Puerto Madero is home to some of the more expensive hotels in Buenos Aires. With its new construction and wide expanses, it feels somehow isolated from the rest of the city. The hotels in this neighborhood are near the restaurants of Puerto Madero's historic dock district, so you'll never want for places to dine at night. The sunset in Puerto Madero is a magnificent sight: The water in the port turns a fiery red and the city's skyline is magically silhouetted, adding a touch of romance to an area that by day can seem clinical and desolate. A drawback is that the neighborhood lacks good subte access -- Alem on the B Line is the only metro stop close by -- so taxis are the most convenient means of getting around.
The Microcentro is an ideal place to stay if you want to be close to Buenos Aires's shopping, and because of the many subte lines in this area. Theater buffs will also appreciate this location because most performance spaces, including Teatro Colón, are within walking distance. Many local travel agencies seem to cluster in the vicinity, which can be convenient if you want to make last-minute changes to your itinerary. Low-cost Internet and telephone centers are everywhere, too. If you arrive in Buenos Aires without any reservations, come to this neighborhood; the density of hotels means you won't have to wander long before finding something.
Monserrat borders San Telmo but is more easily accessed by subway than the latter neighborhood. Monserrat is distinguished by old, turn-of-the-20th-century buildings similar to those in San Telmo, as well as enormous mid-century, Fascist-style government buildings along its border with the Plaza de Mayo. While Monserrat, like San Telmo, is rapidly gentrifying, parts of it can be desolate and a little dangerous at night, so use caution and avoid empty streets.
I find San Telmo the most romantic and Porteño of Buenos Aires's touristy neighborhoods. San Telmo is rapidly gentrifying, so it's not as dangerous as in the past, but you still need to be cautious here at night. Most hotels here are hostels, B&Bs, or boutique hotels, an expanding category. The area is most easily accessed by stations on subte line C, which runs along Avenida 9 de Julio, and these can be a slightly long walk from some accommodations.
Most of the best hotels in Buenos Aires are in Recoleta, a very scenic, Parisian-style neighborhood. But if you stay here, you'll probably find yourself spending more money on cabs; the neighborhood is not conveniently accessible by any of the subte lines, except in areas bordering nearby Barrio Norte. (Of course, if you can afford to stay in Recoleta, then the extra cost of taxis might not be an issue for you!) Public transportation aside, Recoleta is exceedingly beautiful, and staying here puts you close to the Recoleta Cemetery and Evita's grave, as well as the parks and museums of nearby Palermo, which are best accessed by cab to begin with, no matter where you are coming from in the city.
Barrio Norte borders Recoleta, though some people -- especially real estate agents and hotel owners -- claim it is actually a part of it. However, the area is distinctly busier and more commercialized, with more of a middle-class feel than upscale Recoleta. Its main boulevard is busy Santa Fe, full of shops, restaurants, and cafes. This can make staying in Barrio Norte noisier than Recoleta, but still less so than the Microcentro. You also have easy metro access in this neighborhood.
Congreso is a historic district that surrounds the building Congreso, at the western terminus of the Avenida de Mayo. In addition to Congreso, the neighborhood contains other grand and imposing buildings, some almost imperial in scale and design. While there is a lot to see in the area, it can seem desolate and seedy at night, especially in the Congreso Plaza, which serves as a hangout for the homeless. The intense government police presence in the area, however, means that, in spite of appearances, it is relatively safe at night. With increased tourism to Buenos Aires, many hotels and other establishments are beginning to move into this neighborhood.
Tribunales encompasses the area surrounding the Supreme Court building and Teatro Colón, which borders the Corrientes theater district. It's full of government buildings and is close to the Microcentro's shopping, but is far less noisy than this neighboring area. Its most important feature is Plaza Lavalle.
Palermo Viejo is divided into two sections: Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood, with Juan B. Justo as the dividing line. This is the trendiest part of Buenos Aires, yet it still retains a small-neighborhood feel, with its old low-rise houses, cobblestone streets, and oak-tree-shaded sidewalks. This is where the newest and most fashionable boutique hotels are located, and for the young and chic, it can be a great place to stay. Subway access is not the best, however.
Abasto lies outside of the city center: along Corrientes, but beyond the theater district. Historically, it's associated with singer Carlos Gardel, the country's greatest tango star of the 1920s and 1930s. The area, along with the bordering neighborhood of Once, is also the historic home of Buenos Aires's Jewish communities. This neighborhood is anchored by the enormous Abasto Shopping Center, which is home to many places of interest to families with kids, such as the Museo de los Niños.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.