Santiago: firsthand tips for visiting Chile's capital: insights and advice from Daniel Picciotto, president of Colombia-based PDC Vinos y Licores Ltda., and Jose Luis Portela, general manager of the Chilean subsidiary of Spain's Telepizza.

Author:Bradley, Ruth
Position:ON THE ROAD: SANTIAGO, CHILE - Interview

L.T. What do you like most about traveling to Santiago?

Daniel Picciotto: As a frequent traveler, I appreciate the efficiency of the city's airport and the fact that it's easy and fast to get from there to downtown and the hotels. The roads and highways are fantastic which also means you can visit places outside Santiago. I love the weather. In winter, you can ski on weekends and then drive to the oceanside in the late afternoon. And, of course, if you are a wine lover, Chile is a place you want to visit.

Jose Luis Portela: I'm currently based in Santiago but I travel a lot and I really appreciate Santiago's marvelous climate, especially the summer with its long, sunny but not overpoweringly hot days and pleasantly cooler nights. It also has a privileged location, just an hour by car from both the beach and several ski centers. The main shopping malls and the Alonso de Cordova neighborhood are excellent for shopping, with a variety of top-quality brands and products.

L.T. What do you like least?

Picciotto: Santiago's air is very polluted, especially in winter. Traffic can sometimes be a problem but this is true of many capitals around the world.

Portela: The smog in winter. I also dislike the rather aggressive way people sometimes drive.

L.T. What are your preferred hotels when on business?

Picciotto: I'm a big fan of the Sheraton Four Points. It's well located, has great service and the price is unbeatable (Disclosure: Picciotto belongs to a group that is part owner of this hotel). The Sheraton Towers has a great swimming pool and so does the Hyatt.

Portela: One of the hotels I can recommend is the W. It's set apart by its location, decoration and atmosphere. I'd also recommend the Hyatt with its great facilities and attentive service.

L.T. What restaurants do you recommend?

Picciotto: For fancy dining I like to go to El Europeo, which has a classical French menu. Da Carla is a classical Italian restaurant...

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