It’s possible to take a red-eye into Santiago and head south that same day. But because traveling throughout Patagonia involves schlepping across considerable distances by air and road, stretching one’s legs via an overnight in Chile’s capital before venturing on is, we think, advisable.
Stay at the centrally located Singular Santiago (rooms from $280; Merced 294; 56-2/2306-8820; thesingular.com), which opened last January. The sister property to the Singular Patagonia has 62 guest rooms and suites decorated with neoclassical French art and a cream-and-gray color palette. Book a larger Singular Room.
Start the day at San Cristóbal Hill, a public park that rises about 1,000 feet above Santiago and has nice city views. From here, drive to Vitacura, which was once a strictly residential neighborhood but has transformed into an upscale hub with good restaurants, shopping, and art galleries. For lunch, try the empanadas and a pisco sour at Mestizo (Av. Bicentenario 4050; 56-9/7477-6093; mestizorestaurant.cl), where the outdoor patio overlooks Bicentennial Park, with pink flamingos in a pond. Or, although it’s a chain, La Mar (Av. Nueva Costanera 4076; 56-2/2206-7839; lamarcebicheria.cl), from Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio, is the locals’ spot for ceviche. After lunch, tour some of the half dozen or so contemporary-art galleries in the area, like Galería Patricia Ready (Espoz 3125; 56-2/2953-6210; galeriapready.cl).
The Singular is in the Lastarria neighborhood, which has a pedestrian walkway lined with lively restaurants, many with outdoor seating. For dinner, walk to nearby Bocanáriz (José Victorino Lastarria 276; 56-2/2638-9893; bocanariz.cl), a low-key wine bar known for its list of nearly 400 bottles of Chilean wine. Ask a sommelier to pair a tasting flight with the flavorful short ribs. For those with an early flight the next morning, ask the Singular for breakfast to go. Flaky, buttery pastries and granola can be packaged up or the 20-minute ride to the airport.