The time we got paid to stay at the Park Hyatt
We left our cozy cabaña late one afternoon and spent 24 nights away from home. We hunkered down for the night in all sorts of accommodations:
2 nights in airplanes
1 night in a 2nd class overnight bus
2 nights in a 5-star luxury hotel
3 nights in a “left much to be desired” hostel with shared bathroom
11 nights in 2 apartments rented through AirBnB
1 night in bunk beds
2 nights in a guesthouse
2 nights in a regular mid-range hotel
I love travel hacking and I love being somewhat of a budget traveler. At some point in the past 10 years I morphed from “budget-budget traveler” to just “budget traveler”, quite possibly having entered the fuzzy area of “flash packer”. My luggage has shrunk in size and I was very pleased with the small 22 pound bag (+ purse) that carried me through Uruguay. My accommodation choices have also changed quite a bit, especially since I started to include hotel hacking in my overall travel hacking scheming. I like varied accommodation on a trip so that I can experience all sorts of people, neighborhood and comfort zones.
And so we get to the time we got paid $50 USD to stay at the Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau in Buenos Aires. I’ve (VERY thankfully) never had to travel for work, so staying in swanky hotels is not common. For me to score two free nights at one of Hyatt’s category 5 properties was a fun feat! Chase and Hyatt were at one point offering 2 free nights at any of their properties in the world. I’m a card churner so I was quick to jump on the promo, especially after we accidentally ended up at the Grand Hyatt Kauai last summer and I became intrigued with the brand. I found a loophole to apply for the card with an extra “$50 statement credit after first purchase” offer…..and so fast forward 4 months and we found our selves getting “paid” for our first two nights of “Argentina/Uruguay 2014“.
After spending the first night of our trip on a second class bus filled with the smells of fried chicken and dirty diapers, a full day romping through Mexico City and a second night fitfully snoozing on a plane, we were ready to crash into our comfy bed. After checking in and being escorted to our room we started to settle in.
The doorbell rang. We have a doorbell??
A nice gal bringing us a plate of apples and chocolate. Well, gee. Thanks!
The phone rang. Would we like reservations at one of the city’s top rated restaurants, conveniently located within the hotel? Well….
My thoughts: “We’re posers who can’t actually afford to be here…I thought that was obvious.”
My response: “No thank you, we’ll be dining elsewhere this evening.”
After the first night the Mr was already annoyed and uncomfortable with the door bell and phone calls and tuck down service and love notes but I figured “what the hell, it’s only two nights!”
After leaving the Hyatt, we moved across town to the Palacio San Telmo. A downgrade, some might think, but to us it felt much more comfortable. While small and not overly clean, it was in a good location and we were given a room on the 8th floor with a balcony and view of the San Telmo neighborhood.
After crossing into Uruguay, we continued our “downward spiral”. Colonia del Sacramento is a tourist town with expensive lodging and expensive dining. We decided to spend our money on food and went for the cheapest hostel we could find with a private room. The Hostel Colonial wasn’t great but I secretly enjoyed being amongst the backpacker crowd which almost always delivers a super global atmosphere. This was no exception with guests from Norway, Canada, Chile, Germany, Montana, etc. At a fourth of the cost of the next best thing, we bore the sharing of the bathroom, the bland breakfasts and the noise of a hostel.
For our 11 nights in Montevideo, we went the apartment route. The first week we stayed in the busy downtown neighborhood close to “Ciudad Vieja”, the very old part of the city. Having an apartment really made all the difference!
Our first apartment was spacious with a minimalist decor and great lighting. We loved it!
Our second apartment in Montevideo was tiny, but cozy and we liked having the chance to explore another side of the city.
We went the bunk bed route in Punta del Diablo and loved El Indio Hostel.
And finally, I think our favorite accommodation from those 24 nights on the road was Rojo y Negro near Punta del Este. Simple place, but warm and friendly!
In the end, we averaged $53/night while in Buenos Aires and Uruguay. We’d hoped for $45-$50 so we didn’t get off budget too much. One thing – even though it was ultra OFF SEASON, this didn’t equate into off season rates. We stopped at one hotel near Punta del Este and they were empty and wanted $70 for a room. We asked if they would consider less and nope, no dice.
Nothing like getting home to our own bed though! Back to San Cristobal de las Casas we go!