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Argentina Lodging Primer

Booming visitor numbers have sparked dozens of new properties. There's plenty of variety, whether you're looking for a tried-and-tested international chain, a boutique property, the Old World charm of an estancia, local hospitality at a family-run B&B, or a cheap hostel that's not only clean but stylish, too. Nearly all hotels, and even many hostels, include breakfast in the room price.

Estancias

For a taste of how Argentina's landed elite live, book a few nights on an estancia (ranch). Most estancia accommodation is in grandiose, European-inspired, century-old country mansions. Rates usually include activities such as horseback riding and four generous daily meals, usually shared with your hosts and other guests.

Estancias vary greatly: some are still working cattle or sheep farms, but many have switched entirely to tourism. At traditional establishments you are hosted by the owners and stay in rooms that once belonged to family members. Accommodations are usually old-fashioned and tastefully furnished, but rarely luxurious: you might have to share a bathroom, and some rural locations don't have round-the-clock electricity.

Other estancias still belong to their original owners, but a private company runs the accommodation side of things. These properties are hit-and-miss: some are more luxurious and professional than traditional establishments, while others have become bland and generic. Some properties that advertise themselves as estancias are actually redevelopments of old rural houses which may not have originally been estancias. These emulate traditional estancia style but are generally more luxurious and have modern amenities.

Apartments and Cabins

Self-catering options are plentiful in Argentina and increasingly popular with visitors. The savings are especially significant if you're traveling as a family or group. In Buenos Aires and other big cities, you can rent furnished apartments (and sometimes houses) daily, although weekly and monthly rates are usually cheaper. Some properties are in new buildings with pools, gyms, and 24-hour concierges; others are in atmospheric, but less luxurious, older buildings.

Cabañas (cabins) often outnumber hotels in destinations popular with Argentine holiday-makers, such as the Atlantic coast, Córdoba province, or Bariloche. Some are independent holiday houses, while others form part of vacation complexes and include maid service and breakfast. Being outside busy town centers in natural surroundings is a boon, but you often need your own vehicle to reach properties comfortably.

Bed-and-breakfasts

In many smaller destinations, large mid-range hotels tend to be impersonal, institutional setups aimed at passing business travelers. If you're looking for local flavor, consider a smaller hotel or bed-and-breakfast. Some are simple family-run affairs, others are boutique properties; many are housed in recycled old buildings that pack plenty of charm. Friendly, personalized service is another major appeal. Although many now use the term "B&B," you may also find them labeled posada, petit hotel, or la casa de. … Hotels with fewer than 10 rooms are very common outside of Buenos Aires—as most hotels in Argentina include breakfast, these properties could be considered B&Bs, even if they don't actively advertise themselves as such.

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