Bariloche is a gateway to Argentina’s amazing Patagonia region which has been sitting near the top of my bucket list for quite a while now. So when I had an opportunity to check it out, I didn’t hesitate to book the tickets — and book a few nights at the Hampton Barioloche.
Patagonia is located in the Southern Hemisphere so seasons are reversed. North American winter is the summer high season and January is the perfect time to visit.
The nature around Bariloche is spectacular. In addition to hiking and trekking, there are beautiful lake beaches, and sports like rafting, kayaking, canyoning and more.
Argentina has been a real dark spot on Hilton’s location map with few properties outside Buenos Aires but they’ve recently started to correct that. The Hampton by Hilton just opened in November 2019 and is located strategically adjacent to Juramento Street and has fantastic views of the glacial Nahuel Huapi lake.
New hotels tend to have teething problems. But given the weeks that passed since the Hampton Bariloche’s opening, I thought that they were likely to have been mostly worked out and decided to check it out.
I booked the Hampton Bariloche for six nights arriving on Monday evening and departing Sunday.
The best available rate on the website for the basic room on the Hilton website was running about $125 per night. Meanwhile, redemptions at the property cost 27,000 per night.
I had enough Membership Rewards points to transfer to Hilton Honors to make the booking but I chose to use cash. I value Hilton points at about half a cent each.
Pro-Tip: I booked my stay by emailing the hotel directly. If you’re planning in advance and have a longer stay in mind, hotels may offer you a better rate over email.
In this case, the front desk supervisor at the Hampton Bariloche, Lautaro Szajko, responded by offering a significant percentage off the best available rate. I confirmed my dates and a few hours later the reservation showed up in my Hilton app.
After arriving at the drab San Carlos de Bariloche Airport (BRC), I headed directly to the Hampton Bariloche to check in. Be sure to acquire some Argentinian Pesos before arriving at the airport. Taxis in Bariloche do not accept credit cards, there is no airport ATM, and the only cash exchange point at the airport was closed on my arrival.
Luckily, there is a car service, and I was able to book a ride to the hotel for 650 pesos (about $10 USD). Since the taxis were quoting “about 500” for the ride into town, this was only a mild markup of about $2.50 and I was able to pay with my American Express Green Card to get 3 Membership Rewards points back per dollar. The ride took about 20 minutes.
I arrived at the hotel around 8 pm and was immediately welcomed by Mariela who efficiently checked me in.
Hilton offers particularly generous elite status benefits through its co-branded credit cards. Holders of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card can get automatic Hilton Diamond status, 14x points at Hilton properties, 7x points in generous bonus categories, and even a $250 credit at Hilton resort properties.
Unfortunately, I am not a holder of that card but I still have the lower Hilton Gold status which I earn both through stays and as an American Express Platinum cardholder. Mariela gave me a special welcome as a gold member and confirmed that I would be staying in a lake view king room.
I also met Lautaro who invited me to coffee the next day to suggest excursions around Bariloche to explore Patagonia.
The hotel is new and that certainly came through in its modern look and furnishings. I certainly prefer this modern look to more ornate, garish furnishings found in some more luxurious hotels.
If you’re traveling with kids, adjoining rooms are available. The air conditioning unit worked very well and quickly had the room to my temperature.
And the view was amazing.
I’m generally very environmentally conscious and look for ways to reduce my consumption of single-use plastics, but the trend of getting rid of individual cosmetics at hotels is not one I can get behind. With the horror stories of dirty and tampered with dispensers even in five-star properties, I prefer to be spared the uncertainty.
Luckily, the trend has not reached Bariloche. Individually sealed shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and soap were waiting for me in the bathroom.
In keeping with most modern hotels, the hotel had a walk-in shower rather than a bathtub combo. I’d much rather a walk-in shower than a shower/tub combo so I’m in favor of this.
The shower had excellent water pressure. But after my showers, I found myself walking into a puddle on the bathroom floor. Not a big deal but the shower curtain wasn’t up to the task!
I also thought the bathroom and shower were a bit on the cramped side.
Surprisingly, for a brand new property, this Hampton comes with a desk. This is an interesting choice as major brands have been moving away from the hotel room desks. As I type this, I’m sitting on the recliner rather than the desk.
But hey, at least it’s a decent place to put my bag! (Never mind the bag stand under the closet.)
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I’m a big fan of digital keys. I always end up placing card keys near my phone and getting them demagnetized so digital keys are super useful.
Unfortunately, despite being new, the property does not support digital keys. I hope that’s something they’ll add since for me, it’s a dramatic experience improvement.
The internet speed in my room when I arrived was abysmal. I ran a speed test on fast.com and it clocked in at less than 1 Mbps upload and download.
In later tests, I found more usable speeds of up to 15 Mbps. But an unstable connection like this is obviously frustrating when trying to get work done (let alone join video calls). This is an area the hotel needs to improve.
The Hampton Bariloche gym will open at some point on the mezzanine level. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open for my stay due to construction delays. (The hotel received a waiver from Hilton to be allowed to open without it).
In lieu of the hotel gym, they offered vouchers for an offsite, third-party gym. The gym is located a 15 minute walk from the hotel. Despite it being the middle of summer, it gets cold at night in Bariloche which is not ideal if walking in workout clothes. When I mentioned this, the hotel offered to cover the cost of a taxi to the gym.
Obviously, this is not the same or as convenient as having a gym within the hotel but it was a nice gesture. I like to work out, but unless I’ve committed to a class — looking at you, Barry’s Bootcamp — I struggle to get myself to a gym if it’s inconvenient. On a usual stay of this length, I use the gym a few times. This time, I never made it.
Breakfast is served bright and early from 6 am until 10 am. In practice, breakfast starts being taken down between 10:15 and 10:30 am.
It’s not the most robust selection. The hot bar has eggs, sausages, and grilled vegetables.
Aside from the limited hot bar, cereal with milk, yogurt, and raisins (there is no non-dairy milk) are available alongside a fruit salad and fruit bowl as well as some sliced ham and pastries.
Lobby and Working At The Hotel
Unfortunately, given the unstable internet, I didn’t work out of the Hampton Bariloche very much. Since everything I do is online, the lack of reliable internet made it a bad place for me to work.
That said, the lobby is set up to nicely accommodate getting some work done if you don’t need reliable internet.
The view from the Hampton Bariloche lobby isn’t very good with construction happening. Apparently, that will eventually be transformed into a semi-public plaza.
For now, it’s just an ugly construction site and the view from my room was better. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably choose to work out of your room for the most part.
The hotel does not have room service but the restaurant is open from 12 am to 11 pm. There is also a 24/7 “snack area” next to the Front Desk with a limited selection of snacks.
The restaurant served a selection of casual meals at reasonable prices. Menu items included a Chicken Caesar Salad priced at 390 ARS, sandwiches (including a hummus/vegan option) priced between 370-480 ARS, pizzas, and other items. Of course, Argentinian wines, beer, and other drinks were also on offer. Check out the full menu here.
Checkout at the Hampton Bariloche was smooth and efficient. Since my flight was midday, I checked out of the hotel shortly after breakfast. I asked 30 minutes in advance for them to have a taxi ready. Lautaro, the friendly front desk supervisor, helped me check out efficiently and quickly and I was on my way.
I paid for my stay using my American Express Green Card, one of the most rewarding cards for hotel stays earning 3x Membership Rewards for every dollar spent. However, for frequent Hilton guests, a better value would be the American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
If you’re looking for a simple, modern accommodation choice in the Patagonia region, the Hampton Bariloche is a great new addition.
It’s not a luxury hotel by any standard, but it has all the needed amenities (especially once the gym is complete). Most of the staff are friendly and helpful. It’s centrally located. And there are plenty of tour options available through the hotel if you’d rather not book them yourself.
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