Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts tagged ‘hotel’

The Magnolia, in Buenos Aires

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.

Img_8762
Img_8741
Img_8746
Img_8769
Img_8791
Img_8818
Img_8832
Img_9044
Img_9246
Img_9329
Img_9333
Img_9334
Img_9335
Img_9336
Img_9338
Img_9339

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

SFO International Terminal, Wikipedia by user Coolcaesar, CC3 license, fotoeins.com

10600 km and 47 consecutive hours of travel, door-to-door

A trip from North America to Chile typically takes 24 to 30 hours door-to-door, depending upon connections at a hub airport. The following is a tale of 47 hours of travel from San Francisco, California to La Serena, Chile.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

1030h PST (GMT-8), East Bay : BART from El Cerrito Plaza to SFO.  There’s a lot to like about BART rapid-transit, especially when the train goes through the tunnel beyond San Bruno and comes out onto a thin cement viaduct which appears to hang gingerly over US-101/Bayshore Freeway.

1230h PST, SFO (San Francisco Airport) : plane is late; scheduled departure delayed by 30 min.  It’s raining and the ceiling or cloud-deck is low over San Francisco airport – no big surprise there.

1400h PST, SFO : after some problems which had nothing to do with the plane itself, flight leaves 45 min late.  No problem; I’ve a scheduled 2.5-hour layover in Dallas.

1600h PST, in the air over eastern California : plane descends below cruising altitude, we’re told we’ve got a problem with cabin pressure, and we’re landing in Las Vegas.  No oxygen masks were deployed, and everybody was calm and breathing normally.

1645h MST (GMT-8), LAS (Las Vegas McCarran Airport) : Checkmark one – plane lands safely at Las Vegas airport.  The pilot explains there was slow pressure leakage, but they couldn’t localize the origin; for safety reasons, the pilot decided to descend and land.  All pax are asked to leave the plane, as firemen/safety crew board the plane.  Checkmark two – we get to leave the plane, and everyone’s in the terminal.

1730h MST, LAS : I call American Airlines’ call center to find out if there are other options, but since I checked luggage, the agent advises best to stay put and see what happens.  Besides, the daily AA945 DFW to SCL flight, which usually leaves at 9pm from Dallas and I thought I was going to miss, has been delayed by 11 hours to 8am the following morning.   Someone comments that it’s a holiday weekend in the U.S. about which I had completely forgotten.  Swell.

1930h MST, LAS : after a couple of hours of increasingly cautious optimism, we’ve the green light to fly onto DFW. We’re asked to board the plane “quickly”, as the present crew is about to reach their time-limit.

2030h MST, somewhere between Arizona and Texas : … zzzzz …

2330h CST (GMT-6), DFW (Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport) : plane lands at Dallas Fort-Worth airport.  Pax are given hotel/meal vouchers, and the weary folks pile into shuttles, and pour out into the lobby of the Ramada (DFW North).  Oh look, there’s a Denny’s, but I’m too tired to even think about chicken-fried steak and a milkshake. I’ll be up at 0530h to catch the 0615h morning shuttle back to DFW to see if I can catch my delayed morning-flight to SCL …

Friday, January 14

0630h CST, DFW : Time to check in.  The nice agent says my DFW-SCL portion was canceled when I called American Airlines call center from Las Vegas last night.  Yikes.  “No worry”, she says.  She calls a couple of people to get the proper seating codes, and she calmly types away, trying to insert my two final flight segments ‘back’ into the itinerary.  After about 15 minutes, there’s an “aha!” from her side of the counter, and I sigh with relief.

0830h CST, DFW : Flight AA945 is on its way to Santiago de Chile.  It’s just another step forward, even if the “step” is 7800 kilometres in distance. Completely uneventful flight, and zzzzz …

2015h CLST (GMT-3), SCL (Santiago airport) : Usually, flight AA945 is an overnight flight which arrives in Santiago after sunrise. The 11.5-hour delay has flipped the script. With a beautiful orange-hue to the early-evening summer sky, the plane lands safely in Santiago airport. Border control is a breeze (with my Chilean work visa), and my luggage is already on the carousel. So far, so good. My work-colleague P was also on the Dallas-Santiago flight, and thanks to his vastly superior Spanish, we try to get the attention of an AA agent to see if we can get our hotel/meal vouchers, because there’s no way we’re flying to La Serena tonight.  An agent tells us his colleague will be on their way shortly.  We head on over to the AA counter near the luggage carousels.  Another agent comes by about 15 minutes later, and asks us to wait in the terminal land-side, outside customs control.  Customs is a breeze, because I declared my one jar of strawberry jam : no granola, seeds, or turtle-shells.  And then we wait, and we wait some more …

2145h CLST, SCL : The second AA agent finally appears with our hotel/meal/travel vouchers, and we find out we’re staying at the Sheraton San Cristobal on the southeastern flank of the hill at the edge of Bellavista in Santiago.  We get our shuttle-vouchers verified, and we get multiple slips of paper for our shuttles to and from the hotel.

2230h CLST, SCL : After the usual wait about what shuttle we’re taking and about how full our shuttle is going to be, our vehicle finally leaves the airport.  As there are three other pax in the shuttle, I tell P we’re probably going to be last.   I was so happy to be wrong as …

2250h CLST, Providencia, Santiago : … we’re dropped off first, and we arrive in the hotel to check-in.  I ask the gentleman at the hotel counter if we can use our meal voucher at one of the hotel restaurants. No, unfortunately, the restaurants are closing in 5 minutes, but the bar is available. OK, whatever : dump stuff in room, head to the bar, please give me a burger, fries, beer. Eat, drink, be merry … zzzzzz …

Saturday, January 15

1030h CLST, Providencia, Santiago : Up at 10am, pack what little I unpacked.  After check-out, I finally get to see how the hotel appears in daylight – not bad, very fancy – nice pool, too, and are … those … Argentinian/Brazilian pool-bunnies? Sadly, before I learn the answer to this very important question, the shuttle arrives to take me back to SCL airport.

1200h CLST, SCL : At Starbuck’s in the airport’s national terminal for their free WiFi, I’ve begun collecting notes to write this story of hilarity.

1400h CLST, LSC (La Serena Airport) : Flight LA312 arrives in LSC early. At the 47th hour of travel, I’m in the apartment at long last: unwrapping, unpacking. I head outside to my green front-lawn, looking up into that bright glowing ball high in the sky. The sky is clear and blue, there’s a slight breeze off the Pacific, and the air temperature on this summer afternoon is a very usable +22C/72F. With a beer in hand, I finally begin to unwind, over 48 hours after leaving my friends’ home in the East Bay.

Less than 24 hours later, I’m on a shuttle up to Cerro Pachon. The mountain is at an elevation of 2800 metres (9000 feet) in the lower Andes, and I’m at the telescope to begin my nighttime duty-function shift for a number of nights. Them’s the breaks, and time to get right back to work, and tackle the 500+ messages in my work mailbox …

LAN plane on tarmac, LSC airport, fotoeins.com

This post was originally posted 17 January 2011, and appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-T.

%d bloggers like this: