at the Enjoy casino in Viña del Mar rather than return home to Santiago. As we worked our way through the list of local hotels we found, that as it was peak season, no one had availability. No one that is except Cap Ducal, who had two rooms free. Having stayed there it is obvious why.

Over the years there has been little maintenance or improvements, and I suspect it is several decades since the bedrooms and bathrooms were refurbished. At breakfast the next morning, we joked that the hotel could well be the set for a horror movie where nothing has changed since it opened in 1936 in reverence to its long dead founder who can still been seen walking the corridors at night!

Don’t get me wrong, the wood panelling, spiral staircases and old wooden elevator could be delightful features if they had been well maintained. Sadly they have not been; and decades old furnishings, worn carpets, a dank smell in the elevator don’t help!

OUR ROOM:

We stayed in an ocean facing room costing CLP 60,000 (GBP 80 / USD 120) per night including breakfast. There was no air conditioning and the furnishings looked several decades old.

The bathroom was small and basic, with just a few very basic toiletries provided.

The sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below could have been quite romantic, but there is also a lot of traffic noise from the road which passes within a few meters of the hotel.

FOOD & DRINK:

For breakfast there was a reasonable choice of cereals, yoghurt, ham, cheese, jams and various types of sliced bread accompanied by tea, coffee and fruit juice. It was surprisingly good.

STAFF:

All of the staff we met were very helpful and friendly.

The receptionist spoke both English (my native language) and Spanish (my girlfriends native language).

FINALLY:

To stay here for one night as we did, just using the hotel as a place to sleep, is bearable, but more than that would be intolerable.

DATES

We stayed at Cap Ducal for 1 night on 28 January 2012

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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6  Thank Adventura1405
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2011

A unique,old world feeling. Looks like an ocean liner from long ago inside. Old wood interior,with spiral staircases up to rooms and in the dining room. Also has an old world elevator if you wish. Rooms for most part are huge. 2 bathrooms in some. Jacuzzi in some . Almost all are over the ocean with fabulous views. Costs average $135.00 per nite canadian, and a tax will be added. Lots of beaches, Walk to town, Casino next street over. Resteraunt down stairs. Breakfast included each day. Staff are wonderful. Food is very good as well here. This is better value than some of the more well known hotel chains. And the Chilean people are the finest you will ever meet. Loved it all.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank raneeweather
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2010

Jan 2, 2010 | Trip type: Couples We have stayed here four different times over the last decade, and also at the Cap Ducal in Santiago, so we have huge family loyalty to this hotel. It serves the best seafood, in our estimation, in all of Vina, especially any of the congrio or corvina dishes, and in the most romantic setting. Reserve a table on the second landing to see the waves crashing on the rocks and building. As their motto proclaims," We are not by the sea but in the sea." Your hotel room overlooks miles of sea and pelicans at your window and sea lions cavorting below and as far as the eye can see, there are miles of beach and the twinkling lights of Vina del Mar beyond. It is the most romantic and most desirable location. Though beside a busy highway, you only hear the wonderful crashing of waves. The woodwork throughout the hotel is lovely and even the views from the hallway are photoworthy: a view of Wulff Castle museum up the road, also on the sea, and a view of the Presidential summer palace gardens from another window.

Still, we checked out midpoint for a different hotel. Over the years there have been no improvements or little maintenance. Torn carpeting on the stairs in dining room. Police tape cordons off two 8X4 holes in the approaching sidewalk (one was there in Jan 2008) and the source is evident from your window in the room: the sea wall has two huge holes about 20 feet below and the waves are slowly eating out the understructure. Then there are the little things that many will put up with because of the views. The impossible tiny bathrooms, with doors banging against users inside. Terrifying jumps down from the very high tub and no grab bar. No place to put down, much less store, toothpaste, cosmetics, toiletries, shaver. Remember too that in Vina you need to buy water, not brush teeth from the tap, so there's no space for that. One tiny glass shelf is used up with stupid stuff --an organdy covered, satin be-ribboned tissue box. Your complimentary toiletries include a tooth-yanking shampoo packet, ditto for soap which will not open unless you have scissors or a knife. No conditioner. An electrocution-style hair dryer from the 1960's.

We have several times moved our room (they were nice about it!) because there was no space for folded clothes--just hangers for suits and dresses. In our 4th floor room wifi didn't work, though one of the two Spanish alphabet computers below worked out the front door in a cubicle. So free wifi is available but it didn't work in our room. The cable channel in English flickers, scrolls up like an ancient TV and the sound is just roaring static.

Then there is the medieval 2 person elevator. Don't get in unless someone knows to look for you at end of the ride. (1) It is a double doored affair with a child-menacing accordian interior door, which you have to close on leaving. (2) That means, you have to reach inside and manually drag the door to a close and then make sure it "clicks." If you forgot, the next rider has to take the stairs, maybe 3 or 4 floors up, close it for you before it will move. (3) Sometimes the elevator gets stuck between floors. There is no marked call button, panic button, no phone. You bang on the heavy oak-paneled walls that carry no sound; you bang your key on the exterior glass overlooking the crashing waves below. The hotel was empty when it happened to me. We immediatley checked out the next morning, and to their credit, an elevator mechanic was already making repairs as we departed.

I can't take the shabby and sometimes menacing disrepair. It is the most beautiful site in town but needs massive infusions of money to make it as comfortable as Motel 6. Still if romance with a lot of inconvenience is what you want, at a very modest price ($120--price never changes!), do phone them for a reservation. There is no website and the hotelschile web just sits on your request for weeks without booking you. A cheap phone call is the way to book. And if you don't want to hazard a room, be sure to have one grand meal at the Cap Ducal. It breaks my heart to not recommend staying at the Cap Ducal.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank Ann2009CT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2009

This is a very unique hotel. It is very much like being on a ship with the water below and a fantastic view. It's more freighter than cruise ship. It was built in the 1930s and has a interesting history. The rooms need a facelift but the staff are wonderful and they were a great help to us.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank SuDomSanFrancisco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2009

Dirty carpets, very small bathrooms, smells like fish, needs refurbishing. Spend a bit more and go somewhere else. It does have great views and friendly front desk.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank James C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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