Experiencing Easter Island and thinking about the implications of its lost civilization was a wonderful experience although it raised many unanswered questions. Returning to Santiago, I stayed three nights in Marriott’s Renaissance Santiago Hotel before the mileage run flight back home.
This hotel occupies a privileged location in the Vitacura neighborhood just off Avenue Presidente Kennedy, one of Santiago’s most important thoroughfares. It is a 25 minute drive from Arturo Benitez International Airport. The hotel’s best features are the club lounge and spa/fitness center.
Reception and concierge desk
I had two hotel rooms for this stay. I booked the cheapest standard room but as a Marriott Ambassador I was eligible for an upgrade at check in to the best available room, including standard suites.
A suite upgrade was unavailable for the first night. The last two nights I was assigned to a Junior Suite. Both rooms were just down the hall from the club lounge.
Club Level Queen Room
Queen rooms are 30 sqm in size. They are basic but satisfactory in all respects.
Club Level Junior Suite
The second day I moved to a junior suite.
This hotel has three types of suites. At 42 sqm, junior suites are the smallest. They are essentially one large room with a partial wall separating the living and sleeping areas. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook Vitacura and the Andes mountains a short distance to the west.
The bathroom is next to the sleeping area.
All rooms have a safe, coffee and tea service, slippers, robe, and minibar.
This junior suite is far from the nicest suite upgrade I’ve received. Nevertheless, it feels like winning when you pay for the cheapest room in the hotel and wind up with a suite with lounge access.
Anyone can access hotel lounges by paying for a room that comes with that privilege. Those rooms, however, are usually significantly more expensive than rooms of the same size and amenities that do not include lounge access.
Access to a club lounge is free for those with Marriott Platinum status or higher. Except for Ritz Carltons, as long as the property has a lounge, Platinum members have access. Suite/room upgrades are very valuable, but they depend on occupancy and (in spite of program terms and conditions) the hotel’s honesty in making available suites available.
The lounge provides full breakfast, midday snacks, afternoon tea, soft drinks, evening light meals and alcoholic beverages, comfortable sitting areas, reading materials, TVs, a business center, and great city and mountain views. It is open everyday from 06:30 to 21:30.
Lounge breakfast saves $20/day which is what the restaurant charges for the breakfast buffet. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that at hotels like this one that have good lounge buffets, instead of trying local restaurants I’ll often use the lounge for dinner and evening adult beverages. It’s easy and saves money.
Another feature of this lounge and all of the rooms on the club level are outstanding view of the Andes and the neighborhoods of Vitacura and Las Condes.
The lounge has great staff. The attendant always greeted me by name, asked if there was anything I needed, and made sure all requests were fulfilled.
The Elential Spa offers an array of treatments and services including massages, body scrubs and wraps, and facials.
My primary interest was the fitness center. It has all of the equipment for a complete workout and more.
Nearly all chain hotels have a swimming pool. The Renaissance Santiago hotel meets that requirement, and it is one the rare hotels with a steam room, sauna and whirlpool. Treating yourself to one or more of those facilities is soothing therapy after a workout!
Scoring Free Marriott Suite Upgrades and Lounge Access
Would you like free suite upgrades and lounge access at Marriott hotels? Those perks come with achieving Marriott Bonvoy Platinum status or higher. There are five ways to become Platinum:
- 50 credited nights at Marriott properties in a calendar year,
- Marriott credit card spend,
- Vacation ownership,
- status challenges,
- status match.
Getting 50 credited nights in Marriott hotels is a tall task for many but not as hard as it first sounds. Holders of any one of several Marriott credit cards receive credit for 15 nights each year (30% of the requirement). Plus, the Chase Bonvoy Premier card awards one night credit for every $3,000 in spend.
You can reduce or eliminate the number of nights required at Marriott hotels through a Marriott status challenge or status match. Contact Marriott to ask about challenges and matches. Currently, achieve Platinum status by completing only 16 paid nights at Marriott properties within 90 days of enrolling in the challenge.
Marriott also periodically matches equivalent status in other programs. For example, if you have status with Hilton or Hyatt call Marriott to see if it will match. A couple of years ago without staying any nights I used Starwood Platinum status to receive top status with Hilton and Hyatt.
You can even attain Platinum status without staying at a hotel. The Marriott Brilliant Card from American Express comes with Gold Bonvoy status and bestows Platinum status on cardholders who are fortunate enough to be able to put $75,000 in spend on the card in a calendar year.
Marriott Vacation Club and Vistana are affiliated with Marriott. Owners in those programs who meet certain conditions are rewarded with various levels of Marriott elite status.
I will strongly consider staying at the Renaissance Santiago hotel the next time I visit Santiago. It is in an excellent location in a prosperous urban neighborhood, close to public transportation, shopping, restaurants, and the main business district. The lounge and spa/fitness center are among the best I’ve seen in a moderate luxury hotel. All staff interactions were 10s. Rates vary day to day, but for this stay the rate was less than the nearby Courtyard Marriott Las Condes. I stayed at that hotel before going to Easter Island and will review it next.
Is it worth it to have elite status with a hotel program? Do you have any preferred hotels in Santiago?