The Magnolia – Buenos Aires, Argentina (25-28 Mar 2011)

There are countless online resources and reviews describing why Buenos Aires, Argentina is a worthy visit. Here are three modest reasons : people, history, and free-range pampas-raised beef.

My friend, Duane, was about to end his three-month stay in Buenos Aires, and before he left for New York City, I flew out from Chile to meet him in the BA for a weekend at the end of March.  I’d visited the Argentinian capital before, and I wanted to see the city a second time, this time through his eyes. Needless to say, the weather was warm, the skies were clear, and there were frequent “beer o’ clock” sessions complete with nachos.

My initial choice of accommodation was fully booked by the time I got around to make a booking – too bad, so sad! However, the following hotel was highly recommended online, and the following text and photographs provide some reasons why I’m recommending this hotel as well.

Staying in Palermo Soho

Located in Palermo Soho, the Magnolia hotel is a boutique hotel in the middle of a safe quiet neighbourhood. With the hotel address on Avenida Alvarez, the street is still made up of cobblestone; it appears a number of other cobblestone roads in the area still have old rail-track remaining in the middle of the “pavement”. Various apartment buildings and other hotels and hostels are also located in the vicinity. First constructed in 1892, the building in which the hotel resides was wholly renovated in the late 1990s. The LinkedIn description states:

The hotel represents a long house tradition of the city. It was built in 1892 and remodeled in order to preserve its essence and architecture, combining antique furniture with contemporary design. We want every guest feel at home, in a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, enjoying design and quality service.

I ended up with one of the two patio rooms on the ground floor. With a high ceiling and a glass door leading to the shared patio outside, the spacious room filled easily with bright morning light. The room itself would have been plenty and comfortable with two. Additional rooms were found in two floors above, and on the roof was an outdoor patio, complete with couches, a fire pit, torches, and the makings for a bar.

There did not seem to be many guests at the hotel, but given the limited number of rooms and the start of the “shoulder season” (early-fall at the end of March), this was not going to be a problem at all. At times, I felt as if I was the only guest, and the hotel was entirely mine. Then again, I saw five other guests over the duration of my stay.

Daily breakfast (included with the room rate) consisted of milk, fresh squeezed juice, tea, coffee, bread, croissants, jam, dulce de leche (caramel), yogurt, cereal, and eggs. Free WiFi was also available throughout the hotel; given the location of the router on the ground floor, I couldn’t receive any signal in my room. Fortunately, I only had to step out a few short steps outside my room, where I could feed my habit by checking in with people and e-mail on my wireless device. For more extensive searches (e.g., booking my taxi back out to Ezeiza airport), the hotel provided free of charge for its guests a PC laptop and printing services.

The staff was very helpful, with maps, brochures, and suggestions about what to do in Buenos Aires, and with whatever reservations needed to be made. Although the front-door was always locked, reception was also staffed at all hours of the day; at night, it only took a quick press of the call-button outside for someone to open the front door. My thanks, especially, go to Jesica, who was very helpful with my initial reservation online, my subsequent questions by e-mail, and my questions and requests in person during my short stay.

The location of the hotel in Palermo Soho was very practical, for the availability of bars, restaurants, and shops.

About 10 minutes by foot to the northwest on Avenida Costa Rica got me to Plaza Armenia, where the number of bars and restaurants began to ramp up. Another few minutes away on foot was Plaza Serrano (also known as Plazo Cortázar), where people flocked evenings and weekends to this hive of vendors, boutiques, more shops, more bars, and more restaurants.  As Duane was staying at an apartment in Palermo Soho, it made a lot of sense to stay in the area.

To reach the metro underground or Subte, we walked northeast along Avenida Ortiz (past an increasing number of more expensive looking shops) to one of the major thoroughfares Avenida Santa Fe. Hopping into station Scalabrini Ortiz, we took trains on (green) line D, where each trip cost 1.10 pesos (or less than $0.30 US).

To end my visit, we had an excellent steak dinner at Parilla La Cabrera in Palermo Soho. I have two additional recommendations. One: call and book ahead, and don’t just show up at the restaurant thinking you’ll be seated. The folks at the restaurant speak English and they’ll be happy to reserve a table for you. Two: you really don’t need an appetizer, starter, or a salad; the mains/entrees all come with a large number of cold- and hot-side dishes, including sauces and vegetables; I counted at least eight sides.

In short, the Magnolia Hotel is a beautiful hotel which combines centuries-old tradition of European architecture with modern furnishings, without sacrificing service or style. The hotel is ideally located with shops, bars, restaurants, and the metro all within walking distance. While the website also contains great photos of the hotel, all photos I took (see below) provide a little more about the appearance and atmosphere, both day and night.

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No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions Disclosure: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions. I have not received any compensation for writing this content and I have no material connection to the brands, topics and/or products that are mentioned herein (cmp.ly/0).

HL, first posted: 0045h GMT, 18 Apr 2011. Minor edits and additions; consistency of tense: 0850h GMT, 18 Apr 2011. Ed. modified Duane’s website: 0425h GMT, 23 Apr 2011.

Published first on Posterous, this post now appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.

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