Is the Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, Still The City’s Top Hotel?

by Shelli

There are hotels and places that you hold in high regard even prior to visiting. Everyone I know raves about Buenos Aires. They rave about the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires as well. I have friends who live there, friends who stay there a few months each year, and family who visit Buenos Aires as often as they can. They love everything about the city, the people, the food, and the culture. They told me, “It’s the Paris of South America.”

It was time for me to see for myself whether or not I would come away from a visit to Buenos Aires “in love” or “in like” with the city, and whether or not the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt was still the top hotel in the city.

Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt Buenos Aires facade and garden

Hotel facade and garden

One thing was clear. There was only one choice when it came to my hotel. I absolutely had to stay at the Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau. I’m a Park Hyatt fan girl! People tease me because I’ve never met a Park Hyatt I didn’t like. When I researched the hotel it looked stunning. I found both the hotel’s architecture and design appealing. I’ll admit the butler service that would come with my room piqued my curiosity. Butler service could be a fun treat!

Would this Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt, as promised by the marketing material, provide an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires?

My stay in Buenos Aires got off to a rough start.

My Arrival in Buenos Aires and Getting to the Hotel

I had the worst arrival in a destination experience I’ve ever had! The short story is that I landed in Buenos Aires in the early evening to find my luggage broken and open. It was raining hard and the airport was in chaos because there were not enough taxis to service everyone. The taxi service credit card machines were not working, so the taxi booth only took cash. The ATM was out of cash.

After waiting a few hours in line for a taxi, I ended up sharing a taxi with a guy I just met who DID have cash and paid for us both. The taxi dropped him off first and then took me to TWO hotels that weren’t the Park Hyatt.

I showed up at the front door of the Park Hyatt exhausted, soaked to the bone, and with my luggage in pieces. Not exactly the best way to make a good first impression!

Check-in Went Smoothly

The front desk staff couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating, and thank heavens for the butlers who helped me get settled in. They may have gotten a very odd first impression of me, but my first impression of the staff and the hotel told me I had indeed discovered an oasis. What followed was a very wonderful memorable holiday spent at an amazing property with top notch staff. And yes, Buenos Aires was quite impressive as well.

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires Hotel History

Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt Buenos Aires had its grand opening in 2006. Its neighborhood, Recoleta, is a beautiful affluent area of Buenos Aires. The property is actually two distinct buildings. One is a Neoclassical palace from the early 1930s. Its partner building is the Posadas tower. It has 17 floors.

The palace was restored to preserve many of its original details: marble floors, crystal chandeliers, and carved oak panels from the 17th century.

Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt Buenos Aires Crystal Room

Crystal Room

The buildings connect through an underground walkway, which feels more like a museum and art gallery than a hotel walkway. In between the buildings is a lovely courtyard, terrace, and garden.

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires Argentina Beautiful Palace Architecture

Beautiful palace architecture

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires Argentina Garden and Palace Overview

Overview of garden and palace

All this attention to detail, as well as the history and architecture of the hotel, make the common areas and grounds as wonderful as the hotel rooms. That’s not often the case, even in the many unique Park Hyatt properties around the world.

My Room Assignment

The Park Hyatt Buenos Aires was my choice for a week’s stay. As I mentioned, I had high expectations for this hotel based on what I’d heard from others and I was not to be disappointed. In fact, my expectations were exceeded.

As you already know, my arrival at the hotel check-in was really more like a scene from a wacky Steve Martin/John Candy movie, than my usual calm and collected hotel entrance.

Prior to my arrival, I received an email from the Park Hyatt staff. I was thrilled to read that the hotel had suite upgrade availability for my dates, so I applied one of my upgrade awards. Applying the suite upgrade put me in the Park Suite King Room, which was a room category that comes with butler service.

Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt Buenos Aires Park Suite

Park Suite Full View

The suite was an extremely comfortable and welcoming space in so many ways, and worked really well for me. Let’s dig in to the particulars.

How I Paid For My Stay

For my week’s stay I used my Hyatt points for cash and points rates. The all-cash rate at the Park Hyatt was $500-600 a night, so I found this rate worked best for me. It turned out to be a fantastic value. This stay was before Hyatt gutted its cash and points rates structure. In the case of this property, the new cash and points structure would now add between $100-200 a night to my rate.

Remember, if you’re paying cash for a hotel stay, let Pruvo monitor your rate for price drops!

The Park Hyatt is a World of Hyatt Category 5 property, meaning free nights start at 20,000 Hyatt points per night. At the time of my stay, cash and points were 10,000 Hyatt points plus $122 USD.

Using my Hotel Room Scorecard I broke down the individual elements of my Park Suite King Room at the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt, which scored a 37 of 40 points.

Location (5/5)

The Park Hyatt has a fabulous location in the older historic area of Buenos Aires called Recoleta. It’s not necessarily considered central Buenos Aires. However, if you enjoy getting to know a city through walking, you’ll get to know Buenos Aires really well as you set out in a different direction each day from the hotel. As it turned out, one of my favorite coffee houses in Buenos Aires ended up being only a few blocks from the hotel.

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires Argentina City Skyline View

Neighborhood surrounding the Park Hyatt

Even the outer residential and hip and trendy areas are walkable from the Park Hyatt. To give you a better idea, Palermo is one area you’ll explore. It’s about 4.5 miles from the hotel. Most of the other neighborhoods, parks, museums and other sites are closer in to Recoleta. Buenos Aires does have an extensive public transportation system. Though I did not use it, friends who live in Buenos Aries tell me the system is efficient and easy to use. For me, because I love to walk, this location was tops.

Lighting (5/5)

The room was lined with floor to ceiling windows throughout the living room and bedroom area. There was great light streaming in throughout the day and I enjoyed coming back to the space and basking in the warm, well-lit ambiance. The lamps were well placed throughout the suite and also emitted a soft, warm glow. There was abundant overhead lighting. Between the natural light, lamps, and overhead lighting, there were many lighting options for the space. Best of all worlds!

Window Access (4/5)

I was disappointed that the windows did not open. Nevertheless, I did have a beautiful view of the garden and palace across the courtyard.

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires Argentina Courtyard

View of courtyard setting

If I looked out the windows towards my right, I had a city view of the skyline and architecture of the neighborhood. I thoroughly enjoyed this view. It was good though that for a city hotel there actually weren’t any buildings facing my side of the hotel, so it felt like no one could look in and I was able to keep if not windows open, at least the curtains open.

Bed Comfort (4/5)

The bed was neither too hard nor too soft for me. I did sleep well and recovered rather nicely from jet lag! I liked the orientation of the bed. The Park Suite is designed as an open suite with no doors separating the bedroom area from the work space or living room. Yet, because the bedroom area had dressers and the entertainment center separating it from the living area, the bedroom felt cozy.

Bathroom (5/5)

The Park Suite has a great, spacious bathroom area. It’s narrow and long with the closet area and tub at one end, a shower stall in the middle, a bidet and toilet with a sliding door for privacy, and the sinks at the opposite end of the hall. It’s spacious, well-lit, and lacks nothing. One of my pet peeves is lack of towel hooks, but I was glad to see more than enough hooks for towels.

Interior Appointments and Furnishings (5/5)

The suite really did feel like a studio apartment because the bedroom and living room were each large spaces on their own. I’m very partial to wood floors combined with tasteful area rugs. I’m also partial to furnishings done in beiges and browns, using a combination of fabric and wood. This suite suited my taste perfectly.

The curtains were in fine shape and I liked that they were a plain tan color. I don’t like busy curtain patterns or ones that are too dark in color. Those make a room look drab and dark.

The seating area in the living was excellent. The desk was large with good lighting. I also liked that the desk had two chairs. This may be the only time I’ve seen that in a hotel room. One was facing the window, which makes sense in a hotel room with a pleasant view. Why not have a nice view while I’m working, right?

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires Argentina Living room and desk area

Plenty of space to enjoy in this wonderful living room

The couch was comfortable and at one end there was an ottoman. I always give extra points to rooms with couch ottomans because they are useful. When hotel rooms have couches and there is indeed room for an ottoman, I’m always perplexed as to why the hotel doesn’t provide one.

There were side tables by the couch as well as a table in front of the couch, so lots of usable surface areas.

There was very little artwork, which I liked about the room. Because everyone’s taste in artwork can vary so much, I like quiet walls. This room scored an A++ for having lots of wood both as flooring and in cabinetry and room design. There was actually wood throughout the whole hotel, so I liked the general design of the hotel very much. It’s a beautiful historic palace!

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires Argentina Courtyard and Palace

The palace also houses some Park Hyatt rooms

Electronics (5/5)

Plugs and outlets were plentiful and well-placed throughout the suite. There were outlets near the beds and universal plugs and USB charging ports at the desk. The plugs were adequate in number, rather than plentiful. There were not a lot of outlets but they were placed in convenient areas around the room.

Snack and Minibar (4/5)

The snack and minibar area was located just to the left of the suite entryway. The counter space above the minbar was crowded because it had a small surface and there was a Nespresso machine and water bottles on it. I do enjoy a Nespresso machine! The staff had no issues providing me with plenty of bottled water per my request as well as extra Nespresso pods. Because of the ample tabletop space on both the living room table and side tables, there really were plenty of surfaces to offset the smallish minibar counter.

Hotel Service

I can’t help but mention the service at this hotel because it really does tie into my being so impressed with the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires.

My Impressions of Butler Service

Even before I arrived, the butler team reached out to me to introduce themselves. They asked me questions and genuinely wanted to make note of anything that would create a great experience for me during my stay at the hotel, as well as Buenos Aires. By the time I checked in, I felt I had already established a fun rapport with the team. Though the Park Hyatt does have male butlers, at the time of my stay it was an all female team.

There are so many examples of the butler team’s awesomeness. They were a fun, warm, gracious, energetic group of women. I had a really fun time with them!

Here’s an Example of Butler Awesomeness

To keep this already long hotel and room review from going on for days, let me share one example with you. As it happened, I was at the hotel for the night of the Academy Awards. I figured it would be televised in Argentina but didn’t know at what time. I enjoy watching the Academy Awards when I travel because seeing them in a foreign country, due to language and cultural differences, is a very entertaining experience. Given time differences, they were televised at a rather late evening time, but I decided to stay up late and watch them anyway.

A few minutes after the award show started, my room phone rang. It was the butler. I thought she was calling to ask if everything was OK with the TV channels and watching the award show. She said she was at my door and had something for me. I open the door and there she was with a huge bowl of popcorn for me to enjoy during the show. I ate every last kernel!

This is only one example of the many warm gestures from the butler team. My butler delivered a huge bowl of popcorn just so I wouldn’t go hungry while watching the award show. I ate the whole bowl!

Front Desk and Concierge Teams

The front desk staff was equally as great as the butler team. One example is that we decided my broken luggage couldn’t easily be repaired while I was in Buenos Aires. They fixed my luggage as best they could, securing it with rope and tape. Their repair job worked well and my luggage held up for two more long haul flights before getting home.

Concierge teams can either be a neutral factor, a plus factor, or a detractor at a hotel. I must say that either I choose my hotels carefully or I simply have the best luck with concierge teams. I think it’s just my luck! The concierge team was experienced, a pleasure to work with, and definitely added to the depth and enjoyment of my well-spent time in their city.

As a Globalist I took my breakfast each morning in the main restaurant. The buffet is fantastic, with all the variety offerings you’d expect at a Park Hyatt property. You could also order off the menu if you wanted to keep it simple. I particularly enjoyed trying mate and watching the staff prepare it. They also coached me through the ritual of mate drinking!

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires Argentina Mate With Breakfast

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires Argentina Mate at breakfast

Traditional mate served with breakfast

Final Thoughts

Buenos Aires surely is a French inspired city, particularly with its architecture. It’s true that sometimes you’ll look up at the buildings and think of Paris. With that in mind, the porteños ( local people) have created a city that is unique and a wonderful destination in its own right. The Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt is a perfect match for this diverse and easy to enjoy destination.

The level of service at the Park Hyatt is second to none. The suite itself was more than enough space, beautifully designed, and worked very well for me. The location, amenities, and exceptionally attentive staff puts this hotel high on my list. Without a doubt, for me the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt is the city’s top hotel!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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10 comments

Christian February 11, 2019 - 10:27 pm

Nice review. I do have some questions, though. Did you really wait for hours to get a taxi? Did the hotel offer you a pickup service? Any idea how the butler knew that you were watching tv? It seems a bit creepy. Also, not to gripe but the review and text seems very unusually small and tough to read. I’m using Firefox, so maybe that’s it, but it’s never happened before. Just a point of information. Lastly, since you were so ebullient in your praise for the Park Hyatt Saigon, I booked my wife and I there for one night a few days ago to position for the Cathay deal. It was our first time in Vietnam, and we both adored the hotel. They bumped us up to a suite, which was obviously nice, but the hotel was elegant without being snooty, which is tough to pull off. On our return this fall, we’re pretty much certain to stay there again. Thanks for the heads up on this lovely hotel!

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Shelli February 11, 2019 - 11:09 pm

Hi Christian, Thanks for reading and for your questions. Yup, waited for hours. And that was after trying to resolve my broken luggage issue, which I gave up on. I’m not prone to exaggeration. The airport was a mess. If you’ve been to BsAs you’ll know the airport isn’t all that close in to the city to begin with. I didn’t even consider a pick-up from the hotel. The butlers and I had a lot of contact. Amazing group of women. We had talked about the academy awards so they figured I was watching the show. Not sure about the text issue. I’ll check into it. SO GLAD you got to enjoy the PH Saigon. It’s a special hotel. I’m heading back there as well. I hope you got to sample the breakfast buffet in the hotel restaurant. Delicious treat! Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts…..much appreciated.

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Luke Vader February 14, 2019 - 3:52 pm

Very interesting article/review. I traveled to Ecuador many years ago, but have not been to Latin America since. Buenos Aires is at the top of my list for any return to the continent (hopefully in the not too distant future). A few questions:
1. It’s obviously best to know Spanish (I learned a little but have forgotten most of it), but how easy was it to converse in English… with your butlers? With Park Hyatt hotel staff? Throughout Buenos Aires in general?
2. Did Eva Peron ever stay there? 🙂
3. What would you say are the top 3 things to do in the city (especially closer to the Park Hyatt)?
You seem to be a fan of Park Hyatts (good taste). We stayed at the Park Hyatt Sydney in Oct 2016… was an amazing property/location/experience.

Reply
Shelli February 14, 2019 - 6:13 pm

HI Luke, Thanks for reading! Before I answer your questions, I agree. The PH Sydney is an amazing property. I really enjoyed the hotel and the concierge team was awesome. Waking up every day and seeing a different ship in the harbor was pretty cool. OK, let’s see about your questions. 1) I know a fair amount of Spanish, so I enjoy speaking when I can. Rest assured, the butler team and the PH staff were all bilingual. As for Buenos Aires in general, I’d say it depends on where you go and what you do. I know that’s not a definitive answer, sorry. In the tourism industry very high levels of English. Certainly more than enough English is spoken that I feel confident in telling you not to worry about it. 2) Great question. I’m actually going to email the butler team and find out. Stay tuned! I just realized you might not get that I’m kidding :)) 3) Hmmm, here are two posts I’ve written: https://pointmetotheplane.boardingarea.com/2018/11/11/buenos-aires-coffee-scene-my-exploration-of-favorite-local-coffee-houses/ and https://pointmetotheplane.boardingarea.com/2018/08/16/off-beaten-path-sites-unusual-buenos-aires/ You MUST try the gelato! Buenos Aires is a fun fascinating city full of art, culture, and great neighborhoods to explore. I’m a walker, so I just take off every day in a different direction and see what I find. Not very specific for a top 3 answer, I know. But as you know from having stayed at Park Hyatt properties, the concierge teams can either lead you to the very touristy places, which can often be fun, or they can send you to some of their own favorite spots that are only known to locals. Don’t be shy about asking for their advice. Argentinians are warm friendly people, so I say just head south and let the city and country reveal itself to you. Great questions, much appreciated!

Reply
Luke Vader February 22, 2019 - 6:01 pm

Hi Shelli, thanks for the info/thoughts!

Reply
Shelli February 22, 2019 - 6:03 pm

Most welcome, Luke!

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Tim Chansy February 26, 2019 - 4:10 pm

Thanks for the review Shelli. We’ve been eyeing the Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau as an option to book before the cut-off to a higher category. Was there anything local specialty (aside from the mate)? One of our favorite PH buffets was PH Seoul (which coincidentally is also the other level 4 going to 5) because it had a small, but really delicious Korean buffet.

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Shelli February 26, 2019 - 6:58 pm

Most welcome, Tim. I agree, the PH Seoul is a great property as well. The buffet at this PH did have local pastries and seasonal fruit. It’s a beautiful spread and you can order off the menu, too. The yogurt, which came in glass jars, was delicious. The hotel is a special property and in a super great location. You’ll enjoy it!

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Tomas February 4, 2020 - 9:18 pm

Hi. I am argentine. I found your blog from elsewhere in boardingarea. Maybe being a tourist is different but for me, the Faena has been the best hotel I stayed in the city. Park Hyatt is okay, I almost had my wedding there, still a Park Hyatt but the service at Faena was substantially better. Again, it may be a case where they treat you better when you are not Argentine in PH.

Reply
Shelli February 4, 2020 - 9:26 pm

Thanks so much, Tomas, for adding another hotel option in Buenos Aires. I looked at Faena and from what I can tell from the photos, it does look quite artistic and welcoming. The wood floors, at least in the photos, as well as the room designs and furnishings, look unique and colorful. I see they also have hotels in Miami. As a Hyatt fan, I really do enjoy the Park Hyatt hotels but for sure would consider a hotel such as Faena, as well. I sure hope the service I received was not because I was a tourist! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to add to the conversation.

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