HOTEL SANTA CRUZ is located in the Colchagua Valley in the city of Santa Cruz, 180 km south from the capital of Santiago. I arrived in Santa Cruz via the impressive bus system connecting much of Chile. Buses to Santa Cruz are operated by many different companies, and you can usually find one heading that way from Santiago every 15 minutes for roughly 4,000 Chilean Pesos (7 USD) one-way. My journey was an easy, comfortable 3.5-hour trip and a short 15-minute walk from the bus stop to the hotel. Renting a car, from what I understood, is fairly simple and might be something to consider if you want to tour the surrounding wine region at your own leisure. Should you choose the option of renting a car, Hotel Santa Cruz also offers ample secure parking.
The Room and the Amenities
The attentive and multilingual staff set the relaxing tone as soon as I set foot in the lobby of HOTEL SANTA CRUZ. The design of the hotel was carefully thought out – all the traditions, culture, and influences of the surrounding region were represented in every piece of furniture, every painting, and in the details of the architecture.
The mountain and lake region of Patagonia, the desert region of San Pedro Atacama, and the Polynesian influence of Easter Island seemed to be carefully infused into the design of this extremely luxurious hotel. I could tell that the owner took pride in the hotel, and for me it was a great way to visualize what Chile has to offer a traveler.
The suite was perfectly yet simply decorated with all the desires a honeymoon couple would want. From the comfortable king size bed, large private balcony, the two person Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom, and a comfortable living area, I would definitely consider this a great setting for a romantic escapade.
As a honeymoon guest, I was welcomed with a bottle of champagne and some chocolate covered strawberries, which I enjoyed on the private balcony later that evening. No complaints there!
Easily the coolest thing about HOTEL SANTA CRUZ is that a museum that is part of the grounds. The Colchagua Museum is said to be one of the most complete museums in all of CHILE. I spent a few hours touring the museum on my own, wandering through the many different exhibits, rooms, and dioramas. I felt as if I were taken on a voyage through the history of the earth, as the History and Development of Arms, Coaches and Carriages, Agricultural Machinery, and the Railroad were some of the topics represented. My absolute favorite part of the museum was the section that was dedicated to the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners. There was a life size replica to walk through, which gave me a sense of what the mine used to look like and how it might have felt to be trapped inside. Extremely cool, yet intense!
There are also several other museums, located offsite, that are run by Carlos Cardoen, the owner of Hotel Santa Cruz. The in-house hotel tour operators can help you book a shuttle to these museums or to one of the many other attractions nearby. I was able to visit the Automobile Museum, which was located at the bottom of the entrance to the Santa Cruz Winery in the Lolol Valley, about a 20-minute drive from the hotel. Its vintage car collection includes cars from the 1890’s to the 1980’s. There is even a DeLorean that was used in the Back to the Future movies.
Whether I was sitting poolside under the traditional Rapa Nui hut, at the bar, or in the dining room, the food exceeded my expectations by far! Up until this point, to be perfectly honest, my stomach was not too impressed with the Chilean cuisine. I was getting ready to post on my social media channels that Chile is the place for outdoor activities, nature, and wine, but not for foodies! However, Hotel Santa Cruz changed that with the first bite of ceviche I ate for an afternoon snack. To accompany the ceviche, I highly recommend a chardonnay sour; it’s extremely refreshing on a warm day sitting poolside.
For dinner, I highly recommend the conger fish with the traditional Chilean Salad accompanied with a glass or two of the Gran Reserva Chaman. Be sure to save room for dessert as well! After the meal, I was almost ready to drop down on one knee to propose to the 26-year-old sous-chef.
Another mouth-watering dish to try is the Pastel de Choclo. This is the Chilean version of shepherd’s pie, and I believe it’s comprised of ground corn and meat, chopped onions, small pieces of chicken, hard boiled eggs, and olive raisins, all baked together in a clay bowl. Fantastic!
Santa Cruz Winery
No trip to this region of CHILE would be complete without visiting a winery, and the owner of HOTEL SANTA CRUZ has his own vineyard. Vina Santa Cruz produces aromatic cabernets, a citrusy sauvignon blanc, and a smooth rose. Naturally, I tried all of them.
The Vina Santa Cruz is located in the Lolol valley and is about a 20-minute drive from the Hotel; you can organize transportation at the hotel’s in-house tour operator. The landscape was fantastic, and the knowledgeable tour guides informed me on the types of wine that come from this region, and how they are produced. Be sure to buy a bottle or two of the Carmenere, as this cabernet is only produced in Chile.
There is also a lift that will take you to an amazing vantage point which allowed me to take in the entirety of the surrounding land and the vineyards. On top of the hill, there is an observatory and a few exhibits and dioramas that pay tribute to all the regions of the vast country.
HOTEL SANTA CRUZ definitely understands the word luxury, and I highly recommend planning a romantic getaway there!
Note: I was sponsored by Hotel Santa Cruz, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.