Mendoza Trip Report #10: Arriving in Santiago

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The next day, Miguel picked us up and took us to the airport. He was very patient too as we were running a little late due to power outages.

Once on our short flight, I again reveled in the abundance of overhead space. I’d rushed us into line, even when I wasn’t sure they were calling our rows (since my Spanish is terrible), to make sure we had space for our suitcases, only to again board and see tons and tons of space.

The flight was uneventful, except I think crossing the Andes is always an event, it’s so beautiful.
View of the Andes flying Mendoza to Santiago

We went through immigration, customs, etc and emerged to find our driver from the Hyatt waiting for us. It was a short walk (past the Holiday Inn) to the parking lot and we were soon seated in the Mercedes Van, sucking down the complimentary bottled water (it was hot).

Complimentary water in Grand Hyatt Transfer

Our driver was awesome, he was full of helpful information on the way to the hotel, like what kinds of food we should seek out – go for the seafood, avoid the beef if you want Chilean food since all beef is from Brazil or Argentina – restaurants we should visit—that’s the street you should turn down if you want market food, etc – even helping us with timing of when our return car should be scheduled.

Since the car was being charged to the room, not cheap at $75 but much easier than a taxi at more than half that, we weren’t sure what to do about tip when we arrived since we had not yet acquired Chilean money. He made it easy because he clearly wasn’t looking for anything.

I’d cashed in an extra 2,000 Hyatt points a night for a club room, 10,000 points total, so we were escorted up to the lounge on the 16th floor for check in. It was right at noon when we arrived, and our room was not yet ready, so we waited in the high ceilinged lounge looking out on the smoggy Andes for our room to be ready. It wasn’t clear if it would be ready in 15 minutes or 3 hours and we wanted to change clothes before sightseeing, so we sat. When it was finally ready an hour and half later, we went in desperate search of food.

Downstairs we asked a Hyatt representative where we should go for a late lunch. After making him understand we needed something quickly and were not up for a 15 min cab ride, he suggested the Mall and it’s various food courts next door. What about someplace here in the hotel? “No, not here.” Later we discovered the wisdom in his response as lunch options started at $20USD.

So we hoofed it down the sidewalk to the mall which was about a 10 minute walk. The food court had almost every US chain you could think of, each with a line at least 8 people deep. Tired, hungry, and fearing the pressure of a language barrier with so many people waiting behind us, we decided to go for a sit down restaurant. And since I’ve always loved Ruby Tuesday’s salad bar, we went there.

Yes, that’s right. We arrive in Santiago and I choose Ruby Tuesday. And I will never regret it! Because not only were my fajitas better than the ones I get here, but I had the most amazing glass of wine. The menus were all in Spanish, our waitress spoke almost no English, so I just picked the most expensive glass on the list. $5USD.

It comes, I take a sip, I stare at it. It turns out I’d ordered a very incredible Tarapaca Gran Reserve Carmenere. Quite possibly the best value for a chain restaurant I’ve ever had.

We wandered back to the hotel and decided to catch up on our rest and email instead of trying to cram in a few hours of site-seeing. At 6PM, we wandered two doors down to the lounge to grab some snacks, some wine, and stare at the night lights of Santiago. Service was slow, but the sushi was fantastic. When the lounge closed, we went downstairs to the lobby bar and drank sparkling malbec from their oversized arm chairs.

Previous Posts:

Mendoza Trip Report #1 — IAD-MIA
Mendoza Trip Report #2 — Element by Westin Miami Airport
Mendoza Trip Report #3 –MIA -(Caracas?)- SCL
Mendoza Trip Report #4 — Holiday Inn Santiago Airport

Mendoza Trip Report #5 — SCL-MDZ

Mendoza Trip Report #6: Day 1 of Wine Tasting
Mendoza Trip Report #7: Park Hyatt Mendoza

Mendoza Trip Report #8:Day 2 of Wine Tasting
Mendoza Trip Report #9: CarinaE, the Vines, and Amazing Food


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