Review: Staying in a fish bowl at the Hilton Buenos Aires

by Dalia
2 comments
Hilton Buenos Aires

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We were back in the city that doesn’t sleep! After exploring three cities in Patagonia, we hopped on a late-night flight from Bariloche to Buenos Aires. We landed around at 3:30 a.m. at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) airport. This is a secondary airport in the capital that primarily serves domestic flights.We were able to get an Uber and our driver whizzed through the late-night traffic to get us to our hotel. This time we decided to try a different hotel brand, in a different neighbourhood. Less than half an hour drive later, we arrived at the Hilton Buenos Aires.

Booked on a whim – flight planning to Argentina

  Here are 7 tips for your first trip to Argentina

No Suite Upgrade at Park Tower Hotel – Buenos Aires, Argentina

  1. Hilton Buenos Aires – Location

 The Hilton Buenos Aires is located in the Puerto Madero neighbourhood, near the financial district.

a map of a city

Hilton Buenos Aires – Location

This barrio has been undergoing significant renewal, with many trendy high-rise buildings, skyscrapers, luxurious hotels and upscale restaurants popping up. This hotel is on the Puerto Madero waterfront near the docks and a conservation park.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Waterfront

Stepping out of the hotel, you’ll find a line-up of restaurants, cafes and bars nearby.

There is also a pedestrian footbridge, the Puente de la Majer (Women’s Bridge), that connects the east and west docks, where as you crossover, you’ll find even more restaurants. We really enjoyed the convenience of having restaurants nearby and this area felt very safe.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Puente de la Majer

  1. Hilton Buenos Aires – Lobby

As we approached the hotel, we noticed it’s cold and unremarkable exterior. It has a boxy shape with a grey façade with many windows on each side, with the Hilton name in bright blue at the top.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Exterior

The inside of the hotel was very different though. It was very open, with warm colours. There was a lot of natural light flowing in because of all the glass. Both the front entrance and ceiling were encased in glass. It felt like being in a boxy fish bowl!

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Fish bowl

This hotel was definitely contemporary and very modern. Besides all the glass, they had these massive net baskets hanging from the ceiling as decor.

The centre of the lobby area had a bar. Opposite the lobby bar were three gazebos on each side. Each gazebo had a TV screen inside.

I wasn’t a fan of these gazebos because they took up unnecessary space.  I suppose they’re nice if you’re travelling in a group since you would have your own semi-private area to relax.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Lobby

During our stay, we quickly discovered how uncomfortable it was to sit in the centre area in lobby.

It was extremely humid and hot in Buenos Aires during our visit.

Because of the glass ceiling, the sun would be beating down hard in the lobby. Despite the hotel being air conditioned, the lobby area always felt very warm. Suffice to say, we felt like we’re being roasted in a fish bowl. This may explain why they have these gazebos!

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Lobby

One thing worth mentioning is that the Hilton Buenos Aires has been undergoing renovations since last year. The lobby area has already been renovated and they’ve renovated rooms up to the 4th floor at the time of our stay.

There are seven floors at this property, with 417 rooms.

  1. Hilton Buenos Aires – Check-in

When we arrived, there was only one associate working the front desk due to the late hour.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Front desk

I have rarely stayed at a Hilton in recent years and I only had Gold elite status at the time of our stay. This was my chance to test out my status benefits and see how the elite treatment is like here!

Not surprisingly, we weren’t offered a suite. However, we were content to be assigned one of their renovated rooms.

The associate recognized my lowly Gold status. He thanked me for my loyalty and told me that I get two bottles of water as part of my Gold status benefit, which I found amusing.

He also told me about the breakfast benefit and then handed me a piece of paper that detailed the restaurant, lobby bar and facilities’ hours.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Info sheet

This property also has a lounge. Access is complimentary if you have Diamond status or if you book an executive suite. If not, you would need to pay $70USD per person to access it – pretty steep! We didn’t bother since we didn’t feel it would be worth it.

For $70USD you can have a really lovely dinner for two at an upscale restaurant in Buenos Aires.

Once we received our keys, we made our way to the elevators at the end of the lobby. They were also made out of glass, going along with the rest of the glass theme at this property. We soon learned that these elevators operated at high-speed!

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Elevators

  1. Hilton Buenos Aires – Guest room

Entering the room, the sight of the two double beds was most welcome. It was past 4:30 a.m. and we were sleep deprived and eager to get some rest.

We found that the beds were comfy, but the duvet was far too heavy considering it was the summer with blistering hot, humid temperatures. Thank goodness for the A/C!

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Guest room

The room was modern, but very ordinary with barely any artwork. The only colour that jumped out was the long turquoise sofa along the window.

There was no desk to work from. I found this surprising given that a lot of business travellers stay at this hotel. Instead, there was just a small round table in the corner across one of the beds next to the TV.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Guest room

By the table, there were various electric outlets and USB outlets. There were additional USB outlets by the night table, which we greatly appreciated to charge our phones.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Guest room

The room had a sliding wooden door that separated the corridor and bathroom from the bedroom. I found it to be pointless as I didn’t see the need for this separation. It actually made the room feel smaller and less spacious.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Guest room

In the corridor area near the entrance of the room, there was a doorless closet with an ironing board and a safe. I would’ve preferred it to have doors to avoid having all our clothes hanging out in the open. I also found that the closet space was very limited.

a room with a closet and a microwave

Hilton Buenos Aires – Closet

Next to the closet was a bench with two drawers. We used this bench for our luggage since they didn’t provide any luggage racks.

a wooden bench in a room

Hilton Buenos Aires – Bench

In the same area, there was a fridge, with two bottles of water. Unlike the Park Tower, they didn’t replenish the water bottles.

There was no coffee machine in sight, but at least there was a kettle. However, they didn’t provide any tea bags!

a small refrigerator on a shelf

Hilton Buenos Aires – Fridge

As for the bathroom, it had all the essentials. This included a single sink, tub, walk-in shower, toilet and the beloved bidet.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Bathroom

a bathroom with a bathtub and sink

Hilton Buenos Aires – Bathtub

a shower head with a hose

Hilton Buenos Aires – Shower

a bathroom with a toilet and bidet

Hilton Buenos Aires – Toilet and bidet

I liked that the toilet and bidet had a door, separating them from the sink. However, I found that the bidet didn’t have great water pressure here. The bath products provided were a step up from the Park Tower.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Bath products

Housekeeping was provided daily. Yet, on day one when we came back to our room after doing some sightseeing, we found our room wasn’t cleaned. I had to call in to request it.

They did eventually clean the room that evening, but it was very sloppy. I can only assume that they were short staffed.

One minor annoyance for us was every time housekeeping cleaned the bathroom, they would push down the sink drain stopper. We had to push it up after housekeeping was done their cleaning so that the water doesn’t pool in the sink. Every single time.

When we had checked into the room, there was no welcome amenity provided. I didn’t expect one since I only had Hilton Gold status.

However, two days into our stay, we came back to our room to find a lovely note thanking me for my loyalty. They also left a box of cookies that looked like macrons. They actually tasted good!

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Amenity

It was completely unexpected, but very appreciated. It’s the little things that can make a stay feel special.

  1. Hilton Buenos Aires – Breakfast

We had breakfast daily at El Faro, which is the on-site restaurant at the Hilton Buenos Aires. It’s located on the main floor, across from Alberto’s Lobby Bar. Breakfast hours were from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on weekdays and from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on weekends.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – El Faro

When we arrived for breakfast on the first morning of our stay, it was a Saturday. We arrived just one hour before they were about to close. The hostess that took our room number informed us that the restaurant was full and that there were no tables available.

She told us we can get whatever we want from the breakfast buffet and suggested we grab a table in the lobby bar instead. Stepping into the restaurant, it felt like we went into a zoo. It was incredibly crowded.

We first went to the omelette station. Luckily, by the time our eggs were cooked, a table freed up and we grabbed it. The buffet here was slightly bigger than the one at the Park Tower. However, the quality of the food wasn’t better.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Omelette

There was a large selection of breakfast food, including cheese, cold cuts, bread, fruits, jams, cereal, and hot dishes.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Cheese

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Fruits, cold cuts

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Hot food

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Mushrooms and potatoes

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Scrambled eggs

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Breads

They also had dessert section to please those with a sweet tooth, like myself. Unfortunately, the churros were cold πŸ™

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires – Dessert

Hilton Buenos Aires

Breakfast Pastries

I liked that they had a gluten-free section, although the offering was pretty limited.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Gluten free selection

If you wanted coffee or tea, you would order it when the wait staff passed by your table. I found the service was sometimes slow because they were so busy. Generally, the breakfast was just okay. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t wow me. I guess I can’t complain because it was pretty great value to get this complimentary hot breakfast when I made zero effort to get Gold status with Hilton.

El Faro was also open for lunch and dinner, but we didn’t try it.

  1. Hilton Buenos Aires – Facilities

 The Hilton Buenos Aires has an outdoor rooftop swimming pool on the 7th floor.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Rooftop pool

There was also a gym with a generous quantity of both cardio and weight equipment.

Hilton Buenos Aires

Hilton Buenos Aires

There is also a women’s steam room. They also have a dry sauna and steam room for men. Additionally, this hotel does have a spa.

  1. Hilton Buenos Aires – Booking

This was the last leg of our Argentina trip and we concluded it with four nights at the Hilton Buenos Aires.

Hilton points redemptions are dynamically priced. During our stay, the points redemption was 60,000 points/night for a deluxe room.

screens screenshot of a hotel room

I booked the two double beds deluxe room for a cash rate of $150USD/night, for a total cost of $600USD. This was a corporate rate. The standard price was almost double that at the time of our stay.

However, the final cost for the four nights was $473.13USD. This is thanks to not having to pay the 21% room tax, since I paid using a foreign credit card. Paying cash certainly beat redeeming 240,000 points.

a close up of wordsIn addition to the cash price presenting better value than a points redemption, I earned over 17,000 points from this stay. It helped that there was a double points promotion running during our stay, in addition to extra 1,000 points for each Hilton brand you stay in.

I would have earned even more points had I had Diamond status and used a Hilton co-branded credit card. This is one of the biggest pluses of the Hilton Honors program. They have promotions running all year-round.

  1. Buenos Aires – Park Tower vs. Hilton

So how does the Hilton compare to the Park Tower, A Luxury Collection Hotel?

Location: the Hilton is only minutes’ drive away from the Park Tower. However, the Park Tower is more centrally located. Hilton was not as well-connected to the transit network. Although, the one advantage with the Hilton over the Park Tower is that there were many restaurants within steps of this hotel.

Style: They’re both categorized as 5 stars. Besides being different brands, the main difference between the two is their styling. Hilton is modern and was recently renovated, whereas the Park Tower is more classic in style and is old style luxury.

Elite recognition: I found that status recognition to be slightly better at the Hilton, when considering that I only had Gold status versus Park Tower, where I had Titanium status.

With Hilton, even though no suite was available, the front desk associate suggested I stop by the next day to see if a suite has become available. I didn’t bother checking as it would be a hassle to pack and unpack to change rooms. No such offer was made when I stayed at the Park Tower.

The welcome amenity I received from the Park Tower wasn’t great. Hilton provided a better amenity during my stay. The main negative with Hilton is they didn’t replenish the water bottles, like they did at the Park Tower.

Breakfast: I found that the Park Tower was a notch better than the Hilton. Yes, Hilton did offer more variety, but Park Tower’s breakfast was a bit better in quality. It was also more serene and calm to have breakfast there. At Hilton it was a bit chaotic, especially on weekends.

Cleanliness: My impression is that the Park Tower did better in this area. I found that despite the hotel showing its age, they took good care of it and maintained high cleaning standards.

Room: With the Hilton, I liked that we had two double beds, which is definitely more comfortable than sleeping on a twin bed. On the other hand, I found the room we had at the Park Tower was slightly more spacious and I liked its design better. The bidet was also better!

Price: The Hilton cost around almost $120USD per night vs. the Park Tower which came up to $125USD per night. For both, I used a corporate rate. The price difference was negligible.

Conclusion

I enjoyed my stay at both the Park Tower, A Luxury Collection Hotel and at the Hilton. Generally, you would benefit most from the brand you hold top tier status with. Yet, even though I didn’t have top tier status with Hilton, I found the elite recognition was solid.

If breakfast is the status benefit you value the most, having Gold status is sufficient at least for stays at the Hilton Buenos Aires.

Although I had Titanium status, I wasn’t offered a suite at the Park Tower. This meant that should I stay there again in the future; I would need to use SNAs to have a better chance of snagging a suite, especially if travelling during high season.

Park Tower had a more intimate feel. At Hilton, it felt like I was staying at a factory hotel. There were a lot of tour groups and airline staff staying at the hotel. It was simply too crowded and at times felt chaotic, particularly during breakfast.

Hilton Buenos Aires

If there isn’t a major difference in price between the two, I would lean towards staying at the Park Tower. I just felt it had more character and I liked that it was a  relatively small hotel, but with the convenience of having access to all the facilities available at the Sheraton next door.

In a nutshell, both hotels are great options if your travels bring you to Buenos Aires. Ultimately, which one you chose comes down to personal preference, price and the status you hold with each hotel brand.

2 comments

Arlen June 5, 2023 - 12:55 pm

Thanks for your review. My wife and I are deciding between the Hilton BA ant the Park Tower BA this December before our Antarctica Cruise. We are lowly Gold with Bonvoy and Diamond with Hilton.

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Dalia June 5, 2023 - 1:03 pm

Glad you found the reviews helpful. Enjoy your upcoming trip to BA!

Reply

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