Four Seasons Hotel is Great
Recently stayed at the Four Seasons for a business trip and it was absolutely wonderful. The staff is outstanding, very friendly and helpful. My room was spotless and the bathroom was wonderful. The L'Occitane bath products were a real treat. The location is great and I spent a few happy shopping hours at Patio Bullrich. Would absolutely stay there again.
First class service -- Amazing
We stayed at two hotels in BA -- the Four Seasons and the Faena. The difference between the two is huge: the Four Seasons is all about service -- you are treated like royalty! The staff goes out of their way to call you by your name, react quickly to requests, basically make every part of your stay effortless. I'll post a review of the Faena too -- it was a complete waste of money and time. If you're looking in this price bracket, you expect a high level of service and comfort and the Four Seasons is beyond compare.
On my recent trip to BA, we stayed at the Four Seasons and the Soffitel - due to breaking up our travels - we thought we would try two hotels. Though I would rate the Four Seasons as second to the Soffitel, it was a VERY nice hotel. Great location, room and bathroom sizes were very good. Buffet breakfast was included. Having only stayed there one night, we didn't get a ton of help from the staff, but those we were in contact with were very helpful. Walking distance from all the nice stores and Recoleta Cemetary and right next to the Recova area - an area under the freeway with nice restaurants.
Stayed here over Thanksgiving and couldn't say enough positive things about the hotel and staff. The rooms and common areas were nice, but not over the top. The staff made the place stand out from other luxury hotels. The concierges (especially Yael and Eliana) went above and beyond for us with restaurant and shopping recommendations, translating and problem solving. When our flight to Iguazu got cancelled due to the strike, the manager called around to find us another room since the FS was sold out. At the end of the day, there was a cancellation and we were able to stay. The valet who carried our artwork inside from a cab for us rewrapped it for travel without being asked to do so. The spa was very nice. It's a pleasure to be greeted by name all throughout the hotel. Very personal, warm hotel.
Room for Service Improvements
We just returned (3 January 2006) from a one-week stay at the FS Buenos Aires. This is the fifteenth different Four Seasons property in which we have stayed. I only mention as basis of my comparisons. The hotel itself is in a fabulous location and walking distance of the Recoleta Cemetery, Avenue Alvear for shopping, and the great restaurants “under the bridge” are adjacent to the hotel. Furthermore, it is a short cab ride to the new “hot spots” in town at Puerto Madera and to the city center of Plaza de Mayo.
I recommend using the hotel’s car service to/from the airport as well as to any destinations outside the city. They have a fleet of Mercedes and the cost is nominal. ($25 for pick-up from the city airport).
The rooms in the hotel are comfortable and definitely full of amenities. The twice-daily maid service was definitely some of the better housekeeping service I have encountered.
The lobby is lovely and typical Four Seasons with nothing too over-the-top but modern and classy.
There is a fabulous outdoor pool at the hotel, which is surprising for being in the city. The pool is small, not a resort pool, and the number of chairs are limited. I was distraught by the number of people complaining about the size of pool and quantity of chairs, given this hotel is in the city. You can order from a limited pool menu for poolside service.
There is one restaurant in the hotel that offers a decent range of food at very reasonable prices. Also there is a large bar/lounge area with food service as well.
The staff of the hotel was extraordinarily friendly and during the holiday period even had a mini Kids For All Seasons program.
The concierge service was extraordinarily weak. They were very friendly; however, not very together. Prior to our arrival, I had contacted the concierge to secure dining reservations, car services, and babysitting services throughout our stay. Upon arrival, not one of the reservations was correct. Reservations were scheduled after our checkout, at the wrong times, etc. We had a major issue with a Tango Show that was booked. Our car never showed up so the hotel took us to the show. When we arrived to the show it was full and there was nowhere for us to sit, despite having our “confirmed” reservation card from the hotel. We wasted an evening and a babysitter due to confusion with the concierge staff. On New Year’s Eve, we had scheduled one of the car’s to drive us to our friend’s home and pick-us up. We reserved the car at 9:00 pm and to retrieve us at 3:00 am. Our return driver did not show-up until almost 4:00 am despite numerous calls questioning the whereabouts of our car.
Service is painfully SLOW throughout the hotel. At the pool, they at least tell you upfront (and on each occasion) that it will take at least 30-minutes to get your food even if you order fruit. The bar is the most surprising, as it took at least 15-minutes to get a drink, even if the bar was empty. Restaurant service was also very slow. Four Seasons prides itself on its service, but this property falls extremely short.
I would recommend the hotel. It is not up to other Four Seasons standards of excellence, but it’s definitely one of the leading hotels in town and it is a tremendous value (as are most things in Argentina!).
August 2006 in Buenos Aires Argentina
Buenos Aires, Argentina
August 1st we departed National Airport, the first leg of the trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. When we arrived in Atlanta we discovered that the flight to Buenos Aires would be delayed by 2 hours. The jumbo jet finally lifted off the Atlanta runway about 10 PM. Through Larry’s talents we were assigned exit row seats. Exit row seats enable you to stretch your legs, which mean more comfort on a long flight.
August 2nd we arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Larry had been to South and Central America, when he worked in the government, but this trip to the South American continent was a first for Jim. The previously arranged transportation from the airport to the apartment was waiting for us. Camilla, the apartment owner’s representative was waiting in the apartment, Cerrito 1560 3rd floor Apt. A, telephone: 48-13-24-26. Camilla gave us all the particulars on the apartment. Larry made all the rental arrangements through VRBO (vacation rental by owner), on the internet, Listing #40216. This is our eight VRBO arrangement and is the best apartment we have rented. The apartment has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, an eat-in kitchen, laundry room with a washer, dryer, deep sink, iron, and ironing board, a main entrance and a maid/service entrance in the kitchen. The apartment is nicely furnished and more than enough tools in the kitchen. The owner, Aileen, lives in Southern California, but is a fifth generation Argentine. After a much needed nap, Larry sought out the nearest grocery store. Basic supplies were soon brought in. The owner, who happened to be in Buenos Aires at the time came by to meet us and recommended La Cabana Restaurant on Rodriguez Pena 1967. Aileen, the owner, told us it may take a month or longer to get into this particular restaurant. Miracle of all miracles we had dinner in La Cabana our first night here. La Cabana has been in business since 1932. We did not think the meal was memorable, but the price was right, approximately $27 U. S. dollars, including wine, and huge steaks.
We slept late but were out of the apartment before noon. Jim and Larry walked a wide circle returning to the apartment via Cerrito. While we were out we purchased two Motorola cell phones, $198 pesos, or about $66.00 USD. The favorable exchange rate is about 3 pesos to every $1.00 USD. Our personal cell phones were locked but were purchased as unlocked. After much ado, Larry was able to unlock both phones. Tonight we went to a nearby restaurant recommended by Aileen. Juana M. Restoring, Carlos Pellegrini 1535 BA. The food was tasty, excellent service, and the bill was about $10.00 US dollars each, wine and tip included! We arrived about 8:30PM and one hour later the place was packed with locals. We will return to this neighborhood restaurant.
We got off to another late start. We scheduled a three-hour guided tour of Buenos Aires for 2PM, departing the Four Seasons Hotel, a short block away from the apartment. The cost was $50.00 US dollars, each, but well worth it. The guided tour took us into every corner of Buenos Aires. The last stop was the large grave yard where Evita Peron is buried. The tombs are mausoleums, above ground, like what you will see in New Orleans, LA. The ground underneath is not wet. Mausoleums seem to be the practice for burying the dead. The grave yard has dozens of feral cats roaming freely, and sleeping atop cool marble tombs. Our tour guide told us a few older women come twice daily with food and water for the graveyard cats. On a brighter note, from our apartment we get a glimpse of the lavish lobby flowers in the Four Seasons Hotel.
"Buenos Aires 2"
We walked earlier today, leaving the apartment about 11am. We went to Gallerias Pacifico at Florida and Cordoba streets. The mall (Gallerias Pacifico) was packed with shoppers. We will go there again, but it will be a weekday, not Saturday. A week-day is just as crowded as any Saturday. Florida is a pedestrian only street, with thousands of specialty shops. Shops posts people (barkers) outside its door in an effort to get people to come inside AND BUY! If you are in the market for leather, you can find it here. The apartment owner recommends La Fabrica for leathers garments. Their phone number is 4314-0029, or firstname.lastname@example.org Go for it! We walked back to the apartment from the shopping mall and the very busy pedestrian street. Along the way we stopped for a late lunch at Los Immortals. We walked down Lavalle to Ave De Julio and stopped at the supermarket to get a few things. Jim is taking a natural remedy of soaking his feet in a corn meal bath in an effort to cure three ugly toenails. Larry thought he was buying corn meal at the store, but the Spanish language got in the way and he bought wheat flour instead. The grocery store clerk convinced Larry it was indeed maize, or corn meal. Tomorrow we will go to the outdoor crafts market at the Recoleta Cemetery and perhaps visit the cats again.
Larry finally got both cell phones unlocked. We purchased two SIM’s cards for our personal cells at Personal (a store) but they are not working so we will have to return and find out what is going on. We will let Asonia and Tan use the Motorolas we purchased. The cell phones will come in handy in case we get separated in a busy shopping area.
Larry is doing some washing while a pot of white beans is on the stove. We found out that the grocery store is open from 8am until 10 pm seven days a week. Good hours, especially on Sunday, when things are usually quiet.
August 6, 2006 – Sunday. This is a good place to say something about winter in Buenos Aires. The coldest month in Argentina is July. Although it is early August, a hot month for we North Americans, winter is still evident here. Buenos Aires can be windy in the winter, but so far we have enjoyed clear skies and sunshine. The temperatures are in the 60’s during the day and mid-50’s at night (Fahrenheit). Long sleeve shirts, sweaters, and light weight jackets are a must this time of the year in Buenos Aires. It is too cold and too dangerous (ice) to travel into Patagonia this time of the year. Spring begins next month and there are already signs of renewal: a few flowers and some trees are lying in wait for the right moment to bud. It is odd to wear winter clothing in August. And since you asked, liquids swirl counter clockwise rushing down a drain, in the Southern Hemisphere.
The city of Buenos Aires has about 3,000,000 people and another 12 or 13,000,000 in the outlying areas. It appears most residents of this city live in one of hundreds of well-kept high rise condo buildings. The people of Buenos Aires dress fashionably, but not stuffy. The city is cultural with lots of museums, art galleries, antique shops, and a world-class opera house. The citizens of Buenos Aires like all music, everything from pop, jazz, rock, to classical, and of course, the tango was born here. Here, soccer is loved and followed with the same enthusiasm as football in the USA. Argentina falls far behind Europe and the United States in passenger rail service. All of Europe has a superb rail system, which is widely used. Rail service is undependable at best and at worse non-existent in most parts of our country. Argentina’s rail service is best described as a fantasy. If you are accustomed to millions of automobiles you will feel at home in Buenos Aires. During rush hour the traffic is bumper-to-bumper and like home, only one person in the vehicle, the driver.
"Buenos Aires 3"
We rose late again today. One sleeps well here, I suppose it is the cool nights. We walked through the Recoleta crafts market, which is near the apartment. In the hundreds of booths crafts folk and artists sell their wares: silver jewelry, all kind of leather goods, scarfs, and knick-knacks galore. Larry purchased three miniature framed prints. We stopped at Disco the local grocery chain and purchased items for lunch and the maize for Jim’s feet. The many beggars on all the streets are depressing. You want to help, but if you aided every one of them you too would be begging.
Yesterday, Monday, was what I call a Karen Carpenter day: "Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down." Actually, I (Jim) like rain. It rained off and on all day. I think the rain cleared the air and washed the streets and gutters clean.
We took a cab from the apartment building to Alto Palmo, Ave. Santa Fe and Ava. Colonel Diaz, subt (subway) Line D, to a large indoor shopping center and had lunch at MacDonald's, about 2 PM. The place was crowded, and not only with young people. Afterwards we walked in the tri-level mall. We found a small paper store that sold what we had been looking for: magic-marker type pen, blank paper for note taking. It is to find simple things. We have not seen drug stores like we are accustomed to in the USA. Buenos Aires is like France in that there are pharmacies or farmacies as they are called here. We walked back to the apartment. The rain was still on and off. We passed a shop where Larry saw a muffler (scarf) he liked. I encouraged him to go in and buy it. He did. On the way back to the apartment we stopped in a small coffee shop and enjoyed afternoon coffee.
The rain has stopped and the air appears clear today, although it is still a little dark outside. The sun is locked behind the clouds. Larry started feeling flu-like yesterday and today he sounds bad. He is lying on the sofa, now, watching TV, in English, the BBC. Everything is about the Middle East.
August 8, 2006
Jim made a trip to the grocery store, which is always fun, especially sense all the store items are in a language other than English. Names of items and their contents are challenging, but some things remain the same the world over, i.e. Oreo cookies and Cokes, Pepsi, etc.
Buenos Aires is the 8th largest city in the Western Hemisphere and reminds one of Paris and New York. Buenos Aires is reminiscent of Paris with its wide tree-lined boulevards. This city is like New York with its tall buildings and pocket neighborhoods. Like Paris and New York, Buenos Aires has heavy traffic throughout the day but more noticeably during morning and evening rush hours; and black and yellow cabs all the time, everywhere. Larry is indoors nursing his cold.
August 9, 2006
We went to our favorite restaurant for dinner, Juana M, Carlos Pellegrini 1535 which is in the basement of the building. We both had shish-ka-bob with a great salad bar. A bottle of wine and tip was less than $30 US dollars. We met a couple and their two daughters from South Africa on their way to Patagonia to ski. Jim was getting house bored. I think he will go out tomorrow alone if I don't feel like going. I (Larry) am feeling much better except for the fever and diarrhea. We both like the apartment and the location. I don't think we could have done any better. I must run and get into bed. Jim has started reading and I brought enough books to keep us all occupied. I will try to start reading tomorrow. I have not felt like using my eyes for the last three day.