Buenos Aires is another city that has never really “clicked” for me. It’s a place like Barcelona, one that everyone else seems to be in love with, but one that I am pretty lukewarm towards.
That being said, I have friends there, and I am willing to give any place another shot (even multiple, bordering on unlimited shots).
It was a rainy, brisk night in BA when we touched down, and once I was out of the airport, my cabbie and I were ripping along the highway into town at a good clip. I was surprised to see the downtown streets so deserted since it was a Thursday and all.
The cabbie found my friend’s building without too much trouble, and I paid him and buzzed up to the apartment.
I was staying with my friend M. We know each other from NY. A few years ago, he moved down to Argentina, bought a place and married an Argentine girl. It’s his home now. I hadn’t seen him since my last visit to Buenos Aires in 2011, so it was time to catch up.
I was looking pretty rough after the all day ordeal at the airport and the whisky on the plane, so I took a shower before we started the pre-drinking in earnest.
Once that was wrapped up, M and I made for the bars, while his wife opted to stay home and sleep. We gave it a good go, but it was a rainy Thursday and there weren’t many people around. Quiet night.
I woke up early on an even rainier Friday. M and his wife were both at work. I didn’t have any plans, but since I figured it was going to be a late night, and I didn’t want to disturb M and his wife should I stumble home at 5am, drunk, possibly with a quasi-stranger, I thought it might be better if I checked into a hotel and didn’t ruin their weekend with my antics.
My awesome virtuoso travel agent (DavidO) was able to get the Park Hyatt to agree to a double upgrade. One upgrade for my platinum status, and a second virtuoso upgrade plus the free virtuoso amenities. This meant that for the price of an entry level room, I was instead getting a rather large suite. Not the Rainman suite, but nothing to scoff at.
Very pleased with the upgrade magic DavidO had worked, and pleased to be back at the Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau, which is a truly excellent hotel, I dropped my stuff off and went to the gym. On the walk back from the palace building where the gym is, through the underground corridor to the building where my room was, I checked out the art, and was sorry to see the painting I liked during my last stay in BA was gone. After a quick shower, I went to wander and around town and of course to do what one does in BA…which is to eat this:
When M got off of work, he gave me a buzz, and I told him I had moved into a hotel. I thought he would be pumped, since when I have house guests staying with me, I am thrilled when I can get them out of my hair for a little while, but instead he sounded upset. He thought my choice to move to a hotel had something to do with feeling unwelcome in his apartment, which of course could not have been further from the truth. I just wanted to be a considerate guest and not be all up in M and his wife’s faces all weekend.
Anyway, with the situation mostly smoothed over, we agreed to meet at his apartment to pre-game that evening, then all go out together.
To further show my contrition and gratitude for their hospitality, I showed up to M’s with some booze and we started in on some wine while we waited for the Mystery Girl to arrive.
When I was in BA in 2011, I met a local who we will call H. We became good friends, and since that initial meeting in Buenos Aires, I think we have been to Paris, London, St. Tropez and (of all places) Bratislava together. In the time since I was last in BA, H had left Argentina and moved to London, so when I knew I was going to be swinging through town, and she wouldn’t be there, I asked her to scrounge up some friends for me to go out with.
The girl we were waiting for was this mystery friend of H’s. We had not met and I hadn’t even had the occasion to Facebook stalk…H had simply give both of us the other’s phone # and left us to txt.
Despite the potential for disaster, Mystery Girl made it to M’s apartment, and everyone got on well.
Once the bottles were dry, the four of us piled into M’s car and his wife drove us to the first stop, a cocktail bar the name of which escapes me.
We all took craft cocktails and started playing a game M suggested, where you go in alphabetical order and have to name a song that is about a girl whose name starts with that letter. It sounds really easy, but trust me…it isn’t.
This lasted us for the balance of our time in the back room at this bar, and towards the end of our stop there, M decided he was tired and that he would go home with his wife. Mystery Girl and I still had our hearts set on a debaucherous evening, so we bid them adieu and took off for a lounge Mystery Girl liked. Since it was still rainy and half of the bar was outside, the crowd was predictably sparse.
We downed some tequila shots to fortify ourselves against the drizzle and to get our minds right for the slog ahead.
Our next stop was (I think) called Unicorn Huset. It was packed, and we went right to the downstairs bar. Mystery Girl bought us a round. With our drinks in hand we trudged up the stairs and found a place to sit. Mystery Girl must have been a regular, because she seemed to know the waitress well, and we spent the rest of the night partying there, it was a pretty cool place.
Very late into the evening, we decided to bail on Unicorn and go back to the hotel. This of course led to the mini-bar being demolished through sun-up…it’s behavior like this that leads to me feeling it’s best if I don’t stay at people’s apartments.
In the morning, it was Saturday. The sun was up. It was a great day for college football. I had watched Ohio State’s first game on a laptop in Cairo with N, but I was determined to find a bar in BA to catch this game. I called the ex-pat pub I had watched the Oregon/Auburn National Title Game at, but apparently Ohio State vs. UCF was not quite as big a deal and it wasn’t going to be on television there.
The only other sports bar I could find told me they would have it, so I hopped in a cab, dropped Mystery Girl off back into the ether, and went over.
When I got there, the bar was clearly not open yet, and things did not look promising. I found an employee and we went through the channel guide several times, but there was no game to be found. I jumped in another cab, sped back to the hotel and again watched the game on my laptop.
Afterwards, I spent the rest of the day strolling around BA, and decided to make it an early night. I would be flying to Chile for the first time in the morning.
Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau Report Card:
Pros: Absolutely the best hotel in Buenos Aires, amazing rooms, helpful staff, great gym, top notch on-site restaurant, unbelievable location in Recoleta, nice bar.
Cons: Not cheap
Verdict: If given my druthers I would never stay in any other hotel in Buenos Aires. I love this one.