Obviously, there was no way I could write about Portillo in only 700 words. If you’re still with me on day three, thank you! I hope that means you’re inspired to go to this amazing, historic and unique resort.
Today, I’m sharing a few of the tricks and tips we learned at Portillo to make your visit even more special and comfortable, whether you’re with friends, family or enjoying time alone with your spouse.
Tips and Tricks
1. Befriend Your Housekeeper.
In the hotel, each floor has a lead housekeeper who will take excellent care of you. On the fourth floor, we had Ingrid, who deserves a special shout out. She not only put up with our bad Spanish, but was unfailingly friendly each time we saw her.
Bathrobes, or batas, are available on request from your housekeeper, as are humidifiers. Get both. And then, at the end of your stay, tip your housekeeper generously.
Actually, the same goes for the entire staff. The ratio of staff to guests at Portillo is 1 to 1, and you’ll the staff both relaxed and friendly and professional. There’s a tipping guide in each room. It’s worth following the recommendations.
2. Stretch It Out.
Even if you’re sleeping late and lunching long, your ski days will be long at Portillo. Take advantage of the evening stretching and yoga classes.
A good strategy? Visit the outdoor hot tub and pool, stop by the sauna and then hit the 5:45 p.m. stretching class in the well-equipped gym. Yoga follows at 6:30. Massages are also available to help with sore muscles.
3. Bring the Right Layers.
It was warmer at Portillo than I expected and when I go again, I’m taking a shell, with several layers to put under it, rather than a winter ski coat. Equivalent in latitude to San Diego, the days are longer and sun stronger at Portillo than you may expect.
The climate is also very dry. Bring plenty of chapstick and lotion.
History at Every Turn
In 1966, Portillo hosted the first World Cup championships, or Campeonato Mundial de Esqui, making Portillo the home of modern ski competition and putting Portillo on the world skiing map.
As you walk through the hotel, you can’t help be struck by how much history has taken place within its walls and on its slopes.
Photos of world cup and Olympic racers, and the banners of national teams, line the walls of the lower levels, while higher up in the hotel, there’s a museum worth of black and white photos, and fashion shoots from the 1960s.
Like many famous, historic resorts, Portillo is on many a skier’s bucket list. Having been just once, for just one week, I’m thoroughly convinced that Portillo is not so much a bucket list destination as a destination that becomes a tradition. Even if we don’t go every year, we will definitely go back.
I can’t think of a better summer vacation.
When You Go…
A week at Portillo isn’t cheap, although it is a good value in terms of the included food, lodging and skiing.
Many people book almost a year out and start planning and saving even earlier. Or, as a friend put it, “Skiing at Portillo is worth all the beans and rice we’ve been eating.”
Although most guests stay in the hotel, there are other less expensive options including the Octagon Lodge and the Inca Lodge. The Octagon rooms sleep four in basic bunk beds with a private basic bathroom. Meals for Octagon guests are provided in the dining room.
Inca Lodge rooms also sleep four, and have shared bathrooms. Meals for Inca Lodge guests are provided in the cafeteria. Rooms in both of these lodges can be reserved for only 2 or 3 people with an up charge.
For all rooms at Portillo, the season is divided into low season (mid-June, late August and September), regular season (late June and all of August) and high season (all of July), with rates varying accordingly.
There are also weeks when one child skis free (mid-June and all of September), as well as one week when all kids ski free (the last week of the season around October 1st).
Ground transportation is available from the Santiago airport and booked through the resort.
And if you purchase a ski week for Summer 2015 before December 31st, you can lock in this season’s pricing.
There are direct flights to Santiago from several North American cities, including Dallas, Miami, Atlanta, New York and Toronto. Chile is in the same time zone as New York.
Don’t blow off this intriguing city!
We spent only 24 hours there and wished we spent a bit more. The city is vibrant, and active. We took an 8 mile walk up and down Cerro San Cristobal in the center of the town and were stunned by the number of people cycling, mountain biking, running and walking – despite heavy rain.
We stayed nearby at the Lastarria Boutique Hotel, in the Lastarria neighborhood. Not only were we greeted with a lovely hot breakfast after our overnight flight, but we also enjoyed the included tea time and a really beautiful, comfortable room.
For dinner, we had an incredible experience at BocaNariz, a nearby wine bar where the service is spectacular and never pretentious, the wine list was mind-boggling and the food was delicious.
- Why Ski South America?, April 17, 2013.
- Plan Now for Summer Family Skiing at Portillo, Chile, October 6, 2014.
- No Kids, No Problem: Portillo For Couples and Friends, October 9, 2014.
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