We stayed at the Alvear Art hotel for three nights in late October on our trip to Argentina and Uruguay. We booked the standard studio room with two twin beds via Expedia at a cost of AUD $330/night including breakfast. We stayed at the sister hotel, the Alvear Palace for the first two nights of our trip and our stay at the Alvear Art was for the last three nights of the trip. Overall although we had some issues during our stay, they were resolved to our satisfaction and we ended up having a great experience.
We arrived at the hotel in the mid-afternoon after taking the Buquebus 'Francisco' ferry from Montevideo. A word of warning, for those arriving at the port it may be best to organise transport beforehand! We had assumed remis services would be readily available but instead found that there was a 40-minute wait. Uber was going to take just as long so we ended up having to take a regular taxi, something we had been trying to avoid for security but it worked out to be just fine. The hotel is located on Suipacha, which runs parallel to Av. 9 de Julio and wasn't too far from the ferry terminal. We were greeted by the receptionist Karim, who was wonderful and she helped us out quite a few times during our stay. We are Expedia +VIP members and the Alvear Art is one of the...We stayed at the Alvear Art hotel for three nights in late October on our trip to Argentina and Uruguay. We booked the standard studio room with two twin beds via Expedia at a cost of AUD $330/night including breakfast. We stayed at the sister hotel, the Alvear Palace for the first two nights of our trip and our stay at the Alvear Art was for the last three nights of the trip. Overall although we had some issues during our stay, they were resolved to our satisfaction and we ended up having a great experience.
We arrived at the hotel in the mid-afternoon after taking the Buquebus 'Francisco' ferry from Montevideo. A word of warning, for those arriving at the port it may be best to organise transport beforehand! We had assumed remis services would be readily available but instead found that there was a 40-minute wait. Uber was going to take just as long so we ended up having to take a regular taxi, something we had been trying to avoid for security but it worked out to be just fine. The hotel is located on Suipacha, which runs parallel to Av. 9 de Julio and wasn't too far from the ferry terminal. We were greeted by the receptionist Karim, who was wonderful and she helped us out quite a few times during our stay. We are Expedia +VIP members and the Alvear Art is one of the +VIP partners, so we had received an email a few days before arriving advising that we would receive a free bottle of wine on arrival. However much to our surprise we were also given a free upgrade from a Studio room to a Studio Premier room! The main benefit of the Studio Premier was that it was a larger room with larger bathroom. Karim took the time to provide us with some maps and circle the main points of interest in the area. The hotel also had proper concierge staff who could assist with more detailed enquiries. She also provided us with some vouchers for discounts at the hotel restaurant.
We were allocated a room on the 6th floor of the hotel. The room was definitely much larger than your standard city hotel room, with a large entrance area with plenty of closet space and a well-stocked minibar leading into a large rectangular room, with two oversized single beds, a desk, wall-mounted TV and there was still plenty of space for a coffee table and chairs. Unfortunately the only downside was that being on a lower floor we didn't have a view, instead our room looked out at what looked to be a residential apartment block. The bathroom was particularly large and luxurious with marble double sinks, a jacuzzi and a separate shower. The toilet and bidet were located towards the back end of the bathroom and had a separate frosted glass door to access them. The shower cubicle was nice and big and had a rainfall shower head as well. The TV was a smart TV with plenty of local and international channels as well as hotel information, room bill viewing etc. On the table beneath the TV was our complimentary wine, a vintage 2014 Malbec. There was also a little card saying they had another gift for us and to contact room service when ready for delivery. We got the gift delivered later that evening and it was a platter of cheese, fruits and nuts to accompany the wine. Overall we were really happy with the room and had no complaints. Housekeeping was good and they also offered nightly turndown service. They were happy to replenish any towels or toiletries during the turndown as well.
Wi-Fi was free and available throughout the hotel. The connection was reliable and fast, although I also had a local SIM with 4G data and ended up using that most of the time. The majority of the hotel's facilities are located on the top floor, where there was a well-equipped gym as well as a rooftop pool and spa. Both the gym and pool seemed very popular and offered great views of the city, definitely a workout with a difference!
The buffet breakfast was served at the hotel's Contraluz restaurant at the back of the lobby. The restaurant had both regular indoor seating as well as a section in the sunlight under a glass roof, which was nice and where we preferred to sit. The buffet was fairly extensive compared to what we had seen even at the Alvear Art's sister hotel and included fruits and yoghurts, cold meats, cheese, a reasonably large hot selection of bacon, tomato, chorizo, scrambled eggs and steamed vegetables. There was also a bakery table with lots of pastries, bread, cakes and croissants. Everything was of a high quality. The food was all self-serve, however the drinks were served to your table by the staff. The waitresses were all very friendly and attentive, keeping our juices and coffee mugs filled however to be quite honest I would prefer a self-serve station, even if only for the juices. For those who don't have breakfast included in their rate the cost is ARS $520 for the full buffet or ARS $360 for the continental, both of which are pretty steep. My recommendation is to go for it if you can get breakfast included in your package for a reasonable price, otherwise you'll probably do better at one of the local cafes.
In terms of dining in the area, there are some good restaurants along Suipacha which are worth a visit. Just a block down the road was Los Remolinos, a parrilla where we had plenty of meat, provoleta and French fries along with some nice red wine. Another restaurant close by was Natacha where we went for lunch one day. They had a wide variety of Argentine favourites including milanesas and of course, more parrilla. Prices were reasonable enough and servings are huge. Be careful when you're ordering meat, generally the servings willl be big enough for two!
The hotel is in a pretty central location and the main attractions are a short walk or taxi/Uber ride away. We used Uber when we could, UberX is available in the city although there weren't too many drivers and sometimes it took a while for a driver to show up. There is a Carrefour Express convenience store just two blocks down Suipacha on Av. Paraguay, where you can buy alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, snacks (be sure to stock up on alfajores here, they're priced at local prices and are a great gift to take back home!) and basic essentials for a reasonable price. Continue a few blocks further and you'll reach Galerias Pacifico, one of the most famous shopping centres in Buenos Aires. If you flash your Alvear room key card at the information desk at the shopping centre they will provide you with a discount booklet with lots of offers. In addition to shopping there is plenty to see at Puerto Madero, along Av. 9 de Julio and around the Casa Rosada.
We really wanted to go for a tango show and on our first night, Karim at reception went through a few different options with us. Most of the places offered two options, a dinner and show option or show only. Some of them had credit card surcharges and others did not. Hotel pickup was also included. I'd recommend having a look online at the various options and seeing which one interests you, for us it was a toss up between Cafe de los Angelitos which had better costumes and El Viejo Almacen, where the show wasn't as good but unlike Los Angelitos they didn't have a credit card surcharge so it ended up being a bit cheaper. The next morning we spoke to a guy at the front desk and after discussing with him we asked him to book us in for El Viejo Almacen. He made a call to book it in and said everything was set and we would just need to come down to the lobby at 8pm and someone would call our name. Sure enough later that night we went down and a driver showed up and took us to the theatre, but the guy at reception had got it wrong and booked Los Angelitos instead of El Viejo Almacen like we asked. Unfortunately by the time we realised we were going to the wrong place it was either this or nothing, so we just stuck with it. Whilst the show itself was good, the food service was awful as there weren't enough wait staff and the waiter seemed to spend more time with the other tables than with us. On top of that we had to pay the hefty credit card surcharge which we wouldn't have had to at El Viejo Almacen, so all in all we were pretty disappointed at the receptionist's mistake. After returning from the show we spoke with Karim at reception who made a note of it and said she would discuss with the employee in question and get back to us.
In terms of safety, whilst Buenos Aires is definitely safer than the majority of South American cities it still has its crime problems, with theft being a major issue in the city. The hotel had a brochure in the room recommending that all valuables and jewellery be left in the hotel safe and this advice is in line with what we've read online as well. We were also told at check-in not to take valuables with us when we were out and about. I'd recommend taking heed of the warnings and leaving as much as you can in the safe, you just need to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this case we were the unlucky ones and had a necklace and watch stolen in broad daylight whilst walking in a quieter section of 9 de Julio. After two weeks in South America without issues we had probably become a little bit complacent in not heeding the warnings and leaving valuables in the safe, but the robbery was still a bit of a shock especially given it was very physical, not just a simple pickpocketing. After this we raised our guards a bit and ended up taking Ubers more often and only walking short distances. After the robbery we returned to our room but when we went downstairs to tell the staff about it and see what we should do, we were really impressed with their reaction. All the staff showed genuine concern, first wanting to make sure we weren't hurt and then asking if we wanted to sit down and have a drink or something first. They recommended we go to see the tourist police and we did. To be honest we weren't sure what to expect from the police in a Latin American country but we were completely blown away by how amazing they were. They all showed genuine interest in helping us, the tourist police were there mainly to help with translation and the city police did the rest but all the officers involved were super polite and went out of their way to help us, even giving us a free ride back from the police station to the hotel. When we returned the staff immediately called us over to the reception desk to see how we were, and the manager on duty had been told and asked us if we needed any extra security services or anything to feel comfortable. At the end of the day, Buenos Aires is more dangerous than your average city but the reaction we got from Porteños afterwards, whether it be the witnesses after the robbery who wanted to make sure we were ok, to the hotel staff who were all on high alert to make sure we were looked after, and then the phenomenal police officers who even apologised that something so bad had happened to us in their beautiful city, made us realise that there are still plenty of good people in BA and it's still absolutely a place worth visiting. Just make sure that you listen when everyone is telling you to LOCK AWAY YOUR VALUABLES! :)
Although we had booked a third night we weren't actually staying the night and had just booked it because we had a midnight flight. When we went to check-out Karim was at the desk again. She had spoken with management about the issue we had with the incorrect tango show booking and she said what they would like to do to compensate us was pay for our fare to the airport, worth about USD $50. This was a kind gesture on the hotel's behalf and although we were disappointed with the mistake, to be fair it did seem to be a genuine mistake and they did their best to make it right. It's the putting right that matters and the Alvear did their best to do that.
It wouldn't be a proper review without a shout-out to some of the staff at the hotel. We were very happy with both housekeeping and restaurant staff but the real star of the hotel is Karim. She was friendly, efficient, helpful and really supported us after the robbery and after the tango show fiasco. She is a real asset to the hotel and you'll be lucky to run into her during your stay! Also want to give a shout-out to the young doorman whose name I missed, but he was also very friendly and helpful, checking in on us whenever we were coming or going or waiting in the lobby. Overall apart from the one staff member who stuffed up our tango booking, all the rest were great and went out of their way to make us feel welcome and ensure all our needs were met.
All in all, the Alvear Art was the last hotel we stayed at during our trip and we really did end the trip on a high. The room upgrade, free wine and cheese platter were welcome gifts and the way the hotel staff responded to our unfortunate incident was appreciated. Having stayed at both the Alvear Palace and Alvear Art, I personally would recommend the Alvear Art because it offered the perfect blend of luxury and value for money, being significantly cheaper than the Alvear Palace while not skimping on anything, in fact I think in most regards it was better than its supposedly more luxurious sister hotel! I've rated the hotel 5/5 and would certainly return to the Alvear Art should I find myself in Buenos Aires again.
Hope this review has been helpful. If you have any questions please feel free to message me.More