Gabriel O’Rorke

Correspondent

  • Santiago, Chile, South America

Gabriel O’Rorke is a correspondent based in Santiago who covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. A multimedia journalist working in broadcast, print and online, O’Rorke started her career in TV and has worked for ABC News, BBC World Service, HARDtalk and Bloomberg TV. She treks across the globe but specializes in Latin American travel. You can find her articles in a range of publications, including the Financial Times, Daily Mail, Tatler, Conde Nast Traveller (UK), Wallpaper*, CNN Travel and Lonely Planet Traveller.

  • On February 25, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best hotels in Santiago?

    @TheAubrey Santiago has a couple of great boutique hotels, and a handful of big name chain hotels (Ritz-Carlton, The W etc.). To see the best of Chile's capital city, these three hotels are the cream of the crop:

    The Aubrey:
    Set on the edge of Parque Metropolitano, this charming hotel is like an island floating in the bohemian district of Bellavista. Outside the gates, the buzzy neighborhood is full of restaurants, bars and street art; but enter The Aubrey and all you hear is cascading water and birds chirping in the surrounding greenery. Open since 2010, this 15-bedroom boutique hotel is made up of two 1920s mansions. A dark wooden paneled staircase runs through the main house, brightened up by Art Deco furniture on the landings. Bedrooms are split between the two mansions, and an outside block near the pool (ask to be in the house if you like more traditional decor and the pavillion rooms if you prefer space and a feeling of independence). A cobbled terrace joins the restaurant and piano bar, with outdoor seating next to an aqueduct-like set of arches, above which sits the swimming pool. The food is international with a Chilean twist, and the smoked rainbow trout with squid ink risotto is especially good (and I could eat tubs of the pea puree). Don't miss the artisan ice creams for pudding, the chocolate and dulce de leche go down very well with an espresso.
     
    Lastarria:
    Another 1920s townhouse, Lastarria is also pretty new - it opened in 2011 and sits on a corner of a leafy street in the (you guessed it) Lastarria District. The 14 bedrooms are more traditional, with antique furniture reminding you of times gone past. Food is served in a cute cafe with seating in the internal terrace away from the hustle, bustle and cars. Lastarria is a great district to explore with bars, cafes, boutiques and street stalls aplenty.
     
    Noi Vitacura:
    Noi Vitacura is often overshadowed by The W, but I find this Chilean-owned hotel a little more personal. There are 87 rooms - so it's still pretty spacious - plus there are four restaurants including a roof terrace with an outdoor pool. Unlike the smaller boutique hotels, there's a spa and fitness area. Stripes are a defining feature - either from sunlight filtering through the wooden blinds, or on the Italian bed linen.
     
  • On February 18, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best local dishes in Santiago?

    @SantiagoAdventures From shellfish to sausages, here are some of the city's best local dishes:

    Seafood: With 4,000 miles of Pacific Ocean bordering Chile, many dishes include fish and shellfish - think soup or stew with clams, mussels or a fillet of conger eel. Head to the Mercado Central near Plaza de Armas where you can see and sample all kinds of seafood.
     

    Humitas: These are maiz cakes wrapped in corn husks, steamed or boiled. Found only in summer, they are a great snack found in markets and street stalls.

    Cazuela: Chunks of meat or chicken with vegetables (corn, pumpkin and onion) in a clear broth. This local delicacy is found in markets and restaurants.

    Mote con Huesillos: Almost every street corner has a stall selling this cold juice with dried peaches and sugary poured over barley. Sounds strange, but it's refreshing and nutritious (if a little sweet).
     


  • On February 13, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best hotels in Santiago?

    @TheAubrey In my humble opinion, Santiago's best hotels are as follows:
     
    The Aubrey:
    This charming 1920s townhouse underwent a three-year renovation and emerged in 2010 as The Aubrey Hotel. The result is two historical mansions joined together to make a 15-bedroom boutique hotel. Situated in Bellavista below Cerro San Cristobal, there's almost a country feel to this city hotel (on particularly warm days you can even smell the zoo which gives an added element of authenticity!). A dark wooden paneled staircase runs through the hotel, brightened up by Art Deco furniture on the landings. There's a cobbled terrace outside the restaurant and the garden is split on two levels, with the pool on the upper one.
     
    Lastarria:
    Another 1920s townhouse, Lastarria is also pretty new - it opened in 2011 and sits on a corner of a leafy street in the (you guessed it) Lastarria District. The 14 bedrooms are more traditional, with antique furniture reminding you of times gone past. Food is served in a cute cafe with seating in the internal terrace away from the hustle, bustle and cars. Lastarria is a great district to explore with bars, cafes, boutiques and street stalls aplenty.
     
    Noi Vitacura:
    Noi Vitacura is often overshadowed by The W, but I find this Chilean-owned hotel a little more personal. There are 87 rooms - so it's still pretty spacious - plus there are four restaurants including a roof terrace with an outdoor pool. Unlike the smaller boutique hotels, there's a spa and fitness area. Stripes are a defining feature - either from sunlight filtering through the wooden blinds, or on the Italian bed linen.
     
  • On February 12, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What is the best way to see Santiago in one day?

    @TurismoChile If you're set on seeing Santiago in just one day (I highly recommend staying longer if you can) then best get the experts on board so you don't waste valuable time with your head in a guide book.
     
    Santiago Adventures are the guys to get on the phone. They have two top trips (plus bilingual guides) which you can combine, or take your pick from:
     
    1: City Tour
    You'll be picked up at your hotel and whisked off to see the key historical sites - Plaza de Armas, La Moneda Presidential Palace and Mercado Central (one of Chile’s largest fresh seafood markets). Next you’ll go to the lesser-known barrios (neighborhoods) including República and Concha y Toro, once home to Santiago’s 19th century elite. Next up is Barrio Lastarria and a trip to the Bellas Artes Museum. For a panoramic vista of the city, you will whizz up Cerro San Cristobal Hill, after which (time and energy permitting) you can visit La Chascona, Pablo Neruda’s house.
     
    2: Foodie Galore
    It’s one thing ticking off the main sites in a city, but another key part of getting to know a country is sampling the food. It’s got to be done. And what could be better way than lunch at home with a local chef? Santiago Adventures will deliver you on the doorstep of Maria Eugenia Terragno, former executive chef of Chile’s national airline, LAN. First up is the essential pisco sour aperitif, which you can sip away at - beware, it’s slips down very easily and is stronger than it looks - as Maria Eugenia prepares lunch.
     
    If you can’t choose between the two, then lunch with Maria Eugenia can be changed into dinner (so long as you can scrape together a group of 6 or more). The best part is dinner is a food and wine pairing quaffing wines by MOVI (Movement of Independent Vitners).
  • On February 12, 2013
    Kim Atkinson is now following Gabriel O’Rorke
  • On February 12, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    Where is the best shopping in Santiago?

    ©Turismo Chile When it comes to shopping in Santiago, first we have to talk about the Costanera Center. Newly opened in June 2012, this is South America's biggest mall. And it's got everything: supermarkets, restaurants, a cinema, clothes shops - from Armani and Hugo Boss to Banana Republic and Zara - and even a gym.
     
    You can find anything here. Anything at all. But enter Costanera, and you could be anywhere in the world. This says good things about how developed Santiago is, but it's a far cry from 'boutique', 'artisan' or 'authentic'.
     
    For boutiques, explore the small shops in Lastarria and Bellavista. Here you’ll find one-off pieces, quirky trinkets and open-air market stores. For homegrown fashion, Hall Central in Lastarria stocks a whole host of up-and-coming independent designers.
     
    For artisan crafts, Pueblito Los Dominicos in Las Condes has a series of stalls selling ceramics, glasswork and fabrics. If going by metro the nearest stop is Escuela Militar, and it’s open 11am - 7.30pm Tuesday to Sunday.

    Lastly, if you’re looking for Santiago’s ‘Fifth Avenue’, then Barrio Vitacura has the answer in Avenida Alonso de Córdova where iGucci and Hermès sit alongside chic cafes so you can refuel in style. 
  • On February 12, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    What are the best attractions in Santiago?

    Pablo Neruda’s house, La Chascona - image courtesy Tourismo Chile In a city as diverse and sprawling as Santiago it's hard to pick the 'best' attractions, but here are two top picks:

    1: La ChasconaPablo Neruda's House
    Barrio Bellavista is the neighborhood selected for a city dwelling by Chile's famous poet, diplomat and Nobel Laureate, Pablo Neruda. He built it in 1953 as a gift for his lover, Matilde Urrutia - La Chascona was Pablo's nickname for Matilde (a Quechua word meaning 'tousled', as in hair) and so he gave the house the same name. Packed with artifacts and trinkets, an afternoon exploring La Chascona gives a small insight into the mind of this iconic man.

    2: Mercado Central 
    Although Santiago's historical fish market has become more of a tourist spot over the years (seeing prices rise), it's still an experience not to miss. Built in 1872, the indoor market is a maze of 'fragrant' fish stalls cum restaurants. Choosing where to lunch brings on a severe case of 'grass is greener', but bite the bullet and pull up a pew... just don't ask the waiter what he suggests - I made that mistake and was given a bowlful of gruel worthy of Dickens with floating bits of non-descript meat. Stick with something simple, however, and you will find yourself eating the finest, freshest seafood.  
  • On February 12, 2013
    Gabriel O’Rorke answered the question: Gabriel O’Rorke

    Where is the best shopping in Santiago?

    ©Turismo Chile When it comes to shopping in Santiago, first we have to talk about the Costanera Center. Newly opened in June 2012, this is South America's biggest mall. And it's got everything: supermarkets, restaurants, a cinema, clothes shops - from Armani and Hugo Boss to Banana Republic and Zara - and even a gym.
     
    You can find anything here. Anything at all. But enter Costanera, and you could be anywhere in the world. This says good things about how developed Santiago is, but it's a far cry from 'boutique', 'artisan' or 'authentic'.
     
    For boutiques, explore the small shops in Lastarria and Bellavista. Here you’ll find one-off pieces, quirky trinkets and open-air market stores. For homegrown fashion, Hall Central in Lastarria stocks a whole host of up-and-coming independent designers.
     
    For artisan crafts, Pueblito Los Dominicos in Las Condes has a series of stalls selling ceramics, glasswork and fabrics. If going by metro the nearest stop is Escuela Militar, and it’s open 11am - 7.30pm Tuesday to Sunday.

    Lastly, if you’re looking for Santiago’s ‘Fifth Avenue’, then Barrio Vitacura has the answer in Avenida Alonso de Córdova where iGucci and Hermès sit alongside chic cafes so you can refuel in style. 
  • On February 8, 2013
  • On February 8, 2013
  • On February 8, 2013
    Joseph Reaney is now following Gabriel O’Rorke
  • On February 4, 2013
    Veby Arya is now following Gabriel O’Rorke
  • On January 28, 2013
    Jason Heard is now following Gabriel O’Rorke
  • On January 24, 2013
  • On January 23, 2013
    Tom Flournoy is now following Gabriel O’Rorke