Category Archives: Hotels

Hotel Review: El Paraiso

Hotel Review: El Paraiso

This is a good, alpine hut like hotel with all the facilities that you need. The rooms are a good size, the bathrooms are also big with a great shower.


There is a pleasant reception/dining area but no frills.
Tiled floors meant when I arrived sopping wet and covered in dirt I didn’t feel to bad about making a mess. Reception staff’s english was not so good so we spoke in Spanish. Internet was quite slow and not available in the room.


Breakfast consisted of cornflakes, cakes or toast with a choice of spreads and hot drinks.

This is a great 3* option for those who want a good comfortable and functional hotel but don’t need any luxury.

Top Tip: Head up to the top floor for mountain views.

Hotel Review: La Aldea, Chalten

Hotel Review: La Aldea, Chalten

Harriet recently stayed at the motel-esque La Aldea in Chalten, here she reviews and gives her top tips for staying there.

La Aldea has a slightly motel-esque feel with external doors on all the rooms leading off from the garden and a first floor balcony. The rooms have all your basic requirements, hot shower, comfy bed, clean towels and sheets but they are a bit dated.


Laminate flooring covers the floors,  the shower rail is easy to fall down and there is a cheap/antiquated feel to the fittings. 

The Aldea has the best internet in town, is close to the bus station. It is a good option for those looking for a private room with bathroom on a budget. 

Top Tip: Upstairs rooms are better than downstairs because the wooden floors make the downstairs ones noisy.


Hotel Review: Cabañas Ricanor, Near Chalten

Hotel Review: Cabañas Ricanor, Near Chalten

We drove for 45 minutes north from Chalten along a bumpy road. The Estancia Ricanor is a basic gaggle of cabanas set in the woods and with views of Cerro Electrico and Cerro Fitzroy. The cabanas are great for groups of 4 or a couple with a guide. They consist of a communal sitting, dining and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. The decor is a little dated and the cabanas feel aged but the setting is beautiful. They are great base for day hikes in the  Huemules reserve where you will find quiet and magical treks .


We bought all our food and drink with us and this is recommendable as the selection at the campsite is not huge. The kitchen is stocked with pans, cutlery and crockery and we whizzed up a mean pasta dish and drank beer cooled in the fridge.


The cabanas provided all our basic needs, comfy beds, clean linen and towels, hot shower and a kitchen for self catering.  I felt very much at home but this is functional and far from luxurious accommodation. The radiator looked slightly terrifying so it is a good idea to get your guide or the receptionist to turn that on for you.
On site there is also space for camping and a restaurant with pastas and milanesas (breaded meat).

Top Tip : Visit the Cerveceria before you head here so you can fill the fridge with local beers.

Hotel Review: Hosteria Senderos, Chalten

Hotel Review: Hosteria Senderos, Chalten

Of all the places I stayed in Chalten on my recent trip this place had the friendliest staff. You are greeted by beaming smiles and the reception/dining area is stylish with large sofas to lounge and large windows. The interior is all made of varnished wood and this hotel definitely feels stylish. After this excellent intro the rooms actually feel quite small.

My room was in the eaves of the hotel and had views of Fitzroy and Cerro Solo (and would have had views of Torre). Once again the varnished wood interior gave a stylish feel and there were plenty of lights, sockets and functional furnishings such as drawers, hangers, a large side storage area under the window made good use of the small space.


The breakfast was a huge buffet with fresh fruit salad, an array of cheeses and meats, croissant, breads and cereals.

My only complaint would be the poky bathroom. Although the shower was hot and powerful it was quite a small space to shower in and if you were any taller it would be uncomfortable.

Top Tip – Eat at their wonderful restaurant. I ate in the restaurant in the evening and the food was excellent. The waiter went out of his way to be accommodating.


Hotel Review: Kaulem Hosteria, Chalten

Hotel Review: Kaulem Hosteria, Chalten

Kaulem is a cosy hotel with just 4 rooms set around a spacious sitting room and dining area. It feels more like a house than a hotel and the reception staff will make you feel instantly welcome. The art of local artists hangs on the walls and the cosy setting means that you will easily make friends with your fellow guests.


In the morning, I drew back the curtain to views of Cerro Fitzroy and then sat guzzling my yoghurt with fruit and granola from the breakfast bar gazing at ‘Fitz’. Eggs and toast and a range of spreads were also available.


My room accommodated a king size bed without feeling too snug but was not overly spacious. The ceilings rise up to the eaves of the building and give the room more breathing space and there are photos of local wildlife on the walls.

Hotel Review: Hotel Babel, San Telmo

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.


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.
Hotel Review: Legado Mitico

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.


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.
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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.


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).


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.

Hotel Review: Tierra Chiloe – Where luxury meets authenticity

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).


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.


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?


Hotel Review:  Mitico Puelo – relaxing, tranquil, idyllic

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.


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 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.