Monday, March 12, 2012

The best apartment deal in BA ? I think so!

As I was trip planning for Buenos Aires, it became apparent that hotels, as in many cities, were not cheap. There are good and bad hotels, and as we were going for 15 nights, I didn't want some place that we'd regret, then end up stuck there for two weeks!
I've stayed in a lot of vacation rentals around the world and started to look at what rentals were available in BA. I'm an avid reader of Trip Advisor, and that was my first place to start looking. There's a lot of apartment rental agencies in BA. However, a lot of them are agencies that carry the same apartments at different rates and manage them in place of the owners. I've always preferred to find places that are actually managed by the owner--you cut out the middle man, and you tend to get better service.
I found a place online that had over twenty reviews from Trip Advisor visitors, and most of them rated it 5 stars. I bookmarked it and kept looking for the next 3 or 4 weeks. Ideally, I wanted a place with a gym and a pool, but they were all so much more expensive than the first apartment I found.
As is always the case, when you're on a budget, you always see places that are slightly over your budget. However, I was sticking strictly to the budget--I knew exactly what I wanted and exactly how much I wanted to pay. Eventually, over a few weeks, I narrowed it down to 3 places. The pros and cons being below:
Apt. 1. It's just off Ave Cordoba and by Godoy Cruz on the 6th floor in a building serviced by two elevators; has a living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, balcony and is more or less in the heart of Palermo Soho, which is where I want to be. Unfortunately, there is no gym and no pool. However, the price is a HUGE positive attribute.
Apt. 2. This apartment checks nearly all the boxes--it even has a roof top pool and a gym. However, it is in Palermo Hollywood. It is also $450 more than the 1st one.
Apt. 3. This, again, checks nearly all the boxes, but is also in Palermo Hollywood. It is a bit bigger than the others, but it is on the far north-east side of the district, thus further away from the Soho area.
I eventually decided on apartment 1, and for what we paid, it has to be THE best deal in Buenos Aires. As you may or may not know, apartment companies in Buenos Aires almost always want your deposit by credit card or PayPal and the balance in US$ or Pesos Cash. They also usually want a 50% breakages deposit in cash. This would have meant carrying the best part of 2000 US$ cash around with us to BA. It also meant we would be handing over $700 cash as a deposit and hoping we got it back!
I e-mailed the landlord (Carlos) asking what payment he accepted. He was more than happy to accept PayPal for the booking deposit and the balance! I paid him the full amount via PayPal straight away. He also did NOT require any type of security deposit! He was very polite and timely in his replies and said he was a very trusting guy and hoped we were the same.
We arrived at EZE, and by the time we cleared immigration and customs, had our money exchanged, and booked the Remis taxi, we didn't arrive at the apartment until 3 hours after we had landed. We rang the buzzer for the apartment, and Carlos was still waiting for us in the apartment, so he came down to meet us. He took half an hour to show us all around the apartment, tell us everything we needed to know about its workings and the area, plus had a tourist map waiting for us and talked us through where to go and where to avoid. He told us the best places to find the supermarkets, laundry, internet cafes, etc. He also made sure we opened up our laptops and were able to connect to the internet while he was there. There were fresh towels laid out for us, clean kitchenware, and the place was spotless. It has two very quiet remote controlled air conditioning units in the apartment--one in the bedroom and one in the living room. It also has very fast WiFi, lots of closet space, both blinds and shutters for the windows, European/US power adapters, once a week maid service, landline phone, tv, dvd player, and many other small amenities.
Where was this place? How much did we pay?
Well, the details of the apartment are below. We are staying for a total of 15 nights, and we paid $650 US for our whole stay! That’s $43 a night! I cannot recommend the place enough. It's in a great location, and I would book it again in a heartbeat. Yes, it would have been nice to have access to a pool, but there is plenty to do in Buenos Aires, so it hasn't been the end of the world at all.
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Carlos’s details are below. I am not related to the owner--I am simply very pleased by the find and wanted to provide a fair, unbiased opinion of a good thing.
You can view all his properties here:

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