LAN Chile (www.lan.com) flies nonstop to Santiago from New York's JFK, as well as from Los Angeles, Dallas and Miami, with overnight departures that arrive in the morning. Business class is spacious, with full-flat sleepers and generous pourings of top Chilean wines.
The country's seasons are the opposite of North America's. Spring begins in September; cruises to Antarctica sail from October to April. Ski season is mid-June to early October.
Time: The entire country is on a single time zone, which is the same as Eastern Standard Time in the U.S.—9 a.m. in Chile is also 9 a.m. in New York and Miami.
The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago (www.ritzcarlton.com) has a great rooftop pool and bar area that is crowned by a curved glass dome that showcases the skyline on one side and snow-capped Andes peaks on the other. Here, management can provide helicopter excursions to Lodge Andino, one of the country's premier nature sanctuaries, for a day of heli-hiking in summer and heli-skiing in winter. Contact general manager James Hughes ([email protected], 56-2-470-8510).
The Grand Hyatt Santiago (www.santiago.hyatt.com) is an urban resort in a park-like setting. It underwent a $10 million renovation in 2005. Contact Ximena Diaz Crovetto, director of sales and marketing ([email protected], 56-2-950-3280).
Dining In Santiago
Patio Bellavista (Pio Nono 73, Constitución 40-50, Providencia, Santiago, 56-2-777-45-82 or 56-2-777-47-66) is a complex of restaurants, coffee bars and pubs around an open plaza ringed by more than 50 art galleries and handicrafts and jewelry shops, several of which feature Chile's native, deep blue lapis lazuli.
Aqui Está Coco (La Constitución 236, 56-2-235-8649) has been serving a long list of seafood favorites for more than three decades, and is equally popular with locals. Housed in a turn-of-last-century villa, the main floor dining room gets loud and crowded; make reservations for your clients in the more private wine cellar.
The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago features two restaurants, the formal Addra and the more contemporary Wine 365. As the latter's name implies, your clients can dine there every day for a year and try a different vintage Chilean wine each time.
Anakena at the Grand Hyatt is a market-style Thai restaurant: Guests choose their fresh and uncooked fish, meat, seafood and vegetables and how they want it all prepared.
Hotel Portillo (Renato Sanchez 4270, Las Condes, 800-829-5325) is a 90-minute drive from Santiago, part way on a highway, the rest on a two-lane mountain road with multiple switchbacks, up to the legendary ski resort high in the Andes. Accommodations are available only during ski season, but the restaurant is open year-round. Opt for the terrace, overlooking a glacial lake guarded by 17,000-foot peaks, and stay for the sunset.