Hot Spots To Stay

Hotel Winebox in Valparaiso, Chile: South America’s First Hotel Made of Recycled Shipping Containers

After four nights in Patagonia, I flew back to Santiago and immediate took a transfer from the airport to Hotel Winebox in Valparaiso. It’s a little over an hour from the airport. I had booked a transfer with the hotel in advance and highly recommend doing that for easy transportation. It was after 10 p.m. when I arrived at this one-of-a-kind hotel. It’s Chile’s first hotel made of shipping containers, in fact, it’s the first hotel in South America to be built from recycled shipping containers and over 75% of the hotel’s structure is from recycled materials. Its colorful exterior was part of what attracted me to reserve a room on Booking.com. The other factors were the reasonable price and well, being a wine lover, I’m always down to stay in any hotel with a wine theme.

After checking in, I was escorted to my room, which was up several flights of stairs. As I would find out the next morning, everything is either up or down stairs and hills in Valparaiso. I was blown away by how cool my room was. The decor was stylish, yet not overdone. As soon as I walked in I was already wishing I had more than just one night at Winebox. If I would have been able to stay longer, I would have bought one of the bottles of wine in my room and enjoy the vino from my balcony overlooking Valparaiso and the ocean. Every room in the hotel has a great sea view. Winebox is up on a hill in Cerro Mariposa, close to La Sebastiana, the former residence of Chilean poet Pablo Nerudo, rather than in the historic quarter. With the protests happening in Chile on a regular basis, I was happy to not be directly in the middle of town. I loved the use of reclaimed wood in the bathroom especially the wine bottles used for lights. Valparaiso is known for its street art and that spills over into the rooms at Winebox. I also really like the electronic keypad for room entry that you set up with your fingerprint and create your own code, which Grant, the owner of Hotel Winebox, set up for me after showing me the unique features of my room, Box 34, the Tempranillo Room.

Before turning in for the night, I sat out on my balcony and enjoyed the twinkling lights of the seaport city, including the glow of the lights on the old sail canvases used for a covered area of the hotel on the first floor. I found the salty air, light sea breeze and soft lights soothing. It didn’t take long and I was in la-la dreamland snug in the comfy bed with the blackout shades drawn. When I woke up, I was surprised how little of the outside world I heard. I slept like a rock.

In the morning, with coffee in hand, I got a better view of the 25 containers making up the hotel. From my balcony, I could see the King Suite’s balcony and immediately noticed the chairs and sofa made out of old bathtubs. Just about everything around me was something upcycled into a new piece of furniture or decor. I eased into the day enjoying coffee with a view.

I headed up to the rooftop for breakfast, which was included in my stay. The rooftop decor is colorful, funky and its filled with furniture made from recycled materials like chair mades out of barrels and tables made from pallets. The buffet was packed with yumminess from eggs to cheese to plantains and fresh fruit. It was a leisurely breakfast with a view, even on a cloudy and slightly foggy morning.

After my morning exploration of Valparaiso, I raced back to Hotel Winebox to honor a noon check-out. I did take a few moments to take in the view and cool room again before heading back downstairs. The staff is so nice and accommodating. I had a little over an hour before my driver was to pick me up. I was able to leave my luggage at the hotel while I ran out for a quick lunch before departing.

As I was leaving, I truly was wishing for a longer stay in this unique hotel. I’d stay at Hotel Winebox again in a heartbeat!

Author Jennifer Broome loves finding unique places to stay, especially ones promoting sustainable tourism. She traveled through Chile on a solo journey. Check out some of her other blogs including Solo in Santiago.