If you are planning to visit Buenos Aires and are wondering where to stay, I recommend the Mine Boutique Hotel in the neighborhood of Palermo Soho. Several things make Mine one of the best boutique hotels I’ve ever stayed in, but the one that stands out most and makes a big difference is service. The staff at Mine provided us with a list of excellent restaurants in Buenos Aires, most of them in Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood, and when we asked them in greater detail for good Italian places in the neighborhood or dinner at a chef’s house (one of the best ways to savour the culinary delights in the city), they came up with terrific recommendations and made reservations for us. Every day they would print out our reservation on a sheet of paper, complete with directions to the restaurant. They also provided us with a daily weather report and delicious chocolates. Things like these seem like trivial matters, but enjoying the variety and outstanding quality of gastronomy in Buenos Aires is necessary to having a truly fabulous time in the city. And we felt that the staff really wanted us to have a memorable stay in Buenos Aires.
We have stayed in other hotels much more expensive, luxuriously decorated and “trendy” than Mine but the staff in those hotels did not make an effort to make us feel special and cared for. In this regard, Mine Boutique Hotel is very special.
Other reasons why we will be coming back to Mine next time we are in Buenos Aires:
(1) The hotel is on one of Palermo Soho’s more quiet streets and we got a quiet room (which we asked for in advance). When you explore Palermo Soho, you notice that some streets get more automobile traffic than others. If your boutique hotel happens to be on one of these streets, you better pray they have double or triple glazed windows. You won’t know this until you walk around Palermo Soho. Happily, Mine Hotel is on Gorritti, one of the less traveled streets of the neighborhood. And it did help that we got a room in the back, facing the garden and swimming pool. Moreover, the hotel is not surrounded by noisy restaurants and bars (unlike some other hotels in Palermo Soho — again you won’t know this until you explore the area).
(2) Mine is right in the middle of cool boutiques, cafes and bookstores, and the neighborhood is walkable. Palermo Soho is home to independent Argentine designers like Jazmin Chebar, whose whimsical, colorful clothes I love. There are many others who have made Palermo Soho their home and it’s worth spending the time to go into each of their boutiques. I recommend a leather shop called Fosca (Gurruchaga 1726) for leather jackets with exquisite detailing and tailoring, for which you would pay two to three times more in Europe or the US. Fosca carries gorgeous bags and shoes, and if I had a larger suitcase I would have easily filled it. Argentine leather goods are well-designed and reasonably priced.
(3) Good breakfasts in the bistro: I need a good breakfast to start the day and I’m glad that Mine had a breakfast buffet with fruit, cereal, yogurts, different kinds of bread, varieties of cheese and charcuterie, and of course, sweet cakes. Breakfast is included and is served in the bistro, opposite the garden and pool. There is a lot of natural light because of floor to ceiling glass sliding doors and it is decorated in a retro chic style. The living room adjacent to the bistro is a lovely place to sit. It has a huge sofa, comfy chairs and lots of books and magazines. It is an excellent place to meet friends or business relations, as you can also order coffee, wine, sandwiches, and tea cakes from the bistro. We met several people here during our stay in Buenos Aires and it worked out well.
(4) Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel: this is a very important factor in how much we like or dislike a hotel. I cannot stand hotels that charge guests for Wi-Fi. Like water and electricity, Wi-Fi is a necessary service. Hotels don’t charge guests for water and electricity, so they shouldn’t charge them for Wi-Fi either. Just bake into the price of the room.
We did not get a chance to use the swimming pool because it was chilly in Buenos Aires when we went (August 2011), however, both the pool and garden look inviting and on warm days, the bistro serves lunch and dinner al fresco. You can have lunch and dinner at the bistro whose menu can be described as a mix of healthy Mediterranean and Italian (ravioli with prawns, rucula salad with balsamico and olive oil, passion fruit mousse) and Latin American fushion (mango ceviche). If you want a light snack, they serve sandwiches and pastries throughout the day.
The hotel has 20 rooms (3 categories) which come with hair dryer, free Wi-Fi, TV and a safe that is large enough to accommodate a laptop. I would describe the room decor as contemporary and warm, with just the right blend of color and restraint to make it comfortable and restful.
The guests are a varied lot: we saw elderly German tourists, creative design types (because Palermo Soho is home to advertising and design firms), and wealthy Brazilian couples dragging Louis Vuitton suitcases and Hermes handbags.
All in all, we are looking forward to coming back to Mine Boutique Hotel on our next trip to Buenos Aires.
NOTE: I rarely post such a glowing review for a hotel but based on our experience here, this hotel has earned it.
Mine Boutique Hotel
Buenos Aires, Argentina
* * * * * *
Recommended reading: Trendy Palermo Viejo (restaurants, cafes, shops in Palermo Soho/Hollywood)