When we pulled up to the Intercontinental Buenos Aires in the morning in our chauffered Blacklane car after an airport pickup, we were feeling very thankful we had made this hotel choice. After a long overnight flight from the USA to Argentina, it was a massive relief to have a bellman grab our bags, see a welcome drink appear, and have a cheerful front desk clerk say, “No problem, your room is ready and you can go straight up.”
Sometimes, especially after a really long journey, it’s comforting to check into a well-run chain hotel that’s going to deliver. That was the case for sure at the Intercontinental Buenos Aires, one of the city’s original high-end chain hotels that’s in a convenient location for sight-seeing and eating out. These days in Argentina, when prices for those carrying dollars are terrific, eating out is an especially joyous experience.
The first impression here is a positive one, with a grand entrance on a side street that’s not too busy and a lobby filled with inlaid marble, fine furniture, and a beautiful staircase heading up to the next level. Staffers are professional and can communicate in English if your Spanish is rusty.
Amenities and Dining
After resting up, we got info at the front desk on where to change greenbacks at the favorable “blue rate” and explored the Montserrat area on foot. We were only at the hotel for one night, so we didn’t have time to enjoy the indoor swimming pool, but it’s an inviting one that’s big enough for swimming laps.
There’s also a full fitness center where you can work off some of the culinary indulgences. A full spa with a menu of treatments also has a sauna and steam room.
This building went up decades ago and it has a big footprint, so you get plenty of room to spread out in the various restaurants and lounges. The lobby cocktail bar with a grand piano will take you back to the city’s glory days as you sip a fine Malbec or Torrontes. The bar itself is attractive as well and has a good selection of cocktails.
It’s tough for a hotel restaurant to stand out in this city known for an array of great restaurants and steakhouses, but it does vex foreign visitors that most of them don’t start serving dinner until 9:00 or later. If that doesn’t jibe with your body clock, you can eat at a more reasonable time without leaving the hotel.
Cafe de las Luces is the formal restaurant that’s meant to emulate the top cafes of the city in the 1920s. There is also a Mediterranean restaurant with a terrace area when the weather is nice, especially pleasant for breakfast, which is also tough to find at an hour you’re accustomed to in this city. Also, the normal Argentine breakfast is not very substantial—a mini-croissant (called a medialuna) and a coffee—so getting breakfast here is a better way to fuel up for a day of sightseeing.
Intercontinental Buenos Aires Rooms
Rooms at the Intercontinental Buenos Aires are spacious and well-equipped, supplied with all the amenities you would expect from this chain. You have a full desk to get some work done at, a very comfortable king bed with soft sheets and a down duvet, and a leather armchair. Furnishings are mostly traditional, in keeping with the look of the public areas, and the floors are hardwood.
You get a TV with premium channels, a fridge, and a morning set-up with electric kettle and coffee maker. The bathroom with bidet has quality toiletries and a make-up mirror. Internet access is complimentary and parking is a reasonable $10.
Several levels of suites are available, most at least twice the size. Club floor rooms cost $30 to $40 more and are on the highest floors, with access to a lounge for breakfast and happy hour.
If you’re ready for a big splurge in the city, the Presidential Suite often goes for less than $1,000 and it has a full living room, dining room that seats eight, a kitchen, large bath with whirlpool, and an oversized bedroom area. It’s bigger than most local apartments at around 2,000 square feet (192 meters).
Service was excellent during my too-short stay and I was pleasantly surprised by the level of English proficiency. This Buenos Aires hotel worked well for us as tourists, but it would be an even better choice for business travelers getting work and meetings done in Argentina’s commerce and government hub.
Argentina has become one of the cheapest places to live in the world, even in Buenos Aires, so this would be a good base for a few days while you’re checking out places to rent for a longer period.
This Buenos Aires Intercontinental is conveniently located in the heart of the city near the Metropolitan Cathedral and presidential palace, both easily reached on foot. It is a short taxi ride to where you’d want to go in Recoleta, El Retiro, or Puerto Madero. It’s just two blocks from Belgrano Avenue and the subway station of the same name. Here’s the view we had when we looked out our window:
Intercontinental is part of the highly regarded IHG rewards program and I scored a night here cashing in a very reasonable amount of loyalty points for my stay. (You can rack up enough for several stays at once yourself by getting the IHG Rewards credit card from Chase.)
If you’re paying it’s also a good value, often ranging from $110 to $240 per night in a regular room if you book direct with IHG or check rates at sites like Hotels.com. This is a pet-friendly hotel (free up to 55 pounds) if you’re bringing your pooch. A groomed Poodle in your arms would fit in perfectly…
Intercontinental Buenos Aires review and photos by Hotel Scoop editor Timothy Scott, who paid for his stay using IHG loyalty program points.