June 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)International Focus Santiago

For a Chile reception: The Crowne Plaza Santiago
For a Chile reception: The Crowne Plaza Santiago

Santiago has witnessed soaring international business thanks to Chile’s strong economy, the city’s reputation for safety, and ample meeting and convention space. Natural beauty also provides a draw: The perennially snow-capped Andes create a dramatic backdrop to the city’s towering glass buildings. With thriving ski resorts, a world-renowned wine industry and large swaths of pristine wilderness all nearby, Santiago also is becoming a jumping-off point for leisure and adventure travelers.

Over the past year, the 155-room Plaza San Francisco Hotel opened a new business center equipped with five flat-panel PCs. The property also added new exercise equipment in its fitness club. In addition, an interactive Web site was launched, featuring information about Chile and 360-degree views of the hotel’s rooms and event spaces.

The 300-room Crowne Plaza Santiago recently completed a $10 million upgrade to its public spaces and guest rooms, including the addition of new technology such as data ports for Internet access. Over the next two years, the hotel plans to spend $2 million building a new facade and enhanced reception area.

The 307-room Carrera Hotel last year finished a string of renovations to its meeting rooms, rooftop restaurant and second-floor lobby. A new eatery was added, along with a business center featuring high-speed Internet access. The property’s meeting facilities are now equipped with the latest video-conferencing technology.

Las Condes
The 205-room Ritz-Carlton, Santiago, the chain’s first property in South America, opened in May. The $45 million, 15-story hotel features a two-story rotunda-style lobby. Other highlights include a Mediterranean restaurant, a wine bar, two meeting rooms and a 3,500-square-foot ballroom. The rooftop gym offers panoramic views of the Andes mountains.

With its new 192-room tower, the InterContinental Santiago now has a total of 295 guest rooms. That figure includes 51 club-floor rooms, 17 suites and one presidential suite. A convention center also was added, offering 16,146 square feet of meeting space.

The two-year old Espacio Riesco is one of Chile’s largest meeting facilities. With more than 86,000 square feet of exhibition space, the center easily can accommodate up to 5,000 people. This year, the property began construction on a $2 million Expo Center that will accommodate trade shows. In 2005, the venue will add a pavilion large enough to host international fairs. With simultaneous translation services and cutting-edge technology, the facility is one of Chile’s most advanced convention centers.

The 126-room Radisson Ciudad Empresarial will open next April. The property will be the first hotel in Ciudad Empresarial, an up-and-coming business area in the heart of Huechuraba. Among the highlights will be cutting-edge meeting rooms, a 20-seat boardroom and a ballroom with capacity for up to 500 people. A business center also will be offered.

• By Bruce Myint IMAGE
Lisbon’s 194-room Pestana Carlton Palace Hotel, formerly the Palácio Valle Flor, opened last year. The main building, a national monument, was restored to its grand 19th-century ambience, and two wings were added to house the guest rooms. The property has 15 meeting rooms, a fitness center, formal gardens and an outdoor pool. (011) 351-291-209100; Back to Newsline
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