by Michael J. Shapiro | May 08, 2017
Luxury hotel group Mandarin Oriental is readying its South American debut. The Asian hospitality company signed a contract to take over management of the Grand Hyatt Santiago, in the bustling commercial district of Las Condes in the Chilean capital. The 310-room hotel currently has a large outdoor pool and landscaped gardens, as well as five on-site restaurants, a spa and fitness center, eight meeting rooms and a ballroom that can accommodate up to 600 attendees.
 
The property will cease operating as the Grand Hyatt on July 31 of this year, at which point it will be temporarily rebranded as the Hotel Santiago. Following an extensive yearlong renovation of the guest rooms and public areas, it will become the Mandarin Oriental, Santiago, in August 2018. The property will remain open throughout the renovation.
 
In late 2018, Mandarin Oriental will embark on the second phase of the renovation, revamping the spa, food and beverage outlets, and event space.
 
The conversion is taking place as a result of differences between Hyatt Hotels and the building owners, Hotel Corp. of Chile, according to local online news source emol.com. Hyatt's initial agreement with HCC had called for additional properties that never materialized. Hyatt will continue to operate the Hyatt Place Santiago/Vitacura, also owned by HCC, according to the Grand Hyatt website, and looks forward "to a continued successful relationship."
 
Mandarin Oriental, meanwhile, looks forward to bringing its luxury brand to the South American continent; aspects of the newly designed hotel will be inspired by the company's Asian heritage. "We are delighted to be introducing the Mandarin Oriental brand to South America and to be bringing the group's legendary service to Santiago," said Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group's chief executive James Riley in a statement.
 
World of Hyatt members will not receive any program benefits for stays after July 31, but they can redeem free nights at the property as long as they are confirmed and booked by 11:59 p.m. on that date.