Category Archives: Hotels

hotel-babel-front-of

Hotel Review: Hotel Babel, San Telmo

Swoop’s own Harriet stayed came back from a Patagonia trip recently where stayed at the Hotel Babel in San Telmo, Buenos Aires.
Here she reviews the facilities and general feel of the place.

Located in a 200 year old building in the San Telmo district a stone’s throw from Plaza Dorega.
A combination of old and new features creates a very funky but comfortable setting.

Hote Babel, San Telmo_13

Soft clever lighting softens the dark wood that lines the walls.
The reception is hung with pictures from their artist in residence. A role given to emerging artists who each take a month turn. This month’s artist was Pedro Padulla.

DSC_0038

The 9 rooms are on the ground and first floor, set around a courtyard. Tall 2.5m high doors  with shutters guard each door. The rooms all have  an ensuite bathroom with hot powerful shower and  plenty of mirrors.  Suite rooms have kingsize bed whilst standard rooms have queensize.

Hote Babel, San Telmo_7
I arrived very late at night and a sandwich and bottle of water had been made for me which was very considerate. The staff were all bright and bubbly and incredibly helpful.
This gave the hotel a really homely feel.
Need to Know:
  • Breakfast is served between 8-11 and included a choice of eggs, toast, spreads, fruit cereal, teas and  coffee.
    Hote Babel, San Telmo_12
  • It is spotlessly clean and the service was good.
  • English was spoken.
  • The rooms are equipped with ac, tv, safe, hairdryer, plug sockets for C and I, desk, wardrobe.
Screenshot (158)

Hotel Review: Legado Mitico


This luxury hotel offers a totally unique hotel experience. The door onto the street is unassuming with just a small plaque to suggest that the hotel is even there. The reception desk is manned by just 1 gentleman, and then behind a curtain leads into what is a cosy lounge and library.

Library

The library’s collection is really impressive with books by distinguished authors from all over South America, historical editions of books from Argentinean authors such as Martin Fierro – the classic tale of the Gaucho.

The hotel rooms all have a different name (rather than number), theme and decor. They are extremely comfortable with great attention to detail to all the decorations, furnishings and facilities.
Screenshot (159)

On my latest visit I stayed in the room called ‘La Primera Dama’, ‘The First Lady’ which is a room totally themed around Evita Peron. The touches are subtle but include, photos of her life, a cabinet above the bath of replica possessions and a bodice with pearls above the fireplace.

There are 3 categories of rooms – classic, deluxe and superior – for more details about the room categories, please just ask.

MitCompFood

The hotel doesn’t have a bar in the traditional sense but drinks and snacks are served upon request from reception in the lounge, library area – all guests are invited to a glass of wine in the library on arrival. The hotel has a spacious outside garden/terrace on ground level (and a sundeck on the roof which is really rather too small to mention).

MItHot

The hotel has a great location in Palermo Viejo (Soho), positioned just 4 blocks from the Subte (underground/subway) with pavement cafes and restaurants just a stone’s throw away – See ‘Restaurants Blog for more details.

This hotel is great for those who seek a unique, luxury, hotel experience which will add to your stay in this bustling city rather than just being a place to rest your head.

Tierra Chiloe Ex

Hotel Review: Tierra Chiloe – Where luxury meets authenticity

Sally returned from her trip in Patagonia and came back with even more knowledge about the region. Here she talks about the luxurious Tierra Chiloe.

Tierra Chiloe Ex 2

The hotel itself is an extremely impressive wooden building, perfectly designed to create comfortable spaces inside, create the most of the incredible view, yet be totally unobtrusive to the landscape. Set high up on a hill, surrounded by rolling countryside, the hotel looks out onto the one of the many channels that surround the Chiloe Archipelago.

Inside the decor feels very authentic with wooden furniture, woolen throws over the chairs, woven baskets and even fun little touches such as wooden pigs that have been turned into seats!
Tierra Chiloe Int

All the rooms have floor to ceiling windows and are located on the 2nd floor making the view just that bit more impressive. The rooms are made entirely of wood which gives them the feel that you’re in a wooden cabin.
The room has charming touches such as woollen Chilote slippers for all its guests, a metal water bottle for each guest (which can be refilled from containers in the reception), wooden pegs and with the bed looking straight out to sea to give you the sensation that you’re on a boat.

Tiera Chiloe bedroom

As I sit writing, tucked away in a hidden corner of the gardens of the hotel, looking out onto the still bay with the yellow autumn trees reflecting perfectly, I can hear the bird calls of the mischievous ‘chucao’, the green-hooded fire crown (hummingbird), the oystercatchers on the beach below and many more. Across the bay I can hear a farmer rounding up his cattle and the sound of oars, dipping in and out of the water as a local fisherman rows home his catch.
The peace and tranquility is utterly mesmerising.

Dinner is served from 8pm, starting with a pisco sour and a few appetizers whilst sat in the lounge. There is a lovely atmosphere as the hotel manager, Andres, does the rounds to ensure that all the guests have had a good day and jazz or folkloric music is played subtly in the background. On check-in or at breakfast, guests choose their dinner with 2 choices for each course (guests choose their dinner when they check-in or after breakfast as everything is made to order).

Excursions

Each day there is a choice of two excursions which are either full day or half day. The excursions are either vehicle based including some short hikes to places of cultural interest and natural beauty or can involve longer hikes and kayaking.

Wiliche

The gem of the hotel though is the ‘Wiliche’, the wooden boat. The boat goes out every other day and the hotel ensures that all clients are able to take at least one excursion by boat. There are three different routes that the Wiliche takes but each excursion includes the opportunity to go kayaking, do excursions in a small zodiac or do some short hikes. Lunch is served on board – canapes, a salad and quiche and fresh fruit was on the menu the day I sailed aboard the Wiliche. Delicious.
On the boat

On arrival guests are given a briefing of all the excursions, how they work and are given a half day arrival option such as horse riding, or a visit the the nearby village of Dalcahue or Rilan.

The location, interior, service and attention to detail really is 5* in the luxurious lodge. If you are looking to immerse yourself in local culture and beautiful scenery but not scrimp on the comfort level, then this hotel would make a wonderful addition to any itinerary to Patagonia.

Would you like to read more about Sally’s day out on the Wiliche?

 

Screenshot (114)

Hotel Review: Mitico Puelo – relaxing, tranquil, idyllic

Sally returned from her trip in Patagonia and came back with even more knowledge about the region, along with some tales of bird watching, she wrote about her different experiences of hotels in the region.  Here she talks about the idyllic Mitico Puelo.

Mitico ex01

The Mitico Puelo lodge sits on the shores of the Tagua Tagua Lake, accessible only by boat which makes getting to the lodge an adventure in itself. The drive to reach the lake takes you past lakes, volcanoes and fjords giving you a feeling of gradually leaving civilisation behind and reaching somewhere very special indeed.

The setting of the lodge is utterly idyllic surrounded by steep sided, thickly forested mountains, emerald waters and an abundance of birds. At night the only noise is the wind whistling through the trees and the sound of lapping water.

On the lake.

The building itself is beautifully built with large wooden beams, spacious lounges, big windows, large landings and open staircases. The rooms and bathrooms are very spacious and those on the first floor have large wooden balconies that look out over the lake and gardens in front. The interior decorations and fittings are all a little tired and old fashioned but this sense of faded glory does some how add to its charm.
By the fire

As I sat eating breakfast I was fascinated to watch some ‘Green-Backed Fire Crowns’ – a hummingbird native to the area, gorging themselves on the fuchsia bushes in front of the lodge. Morning and evening, there was a roaring fire in the lounge, a lovely space to sit, relax and take in the view. Dinner was served from 8pm, a 3 course set menu of wholesome local dishes – although there is no choice as to the menu, they are very good at catering for clients with specific dietary needs.
Dining/ lounge

The staff live on site and have quite a relaxed approach but do ensure that all clients feel totally at home; this is obvious from the comments made in the guest book.

The lodge is a great base for fly fishing, a jumping off point to the Tagua Tagua National Park and other excursions by boat and on foot up the Puelo river valley. This is an area visited by little so you really do feel like you are getting quite far off of the beaten track.

Swimming

If you are looking for somewhere to relax, surrounded by incredible scenery with the possibility of some activities but not looking for 5* luxury or service, then this lodge is the perfect option; a rustic choice in an idyllic setting.

The Lost Lodge of Lago del Desierto

The Aguas Arriba Lodge, just 1 hour from El Chalten, is a treasure set away from civilisation and accessible by boat or on foot. There is no doubt that this in an exclusive experience and those that stay there are incredibly fortunate to experience such a stunning place. The hosts, Igor and Pato, are wonderfully welcoming and their smiles are forthcoming. It is like being welcomed into their little world and you can share their passion and excitement for the setting and surroundings of the lodge.

Swoop’s very own Harriet returned in March from her most recent research trip to Patagonia, during which she spent several days in El Chalten, making sure to pay a visit to Aguas Arriba on the way. Here she shares some of her photos and experiences of her time in this magical destination….

01 Picked up by Joakim and IvorYou’ll be picked up by Joakim & Ivor

02 and whisked across Lago del Desierto

…and whisked across Lago del Desierto.

03 if the weather is bad you can shelter inside

If the weather is bad you can shelter inside…

04 or simply get wet and enjoy the views

… or simply get wet and enjoy the views!

05 The aguas arriba lodge is nestled in the forest

The Aguas Arriba Lodge is nestled in the forest.

06 ...creep up to the hideout from the jetty

Creep up to the hideout from the jetty…

07.....where you can stretch out in front of the fire

…where you can stretch out in front of the fire…

08....and ice

…and ice.

09 The forests around the lodge are ripe for exploration

The forests around the lodge are ripe for exploration…

10 Whether you simply head to the beach for some fishing

…whether you simply head to the beach for some fishing…

11..... find somewhere to sit......

…find somewhere to sit…

12 ...or venture further into the forest

…or venture further into the forest.

13 Your hostess Pato will guide you.....

Your hostess Pato will guide you…

14...catch every view....

…ensure you catch every view…

15...learn about the different trees....

…teach you about the different trees…

16....scoff some berries

…and help you find some berries to scoff…

17 .....although she can't guarantee you'll see a woodpecker

…although she can’t guarantee you’ll see a Woodpecker!

18 Then it is back to the lodge..

Then it’s back to the lodge…

19 ....for a hearty meal...

…for a hearty meal…

20...and a siesta

…and a siesta.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 13.15.21

Luke Reviews Casita Chil-Hue, Chiloe

Britt and his wife have lived here for 15 years, and have built two cabanas and a couple of smaller lodges in the land around their home. You couldn’t ask for a host more knowledgeable of Chiloe’s history and culture and passionate about sharing it.
He cooks a great breakfast too!

I stayed in the Casita which would suit a family of 3-4 really nicely, with a beautiful bedroom, kitchen/dining area and a loft area that kids would love.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 13.16.03

I woke up here to wonderful views out to the Pacific, put on my trainers and took as little as twenty pace to reach the beach and enjoy a wonderful early morning jog. The beach lies on the northern coast of Chiloe and stretches all the way to the island’s second town, Ancud.
It was a beautiful morning and, as is the case all the way along the coastline of Chiloe I saw so many different birds and not a single human being.
Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 13.15.45Ancud is a 10 minute drive away, and given that the town has little to offer in the ways of nice restaurants and bars that’s probably no bad thing.

Use this as a base on Chiloe if you want:
peace and tranquility and wonderful hosts, just a few feet from the ocean

4940279_39_z

Luke’s Review of the Estancia 440, Puerto Varas

 

I stayed here prior to a wonderful 5 hour hike around Volcan Osorno and it felt very homely as part of a long trip when when I was on the road most days.
In some respects the name is a bit of a misnomer as this is a small town hotel with just a handful of rooms, however the decor and the photos on the walls ooze Patagonian gaucho culture. The architecture and design are also very much in keeping with the feel and aesthetic of the Chilean Lake District, with wood all around you. Each of the rooms is quite unique, and the public areas feel very welcoming.

407757_358605127490078_12185504_n
Chrissy (originally from Punta Arenas) turned this into a hotel three years, and runs it on a day to day basis, with her family are in the adjacent building, so everything feels very homely.  It’s a short 5 minute walk from the western edge of the lakefront with all of its cafes, bars and restaurants.
The internet was reliable than most places, and I was disturbed in the night by several dogs barking in the local neighbourhood, but somehow that didn’t really matter – this was a place to relax, even in the midst of a relatively busy itinerary.

Use this as your base in Puerto Varas Estancia 440, Puerto Varas if you want: small, welcoming and homely

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 11.06.43

Luke’s Review of Arakur Hotel, Ushuaia

Arakur is a new hotel up on Cerro Cortez, above Ushuaia. I stayed here after my trip to Antarctica and welcomed a bit of luxury after 10 days on a small expedition vessel. The hotel is about 15 minutes from the centre of town and several hundred meters higher up the mountain. This gives you spectacular views across the Beagle Channel. The light down here is amazing even from sea level, and from this position up on the mountain you have a view that will mesmerise anyone with an eye for Mother Nature.
Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 11.05.14
The hotel has only recently started receiving its first guests so they are still finding their feet when it comes to service; however you can already see that they are aiming very high in terms of the levels of attention they will provide their guests. It’s a large hotel but has some interesting and unique design features that make it feel a bit more boutique, and they’ve succeeded in giving it the feel of a classic Patagonia ‘Lodge’.
Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 11.13.17
The hotel has many selling points, but  the most important in my opinion is that this is, I think, the only hotel in/near Ushuaia from which you can walk straight onto beautiful hiking trails. They have 100 hectares of wildlife reserve (tbc) with some beautiful trails for walks of up to 3 hours. You will walk through Lenga forest to some spectacular views of the Valle Andorra, and the Glaciar Vinciguerra, and of course out across the Beagle Channel.
Having met their senior guide, I suspect that over time this may evolve into the number one base for day hikes around Argentine Tierra del Fuego.

Book a couple of nights here if you want: some well deserved comfort and luxury, and an opportunity to stretch your legs in the foothills of Tierra del Fuego.

foto1

Luke’s Review of La Campanilla, Ushuaia

La Campanilla, is a small owner-run hotel on the outskirts of Ushuaia.
I stayed here the night before my expedition cruise to Antarctica. As you enter La Campanilla the first thing you’ll see is a large photograph of Ernest Shackelton as his men in front of the ice-bound Endurance; especially thought provoking for anyone heading down to Antarctica. You also be welcomed by your charming hosts, whose photos of their own travels you can see up on the wall next to reception.

foto2
The rooms are cosy but comfortable and breakfast will stand you in good stead for a day ahead exploring the Tierra del Fuego national park. A taxi ride to San Martin in the middle of town costs around $7 and takes about 10 minutes.

Book a room here if you want: friendly and familiar, at a good price, and don’t mind being outside town. 

slide_1382994201

The Babel Suites, San Telmo, Buenos Aires

The Babel Suites are a relatively new addition to the lively (and still slightly edgy) San Telmo. As a result they offer pretty good value in the lower-mid range of hotels.  This was my base for my first night in Buenos Aires and it served me very well.

For those unfamiliar with the term ‘Suites’ the idea is for your room to be spacious, and some limited space and facilities for self-catering; so public areas are normally very limited.
In this case there’s a breakfast room and on the roof terrace a few tables and sun loungers, and a very small pool.

The rooms are nicely done with plenty of space, a sofa area, and a balcony overlooking the lively Calle Mexico.

slide_1382987233
NB: there are a few different properties in Buenos Aires with the name ‘Babel’; be sure not to confuse them.

Book a room here if you want: to stay in San Telmo, with a cool spacious room, at a good price.