You love Buenos Aires and so does everyone else. Inflation and the massive influx of tourists to the city have made hotel bargains hard to find. Most hotel prices have bounced back to what they were before the peso crisis or even climbed higher. Still, bargains can be found, especially at off-the-beaten-path hotels, and at locally owned rather than international hotel chains. Hotels often fill up in high season, so you should book ahead, even if only for your first night or two. Then, if you're not happy, you can change accommodations once you're on the ground.
Most four- and five-star hotels in Buenos Aires provide in-room safes, 24-hour room service, cable TV, direct-dial phones with voice mail, in-room modem access or Wi-Fi, and many other amenities. The competition between hotels on this level can be intense, so they renovate and add amenities often. Many also have superb health clubs, pools, and spas. Even if you are on a budget, I recommend splurging for 1 or 2 nights if you find a five-star property you really like.
If you're trying to save money, you will need to compromise, as not all two- and three-star hotels have the above-mentioned amenities (though air-conditioning and even lobby-based Wi-Fi access have become virtually standard in hotels throughout Buenos Aires, regardless of rating). At less expensive hotels, ask to see a few rooms to help you choose the best option available. Many recently renovated hotels have a lot of internal variation, with huge and small rooms sometimes going for the same price.
Local hotels, especially if they are family run, have a certain charm that is rarely rivaled by four- and five-star properties. Be aware, however, that while many people in Buenos Aires's travel industry speak English, fewer will at the less expensive or family-run hotels. While rooms in these hotels might not have certain amenities, such as hair dryers, irons, or coffeemakers, you can usually request them at the concierge. Safes, too, are often kept at the front desk. Always ask for a receipt when leaving valuable items at the front desk (or at least find out the name of the person who locked them), and whether keys for access are only available during certain hours of the day.
Hostels offer individual spots in shared bunk-bed-filled rooms and are usually booked by the young, budget-minded, and adventurous. However, some also have private rooms with attached bathrooms, so ask before you decide a hostel isn't for you. All of the hostels listed in this guide provide sheets and towels and have 24-hour access, with no shutout periods.
Prices listed are rack rates in high season and include the 21% tax levied on hotel rooms countrywide. Discounts are almost always available on weekends at business-oriented hotels and during low season at all hotels, and may even be available during high season in some cases. Web packages and specials can also be found on various hotel websites. Check www.priceline.com or Spanish-language www.despegar.com for bargains, and always ask hotels if there is a better rate than the first offered, or if your AAA card, student ID, or other discounts might apply. Most hotels offer valet parking for an additional fee or can recommend self-parking facilities close by. You should avoid parking on the street long-term. Few hotels have tour desks, but all concierges and front desks can arrange tours, offer advice, and rent cars, bicycles, and other things you might need.
I've given exact prices for hotels and placed them within general price categories by neighborhood. Very Expensive refers to hotels costing $400 or more per night. Keep in mind that some hotels in this category do not serve free breakfasts, which can increase your costs even more. Expensive hotels go for roughly $250 to $399 per night. Moderate hotels run from about $100 to $249 per night. Inexpensive hotels are $99 per night and less; this category also includes hostels, which may charge as little as $12 per night for a bed. Quality and offerings vary considerably in this price category.
For long-term stays, I have also listed apartment rental services. Prices will vary according to company, location, and length of stay, but this is generally a cheaper option than staying in a hotel.
B & B in Buenos Aires = Beautiful & Bargain-Priced
Buenos Aires has a growing number of intimate, chic bed-and-breakfast-type guesthouses for $40 to $100 a night. Unlike American B&Bs -- which are so often fusty and cluttered with bric-a-brac and cats -- those in Buenos Aires tend to have hip, young owners with clean, cosmopolitan taste. While you won't get five-star luxury, private guesthouses are often nicer than hotels charging three or four times the price. You can also get to know the owners and other guests. Many offer weekly or monthly rates. We recommend Che Lulu, Emilio Zolá 5185 (www.luluguesthouse.com; tel. 11/4772-0289), the lovely La Otra Orilla, Julian Alvarez 1779 (www.otraorilla.com.ar; tel. 11/4863-7426), and Cabrera Garden, Cabrera 5855 (www.cabreragarden.com; tel. 11/4777-7668). See individual websites for additional information and prices.
Apartment Services In Buenos Aires
Hotels are not for everyone. Maybe you want a place where you can come and go as you please. Maybe you want a space where you can throw parties while you're in town. Maybe you're independent-minded and want a better idea of what it feels like to live in Buenos Aires as a local, especially if you're thinking of making the big leap and moving here like tens of thousands of expats. Apartments allow you the opportunity to do all of that. Contact each company directly for exact terms, prices, payments, and services. A few words of caution: Recently, crime targeting foreign apartment-renters has gone up, especially coming from the airport, as most apartment-rental companies demand a huge amount of cash up front. It's a good idea to work out payment by credit card or PayPal, or in installments. Also, keep in mind that hotels have concierges and guards, and many buildings, unless they have a doorman, do not, so there is a certain amount of vulnerability involved in living in an apartment. That said, this is a great window into living like a local.
Expats in Buenos Aires
An estimated 25,000 to 50,000 American expats live in Buenos Aires, along with a nearly equal number of Brits, and a smaller number of Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders. A number of websites can help you connect with other expats and find out about local parties, including www.LandingpadBA.com, www.baexpats.org, www.expat-argentina.blogspot.com, www.discoverbuenosaires.com, www.yanquimike.blogspot.com, www.everydayinbuenosaires.com, www.movingtoargentina.typepad.com, www.gaysawayinba.multiply.com, and www.expat-connection.com. Spanglish or Beerlingual (tel. 11/15-4042-5001; www.spanglishexchange.com) offers social networking and language-learning events. If you're planning on moving to Buenos Aires long-term, the apartment recommendations in this section can help you take the plunge, but if you plan to set up a business or buy property, be sure to contact your local Argentine Embassy or Consulate for proper paperwork.
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.