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Monday, 01 May 2006

Mansion Dandi Royal, Buenos Aires

Written by Christina Kay Bolton
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Ahh, the pleasures of staying in an old mansion in Buenos Aires. Every detail is accounted for here at a price you could never find in the US. When we arrived, we ended up walking right past it. Fortunately, the doorman came out after us and when we stopped to check the address, there he was, gathering up our bags and waving us back.

 

The hot buzz of Buenos Aires faded as we stepped up the cool marble walled stairway after the doorman who was totting our bags. As we entered the richly furnished entrance hall, my eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, dark wood, and tango murals. We were offered drinks on the velvet couches in the lounge before checking in, which was perfect after a long taxi ride. The people were gracious and helpful and showed us to our room.


imageOn first glance our room was perfect, filled with antiques, immense windows, and incredibly tall ceilings with scalloped edges. It had two twin beds pushed together to make one large bed, which was not ideal, but seems customary in South America. After about three weeks in SA, it seemed perfectly fine to us. The marble bathroom had a claw foot tub, an old fashioned toilet with the tank up high on the wall, and gold fixtures.


The problem I have with staying in a gorgeous place is that I don’t want my boyfriend being a slob. So, I immediately began negotiating with him about trying to keep the feel of the room intact. In other words, leave your stuff in the suitcase inside the closet. After telling him he could throw his stuff around at the next place we went to and getting him to shove his dirty laundry under the bed, we were off to the shower.

 

There turned out to be a big problem with the plumbing. The shower pressure was good and the water was hot, but somehow large amounts of water ended up on the floor. I, of course, blamed him, but the same thing happened when it was my turn. So, after our failed attempts to mop it all up with the many towels provided in the bathroom, we informed the front desk. They said it happens all the time and its just old plumbing (it would have been nice to be informed though!). They also said they’d send a maid right up to clean it up. When we arrived home again, everything was perfect.

 


 


imageThe next morning we had the luxury of getting up very late and taking a dip in the rooftop pool and hot tub before breakfast, as the hotel serves breakfast for 6 hours, from 7am-1pm. The breakfast room was another marble room with quite a spread of fresh juices, fruit, pastries, tarts, rolls, hams, cheeses, and eggs. I loved the fresh juice, fruit tarts, and crusty whole-wheat rolls (such a luxury after weeks of low-quality white bread). We ate so much that we didn’t have room for lunch.


imageI was enchanted with this place – the grand staircases, huge antique doors, and breathtaking chandelier. It seemed like the renovations into a hotel must have happened so long ago, as there were many bedrooms in a relatively small area and everything was of the same style. So, on our final day, I asked the woman at the front desk about the history of the building. She said it had been a bordello, and, unfortunately, I had to ask what that was. She tried to find a way to put it, ‘a place for men to have fun with women.’ I, more embarrassed than she, said “Ohh…”


Next, we were off to the San Telmo Sunday Flea Market which was only a few blocks from the hotel. Which makes the Mansion a good choice for Saturday and Sunday night, because everyone who goes to Buenos Aires will tell you, “Go to the flea market on Sunday!” Yes, I would agree, go, but as we were told by each of the artists and vendors who we bought things from, ‘watch your wallet and your purse.’

 

San Telmo is a fairly safe neighborhood, but definitely not the nicest in Buenos Aires. It is the traditional area for tango and antiques. If these appeal to you, this is the place to stay and you can even have tango lessons at the hotel. If you’re simply interested in affordable indulgence, stay here too, and take a taxi to the areas that interest you the most, that’s what I’ll be doing.


Mansion Dandi Royal, Piedras 922/936, San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina www.hotelmansiondandiroyal.com Rooms $79, $121, $161 US +tax (tax is 21%). We had a $79 room, on the small side, but great nonetheless.

 

©Christina Bolton

 

Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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