My wife and I recently visited Patagonia for 10 days as part of a longer Argentine vacation. Our experience was lovely in all respects except for one glaring, abysmally disappointing exception: the Hotel Las Piedras in Bariloche. We had booked the hotel based on its central, lakeside location, its pleasant appearance from the photos on the internet, and its advertising (with a photo) of a sumptuous breakfast. When we got to the hotel, the lobby was a good deal shabbier looking than the online photos promised. But it was when we got to our room that our hearts really sank. The paint was peeling everywhere, the threadbare carpet was full of cigarette burn holes, the walls and ceiling were splattered with brown and yellow stains, and the ancient, torn curtains hung loosely from bent rods and covered only 2/3 of the harsh streetlights outside the windows. Later, when we tried to make a call from the old rotary-dial phone, we got the front desk, who informed us that no calls outside the hotel could be made from the rooms. The entire place looked like it hadn't had a single day of maintenance since the 1970s, and the small refrigerator ratled and rumbled so loudly that we immediately unplugged it. Then we discovered that both the toilet and bathroom sink leaked copiously, requiring us to place a towel on the bathroom floor. We considered asking for another room, but ours at least had a lake view, and the others we had seen on our walk down the dark hallway (two lightbulbs were burned out in the hall, and remained so during the three days we stayed there) looked even more battered and gloomy. The next morning we went down to the dining room, hoping that the breakfast feast depicted online might redeem our miserable room to some extent. Unfortunately, the actual breakfast bore no resemblance whatsoever to the photos we'd seen. Chipped pitchers of Tang, not orange juice, sat next to a tray of stale medialunes. There were a few slices of lukewarm ham next to cheddar cheese that had clearly spent the night uncovered, with dried edges curling up. A few odd muffins and a pot of weak coffee completed the sad display. None of the fresh fruit, juice, pastries, fresh breads, or other delicacies shown online ever materialized. Finally, completing the pervasive unpleasantness of the place, the young woman who staffed the front desk in the morning and afternoon was was incredibly rude for our entire stay, almost comically so, invariably replying to our greetings and questions with only a cold, fishy stare. I want to emphasize that my wife and I are highly agreeable, easy-to-please travelers, and that we were delighted with the rest of our Argentine vacation. The Hotel Las Piedras was such a miserable exception to the rest of our experience, though, that I felt complelled to write this review. Even in high summer (January/February), when Bariloche is jammed with tourists and lodging can be harder to find, travelers are advised to avoid this absolutely awful hotel at all costs.
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