The lodgings that we list are the cream of the crop in each price category. All hotels listed have private bath unless otherwise noted. In Chile, a national rating system is used, classifying hotels on a scale of one to five stars. The rating is determined by SERNATUR, the national tourism agency, and is based on the services offered and the physical attributes of the hotel and its property. The system is somewhat perfunctory, however, and doesn’t allow for true qualitative analysis.
It's always good to look at any room before accepting it. Expense is no guarantee of charm or cleanliness, and accommodations can vary dramatically within one hotel. If you ask for a double room, you'll get a room for two people, but you're not guaranteed a double mattress. If you'd like to avoid twin beds, ask for a cama matrimonial.
Hotels in Chile do not charge taxes (known as IVA) to foreign tourists. When checking the price, ask for the precio extranjero, sin impuestos (foreign rate, without taxes). If you are traveling to Chile from neighboring Peru or Bolivia, expect a significant jump in prices. Also, note that you can always ask for a descuento (discount) out of season or sometimes midweek during high season.
Youth hostels in Chile are not very popular, perhaps due to the prevalence of residenciales and other low-cost lodging.
Chile's urban areas and resort areas have hotels that come with all of the amenities that are taken for granted in North America and Europe, such as room service, a restaurant, and a swimming pool. Elsewhere you may not have television or a phone in your room, although you will usually find them somewhere in the hotel. Rooms that have a private bath may have only a shower, and in some cases, there will be a shared bath in the hall. In all but the most upscale hotels you may be asked to leave your key at the reception desk whenever you leave.
Private homes with rooms for rent, residenciales (also called hospedajes) are a unique way to get to know Chile, especially if you're on a budget. (Many rooms cost less than US$30 per night.) Sometimes residenciales and hospedajes are small, with basic accommodations and not necessarily in private homes. Some will be shabby, but others can be substantially better than hotel rooms. Staying in these types of accommodations allows you to interact with locals (though they are unlikely to speak English). Contact the local tourist office for details on residenciales and hospedajes.
If you spot motels while road tripping in Chile—often recognizable by their palm trees and love hearts signage—you should think twice before heading in for a night cap. Motels in Chile are usually pay-per-hour love hotels and range from seedy or shabby to colorful themed rooms.