August 9 2013
Palacio Astoreca hotel,
a Corner of Paradise
At the heart of the fabled Cerro Alegre, a wind of change is blowing across the Palacio Astoreca Hotel:
a palace built in a Victorian style with a few Art Nouveau touches has come together with the contemporary architecture of Mathias Klotz to move into its present without denying its past.
A home, coupled with a legendary monument, which reappears on a terrace above the bay of Valparaiso. Celebrated by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, Valparaiso means ‘the Valley of Paradise’ (Val Paraiso), and whether its the beauty of the natural setting or the charm of its colorful houses staggered on the steeped hills, this peaceful Chilean city is utterly captivating.
Restored, this Victorian stately home built in the 1920’s was recently converted into 23-room hotel under the expert eye of Chilean architects Mathias Klotz, Renzo Alvano and Pablo Riquelme. A formiddable trio.
It must be said that the former palace built in 1923 by a Croatian mining and shipping tycoon for his elegant English wife Constance Wadworth – who was suffering from homesickness – was quite unique to begin with: it deserved to be surpassed whilst bringing it back to life.
Acquired in 2009 by a Helvetic-Chilean couple – Vincent Juillerat and Francisca Joannon – the Hotel Palacio Astoreca quickly resumed its pedigree, helped by a substantial 5 million dollar facelift. And to awaken this sleeping beauty, it needed a visionary. In this case, there was nothing like a touch of modernity at the hands of Mathias Klotz to resurrect the spirit of the palace whilst firmly anchoring it in the twenty-first century!
The grandeur of its façade splashed with striking red and white contrasts with a minimalist indoor pool; its moldings and bay windows highlighted by Art Nouveau motifs engage with the contemporary suspensions designed by Tom Dixon. The Palacio Astoreca Hotel is a premier example of how mixing genres can evoke the best of two eras and even two worlds.