Casa Higueras - Valparaiso
Valparaíso was a stopover for 19th-century ships traveling between Atlantic and Pacific ports via the Strait of Magellan. European immigrants built grand mansions on steep hills and the city became renowned for its bohemian blend of ethnic traditions. After decades of neglect following the opening of the Panama Canal, 'Valpo' was named a UNESCO World Heritage site and is busy reclaiming its mojo. Atop Cerro Alegre ('Cheerful Hill'), Hotel Casa Higueras exemplifies the new standard. Its restoration tucked 20 spacious rooms (many with ocean-view terraces) into a former mansion's elegant craftsman-style interior with 5-star flair. Expect mod cons (keyless entry, noise-reducing windows) and plenty of pampering (double-sheeted linen, Belgian chocolates). A Mediterranean-style terraced garden cascades to an infinity pool. Step out to explore a maze of cobbled streets lined with homes painted a rainbow of vivid colors, or ride the century-old El Peral Ascensor (funicular) to the harbor.