Like me, many passengers from the ship wanted to linger in Buenos Aires. HAL's crew offered ship-to-hotel transfers for people who chose to stay at the Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel & Convention Center. As luck would have it, I had asked friends of mine -- former residents of the Argentine capital -- for a hotel recommendation. Their answer came right away: the Poetry Building. My friends had owned a unit in the lovely, renovated old apartment building, which now offered brief rentals, like hotels. I'm so glad I solicited their advice.
Here's the Sheraton in the downtown business district:
Here's the Poetry Building in Recoleta, an affluent residential neighborhood and a cultural center of Buenos Aires:
The day after my arrival, I signed up for a private bus tour of city highlights. I was the first passenger picked up. After about an hour of driving through increasingly clogged streets, we arrived in the downtown business center. At the Sheraton, a couple from my HAL cruise boarded the tour bus. As we pulled away from the hotel,, the husband told me he'd been mugged at 8 pm the night before, just two blocks from the Sheraton. The tour guide told me later that assaults often occur around the big hotels, prime prospecting territory for muggers.
Comparing the Sheraton and Poetry Rooms
Here's a room at the BA Sheraton. It has the same standard, comfortable, characterless look and feel here as every other Sheraton accommodation around the world:
Here's my apartment at the Poetry Building, where every unit is different. Even the smallest studio apartments here have much more to offer than the Sheraton. And the Poetry Building had suites larger than mine. Yes, all these pics were taken INSIDE my unit:
Dining at the excellent café-like restaurants in this residential area -- and watching the locals going about their regular business -- were highlights of the trip. But it would have felt like a vacation just hanging out in my apartment at the Poetry Building.
Later that day, a hand-written thank you note was slipped under my door.