Small inns and homeowners in Santiago, Chile picked up at a bargain lamps, extra towels and elegant old chairs, purchased at auction earlier this year when the 17-story Hotel Carrera--built in 1937 and which hosted kings and presidents on visits to Chile over the years--closed its doors.
A stone's throw from the presidential palace, the Carrera could not survive the shift of many businesses away from the city's center. A strong economy and the promise of global free trade has fueled a new round of hotel construction away from the polluted downtown, including a US$100 million Hilton slated to open in 2005.
"Chile has the most settled economy in Latin America," says Eduardo Fahrenkrug, regional director of operations for Crowne Plaza hotels.
The city's luxury hotels, including the Marriott and Inter-Continental, tout their...